I got an Interview, now what do I do?
I do quite a bit of work helping clients prepare for interview. Here are some of my observations and tips I hope you will find useful the next time you are asked to Interview.
What Employers Want Remember, the fact you have secured an interview means the recruiter or potential employer sees you as good match for the job based on the information provided in your CV. The purpose of the interview is to meet with you and firmly establish if you are:
- Someone who can do the job.
- Someone who really wants the job.
- Someone who will fit into the company culture.
To do this Interviewers will ask more detailed questions about the information in your CV, and questions geared towards getting a better sense of your personality, your verbal communication, your knowledge of the company and the position on offer.
First Things First Do your homework on the company prior to the interview. It’s certain you to be asked specific questions about your potential employer. At the very least you will need to know the main products and services they offer, together with some general information about their size (local and international presence), knowledge of the sector, and some basic information about turnover/profits.
Quite a number of companies will have this information dispersed throughout their website. In addition to this ‘google’ the company and see what other useful information comes back. Also use your network; you may also be in a position to discreetly ask friends, acquaintances or suppliers for some insight.
Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail It is crucial to anticipate questions you will be asked in the interview. It’s likely you will be asked to give a summary of your career, your achievements (projects you were involved in and how you contributed towards them), and what attaches you to the company or role on offer. Prepare answers by writing them out, and work on them until they are balanced and succinct. Have a couple of mock interviews with either a career professional, trusted family member or friend to practice answering these questions along with questions you are not prepared for. This will give you the confidence to field questions put at you in the real interview. It also will help you remain calm and avoid waffling through answers.
On the Day of the Interview Never, ever, arrive late for Interview. Know exactly where you need to go, decide how you will get there and how long it will take. Make sure you allow for delays to your journey and aim to arrive 15 minutes beforehand. Do a dummy run if necessary. Avoid any last minute panic by deciding what to wear the day before and aim to present your appearance such that it attracts no remarks. Also if you are asked to bring references, birth certs, or other information, have it ready well in advance to avoid chasing around the house for them on the day of the interview.
Lights, Camera, Action! First impressions do matter; so in the first few moments of meeting your interviewers make sure to make eye contact and smile pleasantly; shake hands if offered. Be positive and enthusiastic in your outlook and always be courteous and polite towards the interviews. Answer questions honestly, if you don’t understand the question first time around ask for clarification. If you don’t know the answer to a question, say so, there is nothing worse than listening to someone stumbling through an answer to a question they know little or nothing about. In your answers or comments, avoid saying anything rude or negative about your previous employer or colleagues. Finally, have a few questions prepared to ask at the end of the interview if you are invited to do so. Thank the interviewers when the interview is over.