This section has some excellent information regarding interview preparation and how to maximise your impact when meeting prospective employers.
BEFORE THE INTERVIEW
Make sure you are prepared...
Find out about the organisation. Use resources such as the Internet or your local library. That little bit more knowledge you are armed with may make the difference between getting the job and not getting it.
Review your ability and experience for the job ensuring you understand all your skills and experiences and are able to relate this information for the role you are applying for.
Confirm the address and time! Know the main interviewer’s name!
Prepare answers to broad questions about yourself.
[See the typical questions and answers below]
Practice an interview with a friend or relative. Arrive before the scheduled time of your interview. Relax and concentrate. Focus on the moment and forget the other issues you may have going on in your life. Sitting down prior and doing things such as deep breathing exercises really do surprisingly work.
If you get butterflies, don't panic! They are signed adrenaline is rushing through your body. This means you will be more alert and be able to give better answers to your potential employer. Butterflies are a good sign that you are mentally ready.
Set three targets for the meeting. It is up to you to ensure the interviewer has as much as they possibly need to know about your skills, abilities, experience and achievements to make a decision on your employment.
If you sense there are misunderstandings, ensure they are cleared up before going. Ensure you have got in touch with each of your verbal referees to ensure you have their authorisation to use them. Remember to thank them for their time they will be spending hopefully saying nice things about you.
Arrive approximately five to ten minutes early. Do not be there half an hour before the interview!
FIRST IMPRESSION COUNTS
Open the door to the reception, relax and smile. Introduce yourself to the Receptionist and be very polite. People have missed out on jobs because they were rude or abrupt to the Receptionist!
When you meet the person who will interview you, have a pleasant but firm handshake. Do not let your hand be like a wet fish! Bring two copies of your CV to the meeting.
One for you to refer to and discuss from:
One to give the interviewer so they do not have to go and photocopy the information.
As for your personal appearance, always be well-groomed but dress appropriately for the situation.
DURING THE INTERVIEW
Answer each question succinctly with no waffle. Always have good manners. Always use proper English and avoid slang. Be enthusiastic!!!
Ask questions about the position and the organization. If they have answered your questions without you asking them, say in response to "do you have any questions" - "Yes I did, but you answered them all for me. Thank-you".
Be your authentic self, professional yet real. You do no-one any favours by pretending to be someone you are not. Even if you get the job, everyone will see that you do not match up to their expectations and it will be even worse than not having a position.
Try to understand the question behind the question. In the end, every question comes down to, "Why should I recruit you?" Be sure that you attempt to answer that underlying question completely.
Psychology Professors state that only about 25% of our communication comes from our oral communication - ie words. Be aware that your voice inflexion, the way you sit, and the way you "hold yourself" all count towards you getting that dream role.
AFTER THE INTERVIEW
Congratulations on a great interview...
Always ensure you follow up the meeting with an effective "thank you" letter. This is another opportunity to sell yourself to the employer and will only improve your chances. For the 40c and ten minutes, it takes to do this, it has to be the greatest time versus reward activity in the job search realm.
Debrief yourself. The number of times people have wished that they had asked more questions or said further answers that appeared to them after they had left the interview, only helps them be more prepared for any other interviews.
TYPICAL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
How do you respond to taxing questions?...
1. Tell me about yourself.
Relate a brief account of your achievements, work history and education. Make sure that statement relates to the position you are applying for and don't be afraid to sell yourself.
2. Why do you want to work here?
This is a vital question, as they are attempting to find out your motivation for their business specifically. Share your knowledge of their business and comment on how your skills, experience and education would fit so well with their company.
3. Why did you leave your last job?
This is a standard question. Here the interviewer wants to understand why you have left (or are looking to leave) and see if there were any issues or problems that you may have had and could bring to their company. Always be honest! If there were problems, explain them briefly.
4. What are your strengths?
As you have done your research on the job as well as the company, you will be able to visualise what they are looking for. Phrase your answer in this context as well as giving an example of each strength.
5. What are your weaknesses?
Choose a weak area prior to the interview. Only state one weakness and say what you did in order to overcome it. Overcoming a weakness is actually developing a strength!
6. Where do you want to be in five years?
Respond in behavioural terms. For example, do not say "In the role of Human Resources Manager" to the Human Resources Manager! Instead, respond in a way that shows you are after a challenge, but does not say "get out of my way - here I come!" A good example could be "In a position that provides a strong challenge in the Human Resources (or whatever setting you are applying for) environment."
7. What remuneration/salary package salary are you after?
Always be honest and not greedy. It's a waste of time being in an interview for one hour and then finds you and the interviewer have widely differing salary expectations. Try to do some research prior to the role and look at what the industry is offering for similar positions. If you are uncertain, phone a recruitment consultancy and they will give you some indication of the salary for the job you seek.