Interview

It’s not what you say it’s the way that you say it …getting interview ready by preparing may involve a bit of effort but it will make all the difference on the day.

Here you will find interview techniques and tips to maximise your chances of securing that job.

Everyone has an interview at some point in their life and they can be scary things. You may be nervous, and that’s to be expected, but an interview should be nothing to be worried about if you have properly prepared yourself for it. Getting interview ready by preparing may involve a bit of effort but it will make all the difference. The interview is the final part of the selection process (subject to references and checks). It aims to assess the extent to which you meet the selection criteria and your overall suitability for the job. Interviews come in many different formats, yet the purpose is always the same; selecting the best person for the job. And if you have made it to interview, well done – you have passed that all-important first hurdle of the application process. You now have the chance to meet your prospective employer face to face and convince them that you are the right person and that they should be making the job offer to you. Job interviews can last from 10 minutes up to an hour, but remember it only takes about 90 seconds to make a first and potentially lasting impression, so it is crucial that you make the most out of the 90 seconds and create the right sort of impression.
The length of time it takes for a company to set up an interview can vary dramatically from company to company. Some interview on a rolling basis as and when strong applicants come through, where others have a set application period of say three to four weeks (sometimes longer) and will not contact people until that period is over. And if you have not been successful you may not be contacted at all, so in other words there is no real set answer. If you applied for a job and are concerned because you have not heard anything back, you may want to try some of the follow up tips …….click to Make a plan. Remember you may not be the only person applying for the job, and you do not want to come across as annoying or impatient so keep in mind the three P’s Professional Polite Positive
There are three main types of interview – one-to-one, panel and competency-based. One-to-one interviews You are more likely to get a one-to-one interview with a smaller company. It’s slightly less formal than panel interviews (see below) but does not mean you should treat is an opportunity to just have a general ‘chit chat’. A one-to-one interview means you are more likely to be directly questioned by the person that is in charge of managing that role/team. ***The bonus to this type of interview is you only have to impress one person. Make sure you’ve practiced some interview questions and answers and try to build up a friendly rapport with your interviewer, while keeping it professional. People buy people – if they like you as a person then you’re in with a better chance than if they just think you might be good at the job but won’t fit in with the team. Panel interviews These are popular with larger companies and involve a group of interviewers taking turns to ask you their questions. This may sound a little overwhelming, especially if you haven’t done one before, so it’s vital that you really prepare for your interview in advance. ***A little tip for panel interviews is to treat all of the people on the panel with equal respect as you may not know who is really in charge, and they will all have an opinion about you. Collectively they will decide whether or not you get the job, but how you treat any one of them may make all the difference. When answering interview questions focus on the person questioning you at the time, involving the other panel members by making eye contact with everyone in turn. Competency-based interviews Competency-based interviews use a strict set of questions and are the most advanced interview type. This type of interview focuses on your work-related skills and abilities rather than general questions about your past work experience, your personality and what sort of person you are. They can be trickier to answer as you have to use real examples of what you have actually been involved in and achieved to demonstrate your answers. ***Prepare by reading the job advert carefully as the core skills mentioned usually make up the questions asked.
1. What type of interview is it? There are three types of interview and when you are offered one they should tell you what to expect, and if not you could always contact them and ask – it shows initiative. Different interview types. 2. What to wear? You need to make sure you are dressed appropriately for an interview. Be smart, clean and tidy and polish your shoes! 3. Plan your journey and set out in good time You may be the most punctual person in the world, but allow more time if you are depending on public transport and factor in some time for delays and traffic problems. Being late is the worst start to an interview and no matter how well you perform you might not get the job because of lateness. 4. Be prepared – Print off your CV or application form so you can read over everything just before the interview. Read and re-read to make sure you are confident. If possible, put all your papers into a neat flat folder, not only will you look organised, it looks quite smart too! Take copies of your certificates. Before your interview, make sure you look at the company website, it shows you have taken the time to find out about the company. 5. Short and sweet – keep your answers between 1.5 and 2 minutes if there is an example or specific detail that needs a longer answer, try and organise your response and use the STAR method to be a STAR .(hyper link) 6. Body language Body language plays a big part in an interview. For example, if you sit slouched in your chair with your arms folded you may come across as disinterested, even if your answers are good. Take a look at the body language tips. 7. Ask your own questions At the end of most interviews you will be asked if you have any questions. Rather than just staring back with a blank face, have some questions prepared beforehand. However, if all your questions have been covered feel confident to say so. The BIG DON’TS DON’T eat smelly or spicy food and if you are a smoker the smell of smoke can linger on your clothes and create a bad impression. If you can, save it until after the interview. DON’T leave your mobile on, it’s a very common mistake, it is awkward and unprofessional so don’t forget. Turn it off when you arrive for the interview or before you are called in to the interview room.
Make sure that you walk in to the room with confidence. Beware of your posture and be ready to give a good, strong handshake to the interviewer(s). Make sure to keep eye contact with the person interviewing you. If several people are in the room, look around at the other people and then direct your attention back at the person that asked the question. Eye contact shows that you are confident and prepared. Relax. Everyone knows how nerve-racking an interview is. Sit in a relaxed, but not sloppy, manner to show that you are confident. Sit straight on towards the interviewer. This shows them that you are engaged and interested in what they are saying. Don’t fidget! Whatever you do, don’t play with your hair, click a pen or wiggle your hands and feet during an interview. You may come across as uncomfortable and not confident. Don’t get too comfortable. Leaning back in your chair may suggest that you are overly confident. Try to remain open and relaxed; do not tell any fibs, as your body language and tone of voice or choice of words will give you away. Plus it’s embarrassing when you get caught out! Do smile, a nervous smile is better than not smiling at all. There is no need to overdo it, but a simple, reasonable attempt to engage could help put you at ease. Be enthusiastic and as natural as possible. Don’t forget to say “thank you for seeing me” at the end of the interview.
Don’t take it personal. Asking for feedback is a great way to improve your job hunting performance. If the interviewer felt that you were not qualified enough and you feel that you are, next time you can make a bigger deal of your experience. Bite the bullet ask for feedback, don’t be left wondering why! But – be prepared not to receive any feedback, even if you ask. Some companies may choose not to provide feedback but at least you asked!

The three P’s

It is always worth keeping the interviewer as a contact if you can. Send an email or give them a call asking for feedback and emphasise how much you liked the company, ask them to keep your records on file in case similar/other likely jobs come up in the future.

There is nothing worse than being ungracious. If you show that you are angry or upset then you are making sure that you may be discounted for any jobs that come up in the future with that company. Always remember to be

  1. Professional
  2. Polite
  3. Positive