In our previous article in this employment series, the top ten interview questions were outlined along with some useful strategies in preparing for a job interview. C.P.R. of a different nature was suggested – Consolidate your documents; Prepare for the interview by researching the organisation and Rehearse for the interview by practicing commonly asked questions.
The article concluded by suggesting candidates too often go into an interview thinking it’s a one sided process. Don’t forget an interview is about you making sure the employer and the job are right for you.” Regardless of your background and experiences, interviews are never easy. You can make them less traumatic by following a few simple steps.
- Remember, the three big things the interview panel will want to know about you are:
- What makes you the right candidate for the job? What qualities do you have that make you different to the other candidates?
- How are you going to perform in the role? Have you got what it takes and what is your potential?
- What have you done to date that relates closely to the position on offer? What have been your achievements?
- Check your written application & your CV to make sure you know what you’ve submitted. In the heat of the moment, you’d be surprised how many people forget their background or gloss over important and relevant work experiences.
- If the role expects you to have experiences in particular areas where it’s possible to provide examples of your work (e.g. sales brochures; reports; marketing plans; budgeting) bring them along to the interview. Providing examples of your past work is more powerful than simply indicating you have the experience.
- When you receive advice on the interview, make sure you have details on:
- Date, time and venue;
- Interview panel – how many on the panel & their names/positions;
- Interview structure – are there any special tasks, written tests or presentations;
- Before the day, follow the steps for C.P.R. – Consolidate, Prepare & Research.
Candidates often ask us whether they should use prompt notes at the interview. If you consider an interview as a sales & marketing opportunity, then using notes is perfectly acceptable. Identifying key achievements that closely relate to the position on offer is a good start. Having a set of questions you’d like to ask is also a good idea.
At a recent interview for a position recruited by People Recruitment Group, the successful candidate used notes throughout his interview. Additionally, he gave each panellist a one page “Vision Paper” identifying why he was the right choice, his key & relevant skills, his passion for the role and his vision on strategies to develop sales revenue. This interview was the third and final stage of the appointment process, with very little separating two candidates up to this point. The strategy created a “point of difference” between the two candidates, assisting the panel in their choice.
On the day of the interview remember that nerves will be less of a problem if you are well prepared. Try to do what you would normally do in your schedule. Exercise is good. Read over your notes & check that you have everything you need. If in doubt about the appropriate dress for the interview, opt to dress up rather than down. Remember there’s no second chance for a first impression. The panel will form a quick opinion on you by your dress, mannerism and the way you greet them – and all of this is in the first few seconds of your interview! Greet the panellists individually by shaking their hands and if possible, referring to them by name. After taking your seat, gather your notes & other materials you need for the interview. Check you posture, take a few deep breaths and away you go.
Here are a few additional tips for the interview:
- Listen to the question and avoid talking-over or interrupting the panellist.
- If you don’t understand the question, say so.
- Vary your eye contact so you address all panelists.
- Consider your answer before responding – that is, put your brain into gear before your mouth into motion!
- Don’t rush your answers. Speak clearly, but in a calm and even tone.
- Avoid the “umms” and “arrghs” – they can become very monotonous after a while.
- Manage your fidgeting. It’s a good idea to keep you hands loosely clasped on the desk or your lap.
- Don’t waffle. Questions will be either “what have you done” or “what would you do”.
- Avoid going into minute detail at the expense of the really important stuff.
- Ask questions, but take care in how many.
- Thank the panel for their time & shake hands on departure.
If you are under consideration for a senior role, which may require financial management, it is entirely appropriate to ask for the recent Annual Report and Financial Statements.
Given the nature of businesses right now, it’s better to check their financial records before taking on a job.
The consultant or employer will usually indicate the time frame for a decision or whether another interview is anticipated. If you haven’t been advised of the timeframe, it is entirely appropriate to ask.
Given the likely over-supply of candidates and a correspondingly under-supply of jobs, making it through to an interview is often an achievement in itself. So, even if you don’t get the job, don’t be too hard on yourself.
People Recruitment Group