An award winning social enterprise supporting mental health and wellbeing across the life span.

Interview Esstentials

Posted by carla Andrews on Saturday, August 8, 2015 Under: Employment Support
Having been on both sides of the interview, as an interviewee and as an interviewer, I know just how daunting it is. As an interviewee, it was paramount for me to get the job. As an interviewer it was paramount to find the right person for the team. I would have selected from a deluge of CVs the most impressive people to interview. Now it was up to them to impress, or destroy that image. The moment an interviewee walks through the door I start making informed decisions. Their shoes, their hair, finger nails, body language, it is all building a picture, because I have 3o minutes/ an hour to decide whether this person is going to be an asset to my team, and if I am wrong the ramifications are numerous. 

So, if I was going to advice on with the dos and don’ts to help you at interview stage, it would be the following 5. 

Do your research & prepare… Company research is overlooked by many. However, in my eyes I am wanting to employee someone who really wants this position within our company. Someone who goes that extra mile, and uses their initiative. If you can remember specific facts then fabulous, but if you can give me a ball park figure that’s good too. For instance, if the website actually says we employee 357 staff, and you can tell me that my company has around 350 employees I would be happy as it shows you have researched, don’t panic trying to remember specific details, if you remember them on the day, then great. Additionally important is understanding what is required in the job role which you can obtain from the job description. 

Getting to the interview on time is another one to research prior, and remember to research for the time of your interview. All too often interviewees turn up late and blame traffic, cancelled buses, or road works. Research your journey, and prepare to be there with time to spare. You can always grab a coffee around the corner beforehand.

Know your stuff… It is hard to predict what questions will be asked, however there are a few standard interview questions which are frequently asked, including tell me about yourself, and why did you apply for the role. Having completed your research you should have an understanding of the job description, but this is your chance to listen and discuss what is required. Knowing your CV and being able to talk about yourself positively is essential to answering questions. Interviewers are not out to trick you. In my opinion a good interview is a discussion to see if you would be able to do the job, and fit into the team. 

Dress to look your best... It goes without saying that, when it comes to professional dress, different industries have different norms, what’s acceptable in the high-tech world would not be appropriate for a solicitors. This means you must do your research. What is the company’s dress code, if you can pop by and have a look, then do so.  If not, see if they have a presence on the internet. But use your common sense, just because Richard Branson dresses casually doesn’t mean you should turn up to Virgin Active in flip flops and jeans, or looking like you are about to act as crew on Virgin Airlines. Common sense is paramount.

Whatever the clothing culture, good hygiene, and the ability to present yourself in the best light is essential. Clean, ironed, and well-fitting clothes will set you apart. Trousers three inches too short, gapping blouses, screwed up shirts, stains anywhere will not cut it in my team, and yes, I will also notice your shoes as you enter. Now for the big one; Smells, my eyes should not stream whilst I interview you, because you have used half a bottle of perfume/aftershave moments before you walked in. Nor, should I smell that you last bath was a week ago. Remember, I will also shake your hand. It’s funny how people always panic about sweaty palms, believe me, that I can cope with as I know it is a likely result of nerves. What I can’t stand in poorly kept hands, half picked nail varnish screams no effort. Worse still is finger nails that are full of dirt.

Body language… We often hear that if someone is crossing their arms they are not interested. Body language can be as individual as we all are. However, there are some no, no’s for you, but try not to worry in an interview if your interviewer is sitting with crossed arms. Your biggest concerns are your own actions during the interview. In my experience the biggest contributing body language factors are smiling and eye contact. Smiling is essential in greeting, too many times I have found it hard to connect with someone because they did not smile at any time during the interview.  Also, eye contact is important which can be hard for some, especially when filled with nerves, but try and relax. Interviews are very much a two way process between you and the interviewer, you would not be there if they thought you were not capable of doing the job. Remember, you were selected for interview for a reason, because you shined above other applicants. 

Follow up… So many people leave an interview and wait to hear. However, I remember interviewing someone once and the next day receiving a delightful email thanking me for my time. The applicant had interviewed well, but he set himself apart from others because he had gone the extra mile, and with good manners too. Needless to say he got the job. 

I hope these tips will help you on your journey into a new role. Best of luck.

In : Employment Support 

Tags: interview prep  what to wear  company research  getting that job  employment