Being the best person for the job is, unfortunately, not enough – being the best interviewee is what will get you the job you want. Our top bit of advice is to ‘prepare thoroughly‘.
- Research the company, its history, its products or services, its competitors and the markets in which it operates. Know the company inside out and ask yourself the following: who are they? What do they do? What is the size, turnover and location of the company?
- Know the role inside out: What is the position/job title of the role you are applying for? What are the duties you are required to fufil? What are the skills you need? What is the department size?
- Prepare any questions that you want to ask the interviewer. The quality of your questions will say good things about you as a candidate. Whilst you should not appear over-rehearsed, thinking carefully about these questions will ensure you are better prepared.
Appearance & body language:
- Remember the old adage: you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Typically, recruitment decisions are made in the first five minutes, during which time you have had little or no opportunity to speak in your own favour.
- Make sure you look the part; smart, professional and competent.
- Be polite and friendly from the moment you walk into the employer’s building.
- At the interview, be positive and enthusiastic throughout – don’t mention any reservations until you have received the offer.
- Monitor the interviewer’s body language – if they appear uninterested or restless, you may be waffling or have become sidetracked.
- Your future employer is not only looking for specific skills and experience, but also for someone who will fit in with the team. It is therefore important to sell yourself and build rapport with the interviewer.
Think before you speak:
- Showing an interest and mainitaining regular eye contact is important.
- Listen to the questions and respond slowly and clearly.
- Always review your CV before the interview and make sure that you are completely familiar with its content.
- Your answers should demonstrate the benefit and relevance of your skills and experience to prospective employers whilst being relevant to the question – don’t answer a question you wish you had been asked, answer the one you have been asked!
- Be honest and remember that enthusiasm can sometimes compensate for a lack of specific experience.
- Whilst the interview is your chance to impress your potential employer, don’t forget that it is a two-way discussion and it’s also your opportunity to find out more about the role and the company. Is this organisation and this job what you are really looking for?
- Salary negotiation should only be entered into after you have received the offer.
- Never criticise your previous or current employer.
Always ask a couple of questions if given the opportunity. Make your questions relevant and use them as a chance to show that you have researched the company.
- Ask about training and what future plans there are for the position
- Who would you be working with/your direct reports?
- Any plans for the company/department as whole?
Possible interview questions:
This is by no means an exhaustive list but will get you thinking along the right lines.
- What kind of people do you like working with? Why?
- What type of person do you find it most difficult to work with? Why?
- Do you prefer to work alone or in a group?
- Have there been any instances where you have had to manage or supervise others? Give examples.
- In your previous job, what kind of pressures did you encounter? How do you deal with pressure?
- What do you feel you have done particularly well in your current / last job? In what areas have you achieved the greatest success? Why do you think this is?
- In your last job, what did you find most difficult?
- If you are employed, what are your reasons for wanting to leave your present job?
- What are you looking for in a company?
- What do you see as your best qualities?
- What about the other side of the coin? Apart from knowledge or experience, what traits do you feel could be improved upon?
- Do you consider yourself a self-starter? If so, explain why.
- What would you consider to be your greatest achievement to date? Why?
- Are you a good communicator? Give examples.
- How do you schedule your time? Are you good at setting priorities?
- Describe the biggest problem you have faced in the last six months. How did you handle it?
- What change has caused you the most difficulty and why?
- What are your standards of success in your job?
- Give some instances in which you have anticipated problems or influenced new direction.
- What other opportunities are you considering? How will you decide which is the right role for you?