Archive for the ‘Interview Guidance’ Category

Interview Guidance

July 28, 2011 @ 2:48 pm posted by admin

So you’ve applied to a job you like and got past the first hurdle, they like your CV and now they want to interview you! However, in a recent poll on Career Development, job seekers told us that the most stressful part of changing jobs was preparing for and attending interviews. This ranked higher than telling the people at your old job you were leaving, preparing your CV and getting used to a new working environment.

Keep reading for some handy tips and hints on being successful at interview and getting the job you dream of!

 Before the interview:

First things first, preparation is the key to success. Even before you get there you need to consider the following.

- Have you mapped out a route?

- Do you know where to park?

- Have you got change for the parking meter?

- Have you read the job description & person specification?

- Researched the company? What do they do, how long have they been in existence, why are they recruiting, who are you meeting, what do they do etc.

- Do you know what to wear? If in doubt appearance should be smart and professional

- You should always re-read through your CV prior to interview

- Ask your recruitment partner for information on the expected format. Will it be informal, a panel interview or competency based.

- Prepare what questions you want to ask them


Making a good first impression:

Firstly, be on time! Once you’ve arrived and are sat in reception your opportunity to make a first impression has already started so don’t be texting someone or slouching on a chair. Sit up, pay attention to what’s around you and look like you are ready for a professional meeting. Many companies have interesting articles about them on the wall, reading these will give you something to talk about when you first meet your interviewer. When you see your interviewer take a deep breath, stand-up and give a firm confident handshake whilst introducing yourself. You will probably have a little walk to an interview room – now is a good opportunity to build rapport and ease some of your nerves. Think about asking some questions to show you are interested in them.
- How is your day going?

- I noticed in reception you had won a recent award, how did that come about?

- It was busy in reception; do many people call in as passing trade?

- Try to avoid questions about the weather!


During the interview:

This is when you get the chance to demonstrate you are the best person for the job. You need to be confident yet polite and listen to what is being asked of you. Ignore the temptation to rush into the next question particularly when nervous and you want to get through everything. You should construct your answers with honesty, don’t over promise on things. It is very important you avoid using jargon – dealing with various national working rules and regulations, JIB, SJIB, PLUTOS and HVAC might mean something to you, but it probably wont to the interviewer!

In a competitive market place it is not enough to just give some good answers. You need to give evidence and examples of the work you have done.

For example: “How do you do against targets?”

You can answer this question in two ways:

 Answer 1: “I regularly hit all my targets and my manager has been impressed with the work I have done”

 Answer 2: “I have achieved all my monthly targets for the last 6 months resulting in a promotion. I am the highest performer in our department being 25% ahead of budget for the year to date.”

Both examples answer the question being asked but it is clear that Answer 2 gives more detail, and also allows the interviewer an opportunity to see evidence of what you have done.  Who would you employ in this scenario?

Ask the Interviewer:

Towards the end of the interview you will be given an opportunity to ask some questions to the interviewer. It is expected that you have prepared some questions so be prepared. Some example questions include:

- What is the culture of the organisation like?

- What are the organisations plans for the next 12 months (2 years, 5 years etc)

- What are the best things about working here?

- How do you see my career progressing if I worked here?

- Do you encourage additional learning (study support etc)

- What is the team like?

- How long have you worked here?

- Do you have any reservations about my interview today that you’d like me to clear up now?

- What is the process after today?

Your goal is to leave the interview with enough information so that if you are offered the job you know if you would accept it or not. At the end of the interview leave on positive terms with a firm handshake and thank the interviewer for their time.

After the interview:

The interview does not leave as you leave the building. Remember you may still be being observed by the interviewer (or the receptionist) so don’t linger around or start ringing someone and telling them all about how your interview has gone!

Once clear of the building ring your recruitment partner straight away with your feedback. Then write some notes on the things you have learnt and any questions you may have – these could be vital if you have to go back for a 2nd interview or need to decide to accept their job offer!

We hope this has helped but please contact us for more information if you need anything else.

Keep an eye out for future blogs on ‘How to write a CV’, ‘Completing Application Forms’ and ‘Competency Based Interviewing’.