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Interview Preparation

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PREPARATION PREVENTS POOR PERFORMANCE

Put yourself ahead of the rest and research thoroughly prior to your interview.

  • Run through the Job Description and familiarise yourself with as many duties as possible.
  • Pay attention to any Person Specifications and note what the company are looking for in a person.
  • Look at the company website (provided by your consultant) and research what the company do.
  • Find out about the company – how many people work there? Are there any other branches? How long have they been in business?
  • Check out news articles, speak to other employees, find out if you want to work for them.
  • Where is the interview being held? Wherever possible do a test run so you know exactly where you are going on the day.
  • What will be the format of the interview? Will there be tests? How long is it expected to last? Who will be interviewing you?
  • On the day, arrive early and observe how the company operates whilst you are there.
  • Chat to reception – they will know everything about the company and the people who work there. Interviewers often ask how you behaved whilst waiting. It’s never too early to start giving that good impression.
  • Take the time to read through your notes, prepare.

 

FIRST IMPRESSIONS COUNT…

An interviewer will tend to make up their mind during the first couple of minutes – therefore first impressions are vital! Here are some things to remember:

  • BE ON TIME! If possible try to arrive at least 5 minutes early to show you are keen and punctual.
  • Keep eye contact, walk tall and smile!
  • Don’t sit down until you are invited to do so.
  • Try to stay alert. Don’t slouch and get too comfortable – even if it’s a long interview!
  • Always shake hands with the interviewer at the beginning and end of the interview and thank them for their time.
  • Make it easy for the interviewer – they may be just as nervous as you.
  • Interview them! After all, you could be about to spend more time with these people than with your own family. Make sure you can do that.

 

LOOK THE PART…

Remember that there is no point saying the right things if you do not look the part – they will not take you seriously. Things to remember are:

  • Dress to impress
  • Do not wear too much jewellery – check how visible piercings or tattoos will be viewed by the interviewer.
  • I’m sure you don’t need to be told this, but NO midriffs, bare shoulders, knicker waistbands – attract the right sort of attention.
  • Strong perfume or aftershave can also have a negative effect.
  • Make sure clothes are clean and freshly ironed.
  • Ideally wear a suit with a smart plain shirt or dark trousers/skirt with a plain top.
  • Check what the everyday dress code is for when you start the job.

 

QUESTION TIME…

Most interviewers will ask the same sort of questions, so it is easy to be prepared. Think of answers to some of the questions you may be asked, you will feel more relaxed on the day. However, always remember:

  • Think before answering each question – even if you know exactly what you are going to say!
  • If there is more than 1 person there – try to direct your answer to all of them.
  • Try to avoid umms and aahhs! It will come across as being unprepared.

 

TYPICAL QUESTIONS…

  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
  • Why should we employ you?
  • What are your strengths/weaknesses?
  • Why are you looking to leave your current position?
  • What did / didn’t you enjoy in your last position?
  • Why do you want this job?
  • What qualities can you bring to this role / company?

 

REMEMBER…

Some interviews have questions that are designed to test your ability to cope under pressure, try to remain calm and do not feel pressurised – if you cannot think of a suitable answer, ask if you can return to the question later. Your reaction is more likely what they will be assessing.

 

CHALLENGING QUESTIONS TO PREPARE FOR…

  • In what specific ways will our company benefit from you?
  • What specifically interests you about our company?
  • Tell me about yourself?
  • What would you like to change about yourself? (personality)
  • What mistakes have you learnt from and why?
  • Give an example of how you dealt with a problem?

 

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO ASK…

At the end of every interview, you will generally be asked if you have any questions. It will show that you are prepared if you have some written down. Even if everything has been answered, mention that they have answered any questions you had, it will show you prepared for the interview. Good examples to ask are:

  • How did this position arise?
  • How many people are in the team?
  • Can you describe a typical day in the role?
  • Would training be provided?
  • Do you have regular performance reviews?
  • Do you have any doubts about my ability to do the job?
  • How many people are you interviewing for this position?
  • How long have YOU been here?
  • What do YOU like about the company?
  • What is the next stage? (2nd interview, offer etc)

 

Good Luck!

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