Congratulations you've been invited to an interview! But what can you expect or rather what is your future employer expecting of you? See our tips below to help you prepare.
PREPARING FOR THE INTERVIEW
Find out about the details of the interview
What is the date, time and location?
Your consultant will write down this information for you. Allow plenty of time for the journey and aim to arrive at least ten minutes early. If you are held up, phone ahead and let them know. Do a trial run at getting there if necessary, and don't forget to check timetables or parking availability.
Who will be interviewing you?
Ask your consultant. Be prepared for the possibility of a panel interview. In a panel interview, answer questions looking from one interviewer to another.
How should you dress?
First impressions are important! Dress suitably for the company, and don't overdo your makeup, jewellery or perfume/ aftershave. Hair should be clean and tidy. Take just one neat bag or briefcase with you. Be smart and clean, but make sure you are wearing something you are comfortable in and turn your mobile phone off. Your consultant can advise you on what to wear if you are unsure. It is best to wear a slightly different outfit for a second interview at the same company, but ensure it is still business attire.
- What should you take?
A copy of your current CV and all relevant certificates and references. A notepad and pen may also be handy, along with a few questions to ask the interviewer.
Find out about the company and review the job specification before the interview.
- What are its products or services?
- What size is it?
- Who are its competitors?
Your consultant will be able to help you with information about the company and job specification but you will need to do some personal research by logging onto the company website and reading the job description fully.
Find out about the structure of the interview
Most interviews follow a similar format, find out if they would like you to present anything.
Prepare questions based on your CV to explain your career path and ambitions
- Pick out your skills or achievements that are directly relevant, and rehearse these
- Be prepared to explain any unusual parts of your CV, such as any time taken out from employment or education
General questions that may be asked in the interview
- What do you know about the company?
- What do you know about the position?
- What interests you about the position and company?
- What skills or experience do you have that make you right for this job?
- Why did you leave your last company?
- When have you had an opportunity to show initiative?
- Who and what were you responsible for in your last job?
- Can you give an example of when you coped well under pressure?
- Do you prefer to work as an individual or as part of a team?
- What are your three biggest achievements so far in your career?
- What do you see as your good and bad characteristics?
- What are your long term goals? How are you going to succeed in achieving them?
- Tell me more about your hobbies and interests?
- Are you considering any other jobs?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
Asking relevant questions shows you are interested, organised and able to plan ahead
Salary and benefits are important, but an employer will be more impressed if you ask questions about the company, the department and the job first
Good questions to ask are about training opportunities, who you will report to, who you will be working with, what department, promotion prospects, what the working hours are and if there are peak periods when you will be expected to work longer hours
- Will there be a 2nd or 3rd interview?
DURING THE INTERVIEW
How to behave
- Shake the interviewer's hand firmly if he/she offers
- Take the lead from the interviewer - note whether their attitude is formal or relaxed
- Make eye contact (but don't stare!)
- Smile where appropriate
- Don't sit down until you are asked
- Look alert and sit upright
- Rest your hands on the table or on your lap to look calm and prevent fiddling
- Don't eat or smoke even if invited, but do accept a coffee, tea or water if you want to
- Listen carefully, concentrate and don't interrupt
- Show interest by nodding and smiling
- Talk slowly and clearly
- Keep your answers clear and to the point - avoid talking for too long but do give thorough answers
- Take time if necessary before answering a question or ask for clarification if you are unsure of the meaning
- Don't be afraid to admit if you can't answer the question
- Don't criticise your current employer, or reveal confidential information
- Be honest to a point
- Find opportunities to sell yourself, relating your skills to the job. An employer is looking for determination, enthusiasm and a willingness to learn
- Concentrate on positive words, such as "enjoy" and "enthusiastic"
- When the interview ends, tell the interviewer if you are interested in the job and ask how long it will take them to make a decision and thank them for seeing you.
AFTER THE INTERVIEW
Speak to your consultant immediately, whilst the interview is still fresh in your mind, and say whether you are interested in the vacancy or not. Your consultant will phone the interviewer and pass any response on to you. If a job offer is made, your consultant will do all the negotiations for you, and as they know you and the market - you can rest assured that you will get the best possible package.
If the interview does not create a job offer, do not be too disappointed. It is excellent experience and we can help you to build on your interview technique for future opportunities.