Whether you’re thinking about a career change or are in the middle of a major job hunt, here’s how to brush up on your interview techniques and be prepared with some intelligent questions at your interview.
This is your big chance to make a lasting impression. You have no excuse for not being fully prepared and organised. Chances are, if you’re not, the next person will be!
Make sure you know what you have written on your CV. Interviewers will ask you about it.
Have the correct time, location and pronunciation of the person’s name that will be interviewing you. Allow yourself plenty of time to get there – do not be late!
Prepare a list of questions that you would like to ask, and don’t hesitate to take it out from your bag to read from the list. We all get nervous in interviews, and it is horrible to remember when you’ve left that you forgot to ask something critical. Asking questions shows the interviewer that you have prepared for the meeting.
Wear your most businesslike and appropriate outfit. Make sure your shoes are clean and well heeled, and that your jewellery is appropriate. Remember: it is easy to be quirky once you actually have the job.
Do’s and don’ts at an interview
Do fill it out any application forms neatly and completely
Do greet the interviewer by name
Do shake hands firmly.
Do sit upright in your chair, look alert and interested at all times. Be a good listener as well as a good talker. Smile!
Do be enthusiastic – nothing is more attractive.
Do look a prospective employer in the eye when you speak – very important!
Do follow the interviewer’s lead, but try to obtain a full description of the position and duties expected early on so that you can relay your appropriate background and skills.
Do keep in mind that only you can sell yourself and make the interviewer aware of the potential benefit you could be to the organisation. Think like the interviewer: what would you want to hear?
Do keep in mind that there may be more than one role on offer in the organisation. Remain positive throughout the interview.
Don’t smoke before the interview!
Don’t answer questions with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Always give an example as it helps to reinforce what you are saying.
Don’t lie. Answer questions truthfully, frankly and as much to the point as possible.
Don’t make derogatory remarks about your present or former employers.
Don’t ask about salary, holidays, bonuses, etc. at the initial interview unless you are positive the interviewer is interested in hiring you.
Questions you should ask
Looking and sounding prepared is important. Don’t be afraid to refer to a notebook during the meeting.
Why is the position available?
How would you describe the culture of the company?
What kind of training will I receive?
What kinds of people have done well within the organisation? Why?
What is the company’s strategy for the next year? Where are they trying to position themselves in the market?
What do you see the career progression for this role being?
At the end of the interview
Ask what the next step is from here. Let the interviewer know you are interested in pursuing the opportunity further, without being overbearing.
If you are offered the position and you are comfortable and happy with everything discussed, including salary, accept the position on the spot, subject to receiving the offer in writing. If you wish time to think it over, be tactful in asking for that time. Agree on a definite time when you will come back with your answer. Never resign from a permanent role without a written offer from your “future” employer.
Most interviewers will not make an offer in the interview. Don’t let this discourage you. It is all part of the process. The general line is: “I am interviewing other candidates …”
Always remember to thank the interviewer for their time and consideration. Let them know that you hope to hear from them soon. Remember to shake the interviewer’s hand and smile. Walk away knowing you have done all you can do.