So, at last you've got through to the interview stage and you need some advice. Your CV has been scrutinised, your portfolio pawned over and the last thing you need is the perfect interview technique. Below are some vital tips that we have collected from what recruitment companies, who in turn have complied from years of experience from placing candidates in front of employers.
It may sound obvious but, start with a positive attitude. You have been selected for interview from many other applicants so allow yourself a smile! Now you have an opportunity to make a statement about yourself in person.
During the interview process you are given a short amount of time to convince an employer of your worth and value to their organisation. To do this well requires preparation - never underestimate the difference this can make. Start with confirming the exact place and time of the interview. Ensure you know the interviewers name and are confident about pronunciation. Familiarize yourself with the route to the interview site and always leave extra time for unexpected delays. There is never an excuse for being late!
Do some homework
Research into the organisation in question is essential. It will demonstrate your initiative and motivation to the interviewer. Look at their company brochure, visit their website, speak to other employees and read press reports specific to their industry. The more you know about the position, the company and it's people the easier it is to target your interview approach to their needs. It also gives you an opportunity, pre-interview, to ascertain whether you actually like what you find out!
Consider the company size, its history, their products and services, issues affecting the industry and main company competitors.
Know your cv
Review your CV - it is an outline of your achievements that will have given the interviewer an overview but they will want to know more, can you discuss any aspect of it in depth? Remember to take some spare copies of your CV with you to the Interview. It is most likely you will be asked about any gaps in employment. And of course, you will be asked to explain your reason for leaving your current position. See Common Interview Questions.
Carry out a 'self appraisal'
Ask yourself "Would I hire me?". What are your strengths and weaknesses? Do you need to broaden your skill base? Write your answers down and you will have a better idea of what (and what not) to focus on during the interview. And remember, as experts estimate that seventy percent of a first impression is based on appearance and body language, make sure that yours is saying exactly what you want it to say! See First Impressions Count.
During the Interview
- Be confident - a firm handshake and a broad smile speak volumes.
- Dress appropriately.
- Sit up straight and show you are interested.
- Maintain eye contact.
- Do not smoke or chew gum.
- Take spare copies of your CV with you.
- Be positive. In particular, avoid negative comments about past employers.
- Order your thoughts but be your authentic self, let your personality come through, the interviewer wants to know that they could work with you on a daily basis.
- Be a good listener, do not interrupt the interviewer when they are speaking.
- The interview is a two way street, prepare a list of questions you want to ask. See Questions to ask.
- During the interview encourage the interviewer to share more information about the company, it will convey your interest and enthusiasm.
- Avoid being the first to bring up the subject of salary, you may be asking for too much or too little which could rule you out of a job offer. If you are directly asked about your salary expectations reinforce that at this point you are more interested in the opportunities afforded by the position.
- Do not go into details that are irrelevant to the interview, avoid giving too much personal information, remain honest but professional.
- Everything you say should ultimately answer the question "Why should we hire you"? Always attempt to give evidence for your answers and avoid answering with "Yes" or "No".
- If you feel that the interview is not going well, do not let your discouragement show.
- Always thank the interviewer for their time, smile and shake their hand when leaving.
- Be content that with your preparation and correct interview technique, you have done the best you can. Good luck.