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How to have an Effective Interview

The time you spend at a job interview will ultimately affect your career long term. It is important that you are prepared and do the best you can because, no matter what your career has been previously or what you are seeking, the interview remains the deciding factor of how successful you will be. These tips will help arm you with valuable information on how to conduct yourself before, during and after interviews with prospective employers.

If you have been called for an interview there is no reason not to get the job!  Your CV obviously appeals, and now you have to sell yourself in person. By the end of the interview you should have shown your strengths, your skillset, your experience (never assume the interviewer has actually read the CV - make sure they understand you and that you have demonstrated how relevant your experience is to the job). You should also leave the interview feeling confident that you know enough about the job, company, and interviewer to be able to make an informed decision about the position. Preparation is the key to all successful interviews.

Before your Interview:

  • The Date/Time/Address of the interview
  • The correct name and title of all the people you will meet
  • Research the company (your consultant will be able to fill in some detail, but always try the internet, recent industry magazines, or the local paper)
  • Have a detailed understanding of your current role and ensure you are aware of all the information the company has about you
  • Have questions for the employer prepared (Interviews are also your opportunity to gain a good understanding of the role and the company and whether this is a good career move)
  • Prepare a list of 8 – 10 personal selling points
  • Prepare answers to typical questions (see examples below)
  • Revise your CV / Application Form / Job Specification
  • Research the Interviewer / Interview Format (where possible)

Your Selling Points - Things to remember:

  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Qualifications
  • Achievements
  • Skills
  • Challenges overcome
  • Experience
  • Interests
  • Relate everything to the job you're interviewing for

Likely Interview Questions:

  • What interests you about this role/company?
  • What benefits can you bring to our organisation?
  • What is your career plan for, say, 5 years from now?
  • What type of environment do you work best in?
  • What has been your proudest achievement?
  • What do your colleagues think of you?
  • What have you enjoyed about your previous roles?
  • What are your weaknesses? How have you overcome these?
  • Are you prepared to relocate or travel within this role?
  • What are your interests outside of work?

Day of the Interview:

  • Arrive 10 minutes early (but not too early as too much time may increase your nerves)
  • Remember that the interview begins the moment you come into contact with ANYONE from the organization (beware of comments made anywhere on the premises as you never know who is listening)
  • Walk-in assertively, but not aggressively
  • Do not use the interviewer’s name continuously during the interview
  • Remember that 85% of communication is non-verbal - keep your expressions open such as your posture, gestures, eye contact, smile and tone of voice. 
  • Maintain suitable eye contact with the interviewer who is talking and when you are speaking to someone  
  • Try to match your voice level and tone with the interviewers (if they are speaking softly try not to come out with a booming voice)
  • Be brief and to the point (it is extremely common to talk too much in an interview)
  • Be positive (do not moan about your present job)
  • Be frank and honest
  • Let the interviewer control the interview (many interviewers can be more nervous than you and are inexperienced in interviewing)
  • Don’t interrupt, but keep in mind that there are roughly 8-10 facts that you need to get across about yourself.
  • Never argue at an interview – no matter what!
  • Leave as assertively as you entered and remember to thank the interviewer for their time
  • An employer will be looking for more than your ability to do the role (your fit with the organisation and your overall presentation will be a factor in your success)
  • Personal appearance – always wear a suit, even if the company has a dress down policy
  • Be enthusiastic (get a good night's sleep before the interview)!
  • Do not ask about salary in the first interview. This gives the impression that money is the only motivating factor. Also, it gives us more flexibility to negotiate on your behalf
  • Remember to switch off your silence your mobile before your interview

And remember …

"If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got. If you want different results next time, do something differently!!”

Note down what you could do better next time and ask your Recruiter for honest and constructive interview feedback.