Remember – “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”, so in brief:
Be prepared and know your CV
Do some company research
Arrive on time
Have some questions prepared
Before the Interview
Ensure that you have a full job description for the role you are applying for and are aware of the format the interview will take.
Do some company research – the company website is a great place to start. You may well be asked what you know about the company, so impress the interviewer with your knowledge i.e. what the company does, how long they have been established, the size, structure, turnover, competitors, their market and aims for the future.
Ensure you know where the company is and ideally do a “dummy run” of the route. Always allow additional time for unavoidable delays. Arriving late or flustered does not create a good impression.
Check the time of the interview and who will be interviewing you.
On the Day
- Take a contact number with you for the organisation.
- Take a copy of your CV with you.
- Dress appropriately and professionally, even if you are aware their dress code is casual.
- Wear lots of jewellery.
- Use too much perfume or aftershave as it can be overbearing.
- Chew gum.
Setting the Tone
- Project confidence and self-assurance, remember to smile and have a firm handshake.
- Ensure you come across as friendly, approachable and enthusiastic
- Be polite to all staff you meet – you never know, they could well influence the recruitment process.
- Go to the interview with one of your objectives being you are also interviewing the company to find out if you want to work there.
- Do not worry about pausing before you answer a question as this shows you are considering it seriously.
- Do not talk negatively about a former employee, colleagues or supervisor.
- Answer all questions fully with examples, keep to the point and do not waffle.
- When relevant mention your qualifications, experiences, skills and knowledge. Always back these up with examples.
- Maintain eye contact throughout and involve all the interviewers.
- Ensure all evidence and facts you give tie up and match those given on your CV and application form.
Be Prepared for Questions such as:
- What are your strengths?
- How would your Manager or colleagues describe you?
- What do you know about our Company?
- Why are you leaving your present Company?
- Tell me a bit about yourself?
- Why should we appoint you? (The only way to respond to this, since you can’t make their mind up for them is to say clearly you are capable of doing the job well. Highlight your strengths and skills)
- Remember to keep eye contact with the interviewer to be sure you have their interest.
Competency Based Questions
You may be asked to provide examples from previous work experience. With these questions it’s important to think of different examples (perhaps from different roles) and to be as specific as possible. Identify which skills the employer requires before considering how you can demonstrate you have these skills. For preparing examples you could use the STAR acronym – please see below:
- Situation – brief overview.
- Task – brief details of what the task was.
- Activities – This is the main part where you provide details of the activities that you actually did.
- Result – as a result of your activities what was the result.
Examples of these questions can include:
- Can you give an example of when you have dealt with change in the working environment? Did you agree with the changes made? How did you feel about the changes?
- Give an example of when you have come up with an idea and it has been implemented. What was the outcome?
- Tell me about a time when you took action to stop a small problem growing out of control. What did you do?
- How have you worked effectively as part of a team? What role did you play within the team?
- What contribution do you make to a team?
- Have you ever worked within a team, where you have had to work with an idea you maybe did not agree with? How did you react?
- How would you handle a difficult customer?
- What is your preferred method of communication? Give an example of when you used it successfully.
- How would you resolve a situation if the customer could not understand what you are saying?
- Describe a situation where you received good customer service. How did you react to this?
- Give an example of when you have had to be patient.
- What do you know about our Organisation/Department? What do you think you can bring to this Organisation, what would be your major contribution?
You will usually have the opportunity to ask questions at the end of the interview, ensure you write them down and take them with you to the interview – think about what is important to you, but some examples of questions might be:
- Why is this position open?
- What would you like done differently by the next person who fills this position?
- What are some of the more difficult problems one would have to face in this position? How do you think these could be handled?
- What sort of career progression is there within the company, when I am successful in this position?
- What are the objectives of the job?
- What are the most important criteria?
- What is the next step in the selection process?
- Make sure that you have confirmed your interest in the job.
- Conclude the interview with a handshake, remembering to thank the interviewer for their time.
- After the interview contact your Consultant and tell them how the interview went.