Interview Hints & Tips

So, you’ve got an interview lined up! It could be that you are trying to land your first job, or you’re returning to the workplace after a break. Or maybe you are a seasoned executive taking another step up the career ladder.

Whatever your situation, making a success of the job interview is vital and doing some careful preparation beforehand will not only help you make a good first impression, but will boost your confidence and help you feel ready.

Before you even get there it’s worth taking time to:

  • Prepared and revise the details on your CV
  • Find out more about the company
  • Dress smartly
  • Make sure you arrive on time
  • Prepare some questions – you will almost certainly be asked if you have any

Preparation

Make sure you have seen a full job description for the role you applied for and find out as much as you can about the format the interview will take.

Check the time of the interview and the find out who will be interviewing you.

At least plan your journey and, if possible, do a dummy run so you’re confident about how long it will take to get there.

Visit the company website and make sure you know what the company does, its history and background, market, size, goals etc

Before you leave home

Have a contact number to hand, just in case you are delayed.

Dress appropriately – looking smart portrays professionalism – and look well-groomed and tidy.

At the interview

Don’t forget that it’s not just about them asking you questions, the interview is your opportunity to ensure that the job and company are right for you.

Here are some things to remember:

  • Be friendly, approachable and enthusiastic
  • Be polite to all staff you meet
  • Take a drink if offered, it shows you are relaxed and is a good way to buy time to answer a question during the interview
  • Listen carefully and allow the interviewer to finish before responding
  • Have a spare copy of your CV to hand in case the interviewer doesn’t have one or there are two people on the panel.
  • Bring a note pad and use it during the interview, it shows you’re taking a keen interest.
  • Don’t hurry your answers. Pausing before you answer shows you are considering it seriously
  • If you are able to, give practical evidence of any statements you make
  • Do not criticise former employers or work colleagues
  • Maintain eye contact, relax and show interest in what the interviewer says

Be prepared for questions such as:

  • Why do you want to work here?
  • Why do you want to leave your current company?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What would you like to be doing five years from now?
  • What are your biggest accomplishments?
  • How would your manager or colleagues describe you?

One to watch out for

You may well be asked why you are leaving, or have left, your most recent job. You should have an acceptable reason for leaving every job you have held but if you haven’t, consider one from this employment industry CLAMPS formula:

  • Challenge: you weren't able to grow professionally.
  • Location: the journey to work was unreasonably long.
  • Advancement: there was nowhere for you to go.
  • Money: you were underpaid for your skills and contribution.
  • Pride or prestige: you wanted to be with a better company.
  • Security: the company was not stable.

Dealing with the questions

Answer all questions clearly in as much detail as is relevant, making sure that you:

  • Come across as positive but don’t overdo it. Make sure they know you accept that you have plenty to learn and contribute.
  • Highlight what skills you have learnt that are relevant to this job.
  • Highlight the importance of developing your skills and becoming a team player.
  • When asked about your weaknesses, try to use something from the past where you came up against an issue but learned from it and overcame it.
  • Mention all exams if asked, but either way, be sure to mention those that are particularly relevant to this job
  • Mention any interesting spare time activities or any other position of responsibility you might hold
  • When explaining why you want the job, make it clear that you want to contribute to their business, to use your talent and experience for the company’s benefit, not your own.

Then it’s your turn. Have questions prepared in advance and don’t be afraid to have your list to hand. It shows preparation and is helpful should your mind go blank. Ask something along the lines of:

  • Why the job is open, who had it last and what happened to them?
  • When will you get the opportunity to meet the person to whom you would report?
  • What will be your regular duties and are there any other occasional duties?
  • What hours will you be expected to work and what equipment will you be using?
  • What type of training is required and how long is it?
  • What are the realistic chances of growth in the job?
  • What are the skills and attributes most needed to get ahead in the company?

Before you leave

Be clear that you are interested in the job and ask when you are likely to hear if you have been successful or not.

Thank the interviewer for their time and finish with a firm handshake.

After the interview contact your ACS Recruitment consultant and let them know how it went.

Success

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