1. Do you actually want this job?
May seem like a stupid question considering that you applied for the job however I know many individuals who get interviews but don’t really want the job, let’s not forget the important difference between want and need. If you need the job with no other prospects on the horizon you should probably want the job as well as we all have bills to pay. If you are already in a job, have a few good prospects in the pipeline and really question if this job may actually be for you, my advice would be to stop wasting your time and the time of the prospective company as there may be other candidates out there with more reason to want the job, they probably need it. In my experience, so much time is wasted by individuals not turning up for planned interviews as well as by those whom are physically present but mentally somewhere else, like the interview they really want. So be sure you want the job.
2. What to wear for your interview?
This is probably the most common question I have been asked.
I’ll start with what not to wear.
I was working for a Not for Profit Organisation when my colleague was interviewing for an Administration apprentice position; a really decent salary and future considering the job role. One of the candidates showed up to this office based position interview in shorts. Needless to say they did not even make the interview room.
The most simple answer to the “attire” question is to do some research into the interviewing company, they will most likely have a website (if not tell them to contact me and I will guide them in the right direction), on which you may find photos of people working there or the type of business they conduct if you don’t already know.
The clue can also be found in the title and job description. Job title: Business Analyst; pretty much a given that a shirt and trousers or equivalent “business” attire should be worn.
Ask the consultant (if there is one); recruitment consultants are there to sell the job to you so they will know what the attire should be thus ask if you don’t know. If they don’t know ask them to find out as this conundrum is unusual as they should know.
Strange but proven tip: It has been said many times that wearing blue can influence the mood of an interview as its a calm colour. Loud colours like orange may place the attention on what you are wearing rather than the interview. If you are going for a creative based role you can ignore the bit above about colour as you would actually know which colours suit you best.
3. First Impressions count!
1. Relax- They would not interview you if they did not like your CV so you are already part of the way there.
2. Be polite- Most interviewee’s concentrate so much on the interview questions that they often forget basic manners. If someone opens a door for you or offers you a chair say thank you. If they offer you a drink, follow up any answer with thank you.
3. Look the person asking you the question, if you have multiple people interviewing you ensure that you answer the correct person.
4. Mind your eyes – Your eyes can say a lot about you. Looking around when someone is asking you a question shows that you are not paying attention. By all accounts please avoid looking below the neck line of the person interviewing, for example glaring at the chest area of a female interviewer is more than just rude, its an interview red card.
4. What are they going to ask?
Most interview qustions are based on how “you” fit the role. How does what you have done before relate to what the role entitles?
An example for an Analyst role question:
” Please describe what types of reporting you have done?”
Most questions are open ended, the interviewer is trying to find out how you interpret the questions. If you go off course you may not necessarily know but most times the interviewer will rephrase the question so that you go down the desired tangent.
Most important– Think before you speak. I have been part in a few interviews where the interviewee tried to answer the questions as quickly as possible which in turn created overlapping answers. Unfortunately, this does not paint the best picture of the individual, they may be perfect for the role but the answers they are blurting out does not show any depth of knowledge.
Don’t be afraid to ask the interviewer to repeat the question/s. But, be prepared to actually answer the question to be best of your ability. Repeating the question once is fine however they will not be too pleased if they have to repeat it again or worse, you totally misinterpreting the question…more of that below.
5. What if I don’t know the answers to the questions?
You may just be having a bad day however to me in most cases this indicates one of two things: the interviewer is not clear in how they are asking the questions, unfortunately this is very unlikely as they normally rephrase the question so that you do understand what they are asking. The second is that you know what the question is but actually don’t know how to answer as you don’t know what the answer is. The most professional answer may be something like:
Unfortunately, I have not had any experience with (the topic in question) but would like the opportunity to learn more about it.
Basically, you are saying you don’t know but in a professional and concise manner which actually shows more about your character than your knowledge. I have been part of a few interviews where character was chosen over experience and character has proven us right.
It’s not uncommon for interviewee’s not to know much about an organisation before they get the offer of an interview as many Recruitment agencies and consultant don’t disclose this information until the offer.
If you think you know the answer to the question don’t laugh and say “This is an easy one”. Some may perceive the comment as over confidence. How would you feel if you answer the question after that comment and the interviewer says. “Perhaps you misunderstood the question, let me rephrase”. Not exactly the response you or they wanted.
6. Interview conclusion
Once the interview is complete the interviewer will usually say something like “That is it for today, thank you for your time.” Do follow up with your own “Thank you for the opportunity” or just a simple “Thank you”. Don’t just nod your head and leave the room, again this would be classed as rude.
Taking all of the above into account, as well as the other best interview tips you have gathered the most important thing to remember is manners as they don’t cost anything. You don’t have to purchase a new outfit, just ensure your clothes are clean and ironed. Finally, be yourself but think before you speak. Even if the answers weren’t quite on par with the other interviewee’s, they may like your attentive personality and enthusiasm which could result in a trial period or possibly a permanent position. Good Luck, you are ready.