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INTERVIEW TIPS AND TECHNIQUES
Guide to a Successful Interview
A friend and I wrote this for my ex-boyfriend who was having little success in landing a job. Self-employed for the biggest part of his working life; he was having difficulty in coming to terms with being answerable to a 'boss'.
- The first step to a good interview is a smart appearance. Remember that first impressions count so only do your really good one's like Groucho Marx, Tommy Cooper or Frank Spencer
- Remember to take off your carpet slippers and put on your nice shiny shoes before you go.
- Wipe off any dog dirt you may have trodden in on your way there before you go in; you don't want them to think you are sh***ing yourself do you?
- Language! Do NOT at any time resort to foul or abusive language even if invited to by the employer. This may just be a test to try and get you to swear so don't rise to any provocation. Remember don't let the Ba***rds grind you down!
- If offered a cup of tea or coffee, accept by all means but do not eat all the biscuits, slurp or dunk your biscuit in the tea. This may create a lasting but not necessarily, good impression.
- Be prepared. You never know what skills you will need to demonstrate. Take along a full set of power tools for instance; as you may be asked to construct a shed, boat or even a hang-glider. You won't be paid for this however so don't say "How much are you paying, I'm not working for nothing!", as it is just a little test to show off your skills
- Don't, under any circumstances tell the employer they are stupid if they seem reluctant to employ you for any reason.
- At the end of the interview; smile, shake hands and don't slam the door on your way out.
- Don't spit in the car park - you may be on CCTV
Luckily it amused him.
NOW THIS IS THE SERIOUS PART
17 Interview Do's and Don'ts
- Make sure that you have fully researched the company you're applying for work with
- Be polite to everyone you meet in the building; that scruffy bloke could be the MD
- Shake hands firmly
- Stay calm and confident and don't rush your answers
- Make and maintain reasonable eye contact but don't stare because it can be intimidating
- Listen carefully and lean forward to show you're interested
- Wear a friendly smile
- Be professional and business-like but down to earth
- Try not to use negative phrases such as: 'I don't know' or I'm not sure'
- Use strong positive language
- Never give the impression that you are desperate for them to give you the job
- Ask the relevant questions
- Don't fidget. It's very disconcerting and distracting trying to talk to someone who is playing with their necklace or hair or jangling small change in their pocket
- Sell yourself; speak in terms of what benefit you can bring to the company, rather than the other way around
- Go easy on the aftershave, perfume and the garlic.
- Switch off your mobile phone
- Don't get into discussions about your personal life, and discuss nothing about your present employer. You need to show that your integrity is beyond question.
The first 60 seconds of any meeting are the most important. In this short time your appearance, body language and general demeanour will be noticed. After only five minutes an employer will have made an initial asssessment of you based on the percentages below:
- Body Language and appearance (70%)
- Tone of voice (20%)
- What you say (10%)
Questions you May be Asked and How to Answer Them
Your aim is to convince the interviewer that you are the best candidate for the job because of your ability to do it and because your presence will bring benefits to the company:
- What do you know about this company? Give a run down of the nature of the business, sales figures, noteworthy facts etc (research is VITAL)
- Why do you want to work for this company? Talk about why you like the company, comittment to sustainable development, ethics, mission statement (again research is VITAL)
- What interests you about our product/service? Follow on from answers to the above question
- Why do you want this job? Talk about the positive aspects of the job and what attracted you to it; not that it's the only reply you've had.
- What qualities do you think will be needed for this job? Talk about qualities that were mentioned in the job description but also other qualities such as: teamwork, analytical skills; ability to work on own initiative, communications, interpersonal skills etc
- How would you describe yourself? Don't be either self effacing or smug and over-confident. Just pick out your best attributes and traits to talk about.
- What contribution do you think you can bring to this role? Tell them about your achievements in previous jobs, voluntary work or at University or college.
- Do you work well under pressure? Yes would be a good answer here
- How do you handle criticism? Say that you appreciate constructive criticism because it gives you the opportunity to continuously improve your performance
- Tell me about your greatest success and how you acheived it? Try to use an example related to the position you are applying for's needs
- What do you see as being your biggest failure? Choose something that you were able to correct or something relatively minor. Do not say you haven't had any; everyone has had at least one failure
- Can you think of ways you could improve ourself? Select some positive aspect that could be a little better or some strength or weakness which you are already in the process of improving
- Are you self motivated? Provide examples of pro-activity
- Do you work well alongside others? Give examples of a good working relationship from your present or past employment
- Can you act on your own initiative? Again yes would be a good answer here; provide examples of when you did just that.
It's a good idea to ask for a glass of water, or take one if there is a jug and glass provided. It can be helpful to take a sip if you need a second or two to think before answering a question. Delving in your bag for a bottle of mineral water doesn't look good.
If you are being interviewed by a panel, shift your position slightly as each person speaks to you so that you can address them directly; not so much that you turn your back on the other members though.
© Susan Bailey 2008 All Rights Reserved