Five steps to getting hired
Attending general interview advice and assessment centres can be a daunting process, especially if you have little or no previous experience. It is vital to prepare comprehensively for each company you interview with and follow the five key steps below, for interview success.
Preparation is the most vital part of your interview preparation process. Ensure that you have visited the relevant company's website and completely understand not only what it is they do, but exactly what it is you'll be doing for them.
Failing to understand the job role you are interviewing for is cited as one of the biggest reasons why candidates are rejected by employers.
Be prepared to call Human Resources departments to find out the specifics of your interview. This can be a very useful way of picking up interview tips and finding out exactly what to prepare yourself for. HR staff are available to help you and are a resource that every candidate should make use of.
Use career discussion boards to talk to other graduates who have gone for similar interviews as you. Try to find out as many tips as you can from your peers.
Research recent and past clients of the company you are interviewing at to enable you to talk about current projects that you find interesting in your interview.
- Tip: Take a copy of your CV with you to the interview. Carry it in an executive style, A4 size, leather bound, black holder. Take a professional looking business card with your name and contact details on to give to your interviewer at the end of the interview. Having your own cards makes you look highly organised, professional and gives your employer easy access to your contact details.
It sounds simple, but late arrivers don't get hired. Arriving later than you should hints at disorganisation and arrogance on the part of the candidate and is one of the main reasons why graduates are rejected after interview. It is also one of the easiest things to get right.
Never take risks with interviews. Get the early train, not the one that arrives with ten minutes to spare. If you arrive with excess time, use this to clear your mind in a local coffee bar.
Arrive at reception 10 - 15 minutes before your organised interview time and politely announce that you have arrived. Be confident and smile. It pays off to be nice to receptionists, interviewers sometimes ask for their opinions of you too.
- Tip: If you are going to be late, make sure you have a good reason and call the interviewer as early as possible to let them know. Make it clear that circumstances beyond your control mean you will not be able to attend today as arranged, but ask if you can reschedule for the day after, or whenever is most convenient for them.
Research has shown that people make assessments of strangers within 3 - 5 seconds of first meeting them. This is why it is so important for you to come across at your best from the very first moment.
Make sure you wear sensible clothes when meeting potential employers. Interviewers expect men to wear a suit and tie, with clean, polished shoes. Women should wear a conservative suit with black or very dark smart shoes. Your hair should be neat and tidy. Make sure your hands are clean and you smell fresh but don't wear too much perfume or aftershave as you do not want to over power your assessor.
Never smoke before your interview, even if you think you need a cigarette to calm down. If you happen to be interviewed by a non-smoker, the smell of tobacco may put them off you completely. Many bosses also worry about the consequences of hiring smokers, who are generally thought to take more breaks during the day and sick leave than non-smokers.
- Tip: Do not turn up to interview without a tie (men) or in a short skirt (women). The relaxed look is not suitable for interview, where you need to be at your most professional.
Meeting and Greeting
When you meet your interviewer: stand up, smile, offer your hand and greet them by name if you know it. Recruiters will immediately dismiss candidates who are unable to offer these basic social skills. After all, if you can't impress your interviewer, how could you impress your employer's clients.
If you are not a naturally warm and outgoing person, practice meeting people. Ask parents, friends and relatives to help you by pretending to meet you. Rehearse several different greetings.
- Tip: Interview nerves mean that candidates tend to hyperventilate and breathe a lot faster than normal. If you find yourself speaking too fast, take a deep breath and slow down, take your time and try to deliver your responses with measure and impact.
Ask relevant questions
Prepare a selection of questions to ask at the end of your interview before it begins. Asking questions shows you are interested, enthusiatic and have been paying attention to what the interviewer has been saying. In practice, you only need to ask one or two questions to make the right impression, but having a selection prepared means that if something gets answered during the main body of the interview you still have something left to ask.
With just a small amount of thought and research in preparation for your interview, you will be able to develop your knowledge and consequently ask much more pertinent questions. Showing you know something unusual about the employer, or asking a well phrased pertinent question really sets you apart from other candidates and could quite easily be the clincher that gets you the job. When your interviewer asks if you have any questions, make sure you always have one ready.
- Tip: Never ask questions about salary or benefits at interview, as this gives the wrong impression to the interviewer. Employers are looking for candidates who want to work at their company regardless of the pay packet. You will get further details of benefits once you are offered the job.
Now see - General Interview Advice, Common Interview Questions, What 10 Skills Do Employers Most Want From Graduates?, How to Give a Great Elevator Pitch, Competency Based Interview and Surprising Interview Tips You May Not Know.
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