Right, so you’ve impressed your potential employer with your CV, passed a telephone interview or two and now its time for the knee trembling interview.
There’s an abundance of advice out there on interview techniques, from ‘The Top 10 Interview Tips to Land your Dream Job’ to ‘Smash that Interview Following this Simple Rule’. There are more sources than I’d care to guess at, and for the most part everyone is saying exactly the same thing.
So why would I ask you to invest your time in reading this one?
Well, I’ve sought the advice of people whose profession is to interview people. The whole of their working lives depend upon finding and placing the best candidate into the best fitting role for them, and the client they’re recruiting for! They have to invest a lot of time in not only interviewing new people, but then preparing them to be interviewed again by paying clients. To put it bluntly, if they make a mistake, they don’t get paid and they lose future business – trust me, they know their stuff!
So, let’s start with the obvious –
Dress to Impress!
It goes without saying that for the majority of interview scenarios trainers and jogging bottoms won’t go down too smoothly. So perhaps ask yourself while you prepare your interview outfit, ‘Would I employ me?’, ‘Am I giving the right impression for the organisation I’m applying for?’ and if you’re in any doubt, change. Also, it never hurts to get a second opinion; ask your mom, dad, sister, brother, boyfriend, best friend, I think you get the idea; ask anyone you trust. But ultimately, don’t wear anything you don’t feel comfortable in. If you’re not comfortable, you’ll be distracted and you won’t be able to fully concentrate on your interviewer and the questions you’re asked.
Research, Research, Research!
Research the company, their clients, their workforce, the job specification, look into their twitter, blog, business performance, any news stories the company are linked to; anything that shows you’ve not only done the basic website check, but evidence that you’ve looked into the company’s values and ethos. You can never have too much information about the company! And though it may sound obvious to research the job specification again, it’s best to know exactly what is expected of you in the role you’ve applied for, as stated by the company; you may find that the job title reads Sales Ledger, however you are expected to do a little Credit Control, or that the role stated is Accounts Assistant, but you will spend a lot of your time doing sales and purchase ledger; the same role can be different for every employer. So just make sure you know the position you’re interviewing for, preferably in and out!
Prepare some questions to ask. There is usually a time in an interview when the interviewer will ask the interviewee if they have any questions. Always ask something. If you’ve done your research well you can ask them about any recent campaigns they’ve been involved in or where they see the company in 6-12 months after any recent mergers etc…Asking the right questions will show the employer how interested you are in working for them. And if you get answers you don’t like, you can asses your interest in working for them. There is no point wasting either of your time in the long run.
Right, time for the face-to-face meeting! Now is your chance to put all that research into practice. It’s your time to shine. So don’t be late. One of the biggest bug bears of interviewers is a late candidate; they understand that situations may arise, but a phone call to keep them informed is just polite. If you don’t know the area and think this could lead to lateness, do a trial journey. Also, don’t forget to take into account traffic at different times of the day; a journey may only take 20 minutes at 7pm, but it could take an hour at 8:30am!
Honesty is always the best policy. Most interviewers will be wise to anyone attempting to ‘pull the wool over their eyes’, they will have honed and crafted their own interview technique and if they feel you’re ‘false’ or your answers are too tailored, it doesn’t matter how good you sound, you probably wont get the job. This could be because you’re body language isn’t matching what you’re saying, or it could just be that you’re a little too nervous and are using too many cliché answers. It’s easy to say relax, but if you’ve done your research well, you can truly see yourself within the role and definitely want to work for the company you’re interviewing with, then this coupled with an honest approach will give you a very good footing; now sell yourself!