Saturday, January 26, 2013

Essential Dos and Don'ts For Job Interviews

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Interviews can be stressful situations. Ensure you give yourself the best chance for success by following our guidelines on the dos and don'ts of interview technique and etiquette:
  • Lay out your clothing the day before - getting prepared beforehand leaves you more time to organise your thoughts on the day.
  • Dress appropriately. Conservative/sober dress is a safer bet but check with the culture of the organisation by contacting the offices/recruitment agent. Do wear smart attire and ensure your shoes are shiny and well kept.
  • Plan your journey well in advance and allow for delayed trains, traffic and other unforeseen events.
  • Ensure you know the correct name of your interviewer, job title and arrive at least 15mins early for the interview.
  • Read and understand the job advertisement and description prior to your interview.
  • Ensure you meet the requirements and you have a positive answer for any areas that you may not fully meet.
  • Read over your CV and make sure you know it back to front.
  • Have your CV, references and any additional information that has been requested with you.
  • Research the company's products and services, staff, culture, market position, recent press releases, clients and competitors.
  • Be prepared for the target interview procedure; some companies have one-to-one interviews; panel interviews; assessment centres; psychometric testing.
  • Give your interviewer a steady handshake when entering. Smile!
  • Focus on your achievements when asked interview questions and portray every response in a positive way.
  • Prepare for the interview via your own rehearsed model answers for any tricky questions you believe they may ask you.
  • Prepare your own questions in advance, which might include - What is the organisation's business plan for the next 1 or 5 years? What challenges do you foresee and how do you plan to overcome these? What challenges do you envisage in this role?
  • Ask if there are any areas they would like further clarification on at the end - just to be able to have a second opportunity if necessary.
  • Ask the follow up procedure; when you should expect to hear; 2nd or 3rd interviews etc if you are unclear and would like to know.
  • Don't ask what the salary/benefits will be, particularly if this is the first interview.
  • Don't interrupt your interviewer, argue unecessarily or be defensive/aggressive in response to questions.
  • Don't badmouth previous employers/colleagues/businesses.
  • Don't lie or exaggerate - tell the truth, even if you have to describe a difficult situation or employment that ended badly. Explain delicately, and as briefly as possible if you have to.
  • Don't slouch, smoke, fidget, pick your nose... Sitting up straight and rigid can also look odd - try to relax, but remain interested and alert.
  • Don't stray from the question or subject - interviewers have to keep to a timeframe, and irrelevant tangents about your personal life, while perhaps giving a sense of your personality, may not impress them!
  • Don't give long-winded answers. Showing you can think fast, be succinct and solve problems efficiently is far more useful than being able to talk at length...
Interview Follow-Up:
After the interview and upon reflection, if you could have answered a question in a better way or failed to get an important achievement across, why not follow up with a letter thanking the interviewer for their time and re-state your suitability for the post?
Unsuccessful Outcome:
If you have been unsuccessful in your interview, it is worth requesting feedback. They might be very busy but they might oblige and offer you some valuable tips as to where you could improve your interview performance. Consider using a career management specialist to help make your CV as effective as possible, brush up on interview tecnhiques and give you the best possible chance next time.
Successful Outcome:
Great! You have secured a job offer; however, wait till you have received the offer officially by post before resigning from your current post. Don't forget to thank your interviewer/new manager!

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