Interviews - Advice and Preparation
Prepare and Research - "Fail to prepare and prepare to Fail" Don't let that be you. -Look at the company website, find out exactly what the company does, understand the activity of the job, what the job involves, what your responsibilities will be, research the people interviewing you, your journey route and time, where to park, the job description and the advert. If you are working with a recruiter, they will be able to help you with answers to questions about the interview itself. They will usually be able to tell you what the interview will be like and what you should do to prepare but don’t just rely on them, it is your future after all.
What to Wear – Always dress to impress. Good old fashioned smart, well pressed, clean and conservative clothing with clean sensible comfortable polished shoes.
Dark plain trousers s or skirt suit with plain light well ironed shirt is always recommended. Your clothing should be business like, with no loud or bright colours. You should also make sure that your clothes are comfortable, not too tight, too low or likely to make you feel uncomfortable. If you are going to worry that your top might be too low or your shirt too tight – DON’T wear it! Unless of course you are not going for a job in business…. But another sort of job altogether…..
Suitable Clothes- Don’t wear things that are too tight, transparent, or uncomfortable. You do not want to be distracted by worrying about sore feet from the wrong shoes, or whether your shirt might pop open or the fact that your trousers are too tight or low slung. Transparent clothing is inappropriate and visible underwear of any kind is a big NO. Make sure the impression you create is the most professional it can be. Do you want to be remembered as the candidate with their boxers showing over their trousers, or the girl whose blouse button popped off in the interview? Make sure that the impression you create is exactly the one you intend to create.
Don’t be carrying too much with you. Just a small handbag or briefcase not overfilled – it looks so messy having things bursting out of your bag. AND YOUR PHONE MUST BE SWITCHED OFF!!!!!
Make eye contact at all times, keep your hands still and remember to breath slowly and deeply so that you can think clearly about your answers. If you don’t understand a question, politely ask them to explain the question or repeat it for you.
Interview Questions – Theirs. Research typical questions asked at interviews so that you have some answers ready. Rehearse your answers out loud so that when you come to answer them at the interview, you sound relaxed and articulate but not forced and contrived. These are some standard questions that come up very often.
- What appeals to you about this job?
- Why did you leave your last job? (They will ask about reasons for leaving all your jobs)
- Why do you think you are a good candidate for this job?
- Why do you think we should shortlist you for this job?
- What do you know about this job?
- If you have worked in and are going for a target based role, you will need to have answers to questions about your success in these areas, your KPIs, what you did when you thought you weren’t going to meet your targets, how successful you were and to be able to talk through the numbers!
- What do you know about our business?
- What would you say is your weakness?/What is your strength?
- How would your friends describe you?
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
- How long will it take you to get to work in the rush hour?
Answer all questions positively, don’t say negative things about previous employers, and be truthful.
Interview Questions -Yours – Don’t ask about holidays, pay, or benefits. (your recruiter will have this information so if you are being introduced via an agency make the most of their knowledge of their client). Prepare a couple of interview questions that will show you in a good light as a thoughtful intelligent individual. Most importantly – don’t ask them about the company or anything that you should have found out before you got to the interview. You should have looked at the website, read the job description and prepared as much as you can – failure to do this will show you to be half hearted and uninterested, not to mention rather lazy and therefore NOT an attractive candidate for them to short list.
Don’t feel obliged to ask questions. It is perfectly fine to say that you did have a few questions but they seem to have answered everything for you.
You could ask
- How will success be measured in this role? What expectations do you have of the person in this role?
- Are there other people working in this or similar roles in the business?
- What sort of career progression would there be in this role? (Only ask this if you are genuinely interested in career progession in this business).
- How soon are you making your decision because I am very interested in this position?
- How did this vacancy come about?
- Do you feel that you have all the information you need from me? Can I clarify anything or help with more detail on anything?
Don’t ask more than a couple of questions and there is nothing wrong with not asking any questions at all if they have already given you answers to the questions you prepared.
Make sure that when the interview comes to an end, you stand up and clearly thank them for seeing you, shake the hand of each person interviewing you and leave with deliberate eye contact and a smile.
And finally - if you do your research, smile, make eye contact, are dressed smartly and appropiately, speak slowly and clearly and remember to breath so that you have time to think before you answer questions, I know you will do very well. You will certainly make a great impression.
Best of Luck!