Key steps to interview excellence
The interview process can be extremely stressful. The points below will help raise your confidence by demonstrating how best to prepare and develop your interview technique.
Give yourself the edge – do your research!
Researching the company before the interview will give you an edge in understanding the company’s needs. The more you know about a company the stronger your chance of succeeding at interview.
Confirm the contact details
Make sure you have all the details you need, directions to your venue, the name of the interviewer, a contact number should you need to call them en route and the correct time.
If you require parking, check that there is space available and if it needs to be allocated.
If driving – make sure you park in the correct place so as not to be interrupted during the interview or worse still, get a shock when you leave.
Always make sure you switch your mobile phone off; there is nothing more distracting than a mobile ringing or vibrating during the interview.
- You should always dress professionally for interviews, and gentlemen, unless you're told otherwise, we recommend you wear a tie.
- Even if the company has a casual dress code, interviewees should dress in a smart business suit. It is always better to be too smart than too casual.
- Dress appropriately to the role applied for; the vary nature of the Finance, Leasing and Banking world implies smart business attire as a pre-requisite. Remember, rightly or wrongly, interviewers may let your appearance influence their judgement
Time keeping .
- Good timekeeping provides your interviewer with evidence of commitment, dependability and professionalism.
- Leave for your interview in good time - always allowing for unforeseen delays.
- If you think you are likely to be late, call us immediately so we can advise the interviewer accordingly.
- Try to arrive at the interview location 15 minutes early.
- This should leave you with adequate time to report into reception and collect your thoughts in preparation for the interview.
- Bring with you any information you may have gleaned on the prospective employer should you wish to refer to any of it during the interview.
- It is also prudent to bring with you extra copies of your CV.
- You should also have questions prepared to ask at the end of the interview.
- Using a notepad to capture relevant points not only shows a genuine interest in the role but also means that you can refer to them both after the interview and before the next stage interview.
- First impressions are very important.
- A firm handshake, a smile and plenty of eye contact are essential to demonstrate confidence.
- All interviewers are different: adapt your approach according to the interviewer’s personality whilst remaining professional at all times; work to establish good rapport.
- Speak clearly in a confident voice, even though you may feel nervous.
- Try to relax. Think of the interview as a conversation, not an interrogation. Remember, the interviewer is just as nervous about making a good impression on you.
- Display your initiative by talking about what functions you could perform that would benefit the organisation, and by giving specific details of how you have helped past employers.
- During the interview sit up straight and do not slouch.
- Maintain regular eye contact and avoid fidgeting.
- Too many hand movements will make you appear nervous and will distract from what you are actually saying.
- This is often forgotten as candidates are too worried about selling themselves and talking about their experiences.
If you’re talking without listening, you could risk missing those all important verbal cues that make for a good two way, informative dialogue.
- Make sure you listen carefully to the questions being asked.
- Never interrupt or talk over the interviewer.
Answer the question asked
- Remain relevant and do not feel rushed to answer.
- Candidates often make the mistake of not actually answering the question.
- Make sure you understand what is being asked, especially if you are not being interviewed in your mother tongue, and get further clarification if you are unsure.
- Try to avoid vague stories about your background but do give examples that highlight your successes and uniqueness. Answer honestly and try to remain positive
- If you must give a negative answer try to follow with a positive statement.
- Do not waffle; long monologues are likely to bore the interviewer.
- If you do not know the answer to a technical question, be honest, but attempt a constructive reply, such as how you would go about finding an answer.
Money talk – Salary and benefits
- In good business practice you first sell the benefits of your product to the customer before you tell them how much it will cost.
- In an interview situation, you are the product and your initial focus should be on establishing your suitability for the position and not the position's suitability for you.
- It is not unusual for interviewees to fall out of contention for a position because they addressed the remuneration level at the wrong time.
- Only negotiate on terms and conditions, for example, salary, hours, away travel, expenses, holiday entitlements, study assistance, location and relocation once the product is sold, not before.
- If you are asked about your salary package simply reiterate what you are on and the benefits attached and then leave it there until you reach offer stage.
- Many interviewees don’t ask questions and miss the opportunity to find out valuable information.
- Your questions indicate your interest in the company or job.
- An interview should be a two way discussion, an opportunity for you to find out about the company and the position as well as for the potential employer to assess your suitability for the role.
- Try to save some questions for the end of the interview.
End on a positive
- End the interview with a firm handshake and thank the interviewer for his or her time.
- Reiterate your interest in the position and your suitability. If they offer to contact you, politely ask when you should expect the call.
- Finally, if you want the job then be confident enough to ask for it!
Six pitfalls that can cost you the job
From our experience, there are six common factors that contribute to a poor interview. Ensuring you avoid these pitfalls will help you get that job!
- Lack of preparation
- Poor, ineffective communication skills
- Being aggressive or arrogant
- Making excuses for any past failings
- Speaking unfavourably about current or previous employers
- Limp handshake, poor eye contact and negative body language
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