Before the interview
• Research the organisation, check the company website and search for them on the internet
• If you’re changing career make sure you research the industry and job role
• Prepare answers to common interview questions
• Make sure you know the name of the person or people interviewing you
• Check the format of the interview
• Research your interviewers – Google their names and check LinkedIn
• Print a copy of your CV to take with you
• Re-read your CV
• Plan the journey and check for delays
• Take a contact number with you in case there are any problems
• Print out a map of your route
• Leave a good half hour before you think you need to
At the interview
• Switch off your mobile phone
• Ask questions about the role and company
• Ask when you can expect to hear back
After the interview
• Contact your consultant to let you know your feedback
Serious candidates prepare
You’ve heard it before, but that’s because it really matters. So many people, especially first-jobbers, make the fatal mistake of not doing their homework before walking into an interview. Interviewers expect you to prepare and chances are they’ll know if you don’t. So show them you’re serious about the job:
• Practice common interview questions
• Research the company and your interviewers
• Be aware of topical issues affecting your industry
The first five minutes count
It takes most recruiters just ten minutes to make their mind up about a candidate. And a quarter of interviewers make a judgement after just five minutes.
So how do you go about making a good impression in those crucial first few moments?
• Don’t arrive late
• Use positive body language
• Don’t be rude or personal about current or previous employers
• Don’t be too familiar, it’s important to set a professional tone
• Switch off your mobile before you step into the room
Curiosity is crucial
Ask an intelligent question towards the beginning of your interview to demonstrate that you’ve done your homework. And when you get to the end, ask a few more. Just spending half an hour on a company’s website can give you a definite advantage.
Look for recent press releases, product launches, career biographies and awards which could spark talking points. An interviewer will assume you’re not genuinely interested in their company if you ask nothing about it.
You’re only human – and so is your interviewer
Good employers understand the pitfalls of interviewing and they know you’re only human. Try not to panic if you get lost for words or a question throws you. You may leave the room berating yourself for your mistakes but the interviewer will make allowances and chances are you weren’t as bad as you think.
It’s all in your technique
You can vastly improve your performance with a little care over your technique:
• When answering interview questions, relate parts of the job description to relevant experience on your CV.
• Make the most of your research and quote it where appropriate.
• If you face a panel interview, make sure you talk to everyone rather than directing your answers at one person.
• Never mention salary unless prompted to do so
• Always let the interviewer finish speaking before giving your response.
Dress for success
Jobseekers and promotion hunters find that a good CV will gain them access to an interview room, but from then on, it’s important to make sure your image measures up to your aspirations.
Think of yourself as a brand,employers want to see your core values, which you can show through appearance, behaviour and communication skills.
Visual, not vocal
Psychologists estimate that just 7% of the impression you make at interview will be based on what you say. The rest will depend on how you said it and whether you looked like a convincing candidate. Dress for the job you aspire to and people will picture you in the role.
Plan of action
When you research the job you want, build the clothes you need to wear into the equation. Find out beforehand what the job entails,If it involves going out to client meetings, for example, dress as though you could bring in new business.
Check out the company dress code, even if it means standing outside their offices to see what employees wear. If you are seeking promotion, use the staff restaurant or foyer to monitor the style of key people.
Upwardly mobile dressers
Never dress down to an interview. If you want the job, you should have made an effort with your appearance,
You have to show intelligence and a passion to work at the company. If you arrive looking scruffy, you have to work even harder in the interview.
Casual means caution
Don’t assume that the weekend starts early. According to the Vodafone Working Nation survey, only 25% of companies now offer dress-down Fridays.
Be known for your skills, not eccentricities. It is wise to take a low-key approach to looking individual at work. It is advised to simply to add one interesting accessory (a brooch for women, for example, or a bright tie for men) to well-tailored clothes if you want to stand out from the crowd.
For the girls…
• It pays to make-up: women who wear subtle make-up earn 23% more than women who go without. Make-up emphasises eyes and mouth (the primary means of communication).
• Cover up: 88% of people feel that it is unacceptable to display a bare midriff in the workplace, making it less acceptable than visible tattoos (77%), body piercings (69%) and low-cut tops (64%).
• Suits command respect: women have so many choices that they often shy away from the more formal suit, and so come over as less powerful than their male colleagues.
For the boys…
• Beard blunders: facial hair is not taboo anymore. One in three bosses now view stubble as acceptable in business. But concealing lips and mouth is still a barrier to communication. If you’re going for beard or stubble, you’ll need to spend more, not less, time on grooming.
• Don’t be a schoolboy: badly-fitting clothes generally look like hand-me-downs.
• And all the rest: don’t think you can get away with a stain on your tie, lunch in your teeth or smelling of cigarettes.