Career hints and tips

Preparing for an Interview

  • Know the exact address and time of the interview, the interviewer’s full name, the correct pronunciation and his or her title.
  • Research the best route and transport connections to get you there on time (click on the Useful Links tab to see transport and street maps)
  • Make use of the internet. Research the company, its products, services, competitors and company financial reports
  • Take along to the interview a copy of your CV, any qualifications or certificates that are vital to the job, a notepad and pen and any details that you have about the company or job
  • Meet and Greet with a firm handshake and an enthusiastic smile.
  • Find out why the client is interested in you (you can get this info from your Recruitment Consultant or HR direct sources)
  • An interview is between two parties – know in advance what questions to ask. (See below for a list of suggested questions)
  • Anticipate the questions the interviewer will ask you, carefully prepare your answers and make sure you always relate them in a positive way (See below for a list of suggested questions)
  • Finally, make sure you know your own CV (i.e. dates, reasons for leaving, what you did in what company, skills you used, achievements and challenges)

Presentation

  • First impressions count. Most recruitment decisions are made in the first two minutes of the initial meet.
  • If you look the part, the interviewer will assume you can do the job. If you don’t look successful, the interviewer has no reason to think you are.
  • Be smart, well groomed in appropriate business attire. Play it safe and dress conservatively. This is appropriate until you check out the corporate dress code at the interview.

Personality

  • The interviewer is not just assessing your skills and experience, but whether they think you’ll fit in with the environment and team
  • Try to develop rapport with your interviewer. Listen to what they say and pick up on common ground.

Take note of these points:

  • A firm, solid handshake
  • Eye contact should be maintained at all times
  • Don’t digress, stick to the point and avoid jargon
  • Don’t fidget. Watch the interviewer’s body language, try and mirror theirs

Key Questions You Could be Asked

  • Tell me about yourself?
  • Why are you interested in this particular role?
  • What motivates you?
  • How would your work colleagues/manager describe you?
  • Have there been instances where you have had to manage or supervise others? How did you cope with this? Give examples.
  • In what areas have you achieved the greatest success? Why?
  • What are your reasons for wanting to leave your last/present job?
  • What are you looking for in a company?
  • What are your salary expectations at the moment?
  • What do you see as your best qualities?
  • Apart from knowledge or experience, what traits do you feel could be improved upon?
  • What is the toughest decision you have had to make while at your present/last company?

What Questions Should You Ask?

A lack of questions may be mistaken as a lack of interest. It is okay to take notes at the interview. The interviewer will provide you with lots of information about the job opportunity and the company. You will need this to make your decision later. Rehearse these questions in your mind before the interview:

  • What would I be expected to accomplish in this position?
  • What are the key performance indicators (KPIs)?
  • What are your expectations for the first 3 months?
  • What are the greatest challenges in this position?
  • How do you think I fit the position?
  • What is the reporting structure within the company?
  • What is the vision of the company?
  • Could you tell me a little about the company culture?
  • What sort of opportunity is there for advancement within the company?
  • What are the opportunities for future training and development in the company?
  • What would the next stage in the interview process be?

Critical Dos and Don’ts

During the interview, the employer will be evaluating your negative factors as well as your positive attributes. Make sure you arrive 10 minutes early (you may have to sign in or go through security). Do not arrive earlier than this unless requested. Ensure you are well groomed, appropriately dressed. Be enthusiastic. Some of the Do’s and Don’ts to consider

  • Do fill out the application form neatly and completely, if asked to do so. Don’t rely on your CV.
  • Do greet the interviewer by last name. Give the appearance of a genuine, interested and happy candidate.
  • Do sit upright, look alert and interested at all times, do not fidget or squirm, and most importantly… maintain eye contact.
  • Do follow the interviewer’s leads. Try to get the interviewer to describe the position and duties to you early in the interview. If you don’t understand something then ask the interviewer to reiterate the point.
  • Do make sure that your good points come across. Sell yourself. Stress your achievements and provide details.
  • Do show your personality; however do not let it take over. Show warmth and honesty so that the interviewer feels comfortable with you.
  • Do bring a copy of your resume!
  • Don’t answer “yes” or “no”. Explain, speak up and don’t mumble.
  • Don’t lie or hide the truth. It is okay to have made mistakes in the past as long as you are up front about it.
  • Don’t make unnecessary derogatory remarks about your present or former employers. When explaining your reasons for leaving, limit your comments. Don’t get personal or overly negative.
  • Do avoid politics or controversial issues.
  • Don’t enquire about or discuss salary, holidays, bonuses, or retirement. Sidestep the issue. You’re more interested in the opportunity than in a specific salary. Negotiate your salary package after you receive an offer or if via an agency then your recruitment agent will take care of all these details.

Closing the Interview and Follow-Up

Towards the end of the interview is the most appropriate time for you to ask questions regarding the position and the company. IF YOU HAVE MANY QUESTIONS TO ASK THEN WRITE THEM DOWN BEFOREHAND IN A NOTEPAD AND DO NOT BE AFRAID TO REFER TO IT. Some points to consider:

  • If you are interested in the position, let the interviewer know and explain why you are interested.
  • Find out the next step of the interview process.
  • Be sure to close the interview with positive reaffirmation of your interest.
  • Always end the interview with a firm handshake.
  • Thank the interviewer for their time.

After the Interview

Most importantly, call your Recruitment Consultant immediately after the interview and provide as much feedback as possible. We need to talk with you before the interviewer calls back. It will assist us if we know your feelings about the position, together with your perception of what the client’s reaction is likely to be.

After the interview, review your notes and jot down all the pluses and minuses of the role and the company. We will assist you in answering all those “I should have asked that at the interview” questions.

Follow-Up

If you are really keen on the job opportunity it can be a good idea to follow up with an email to the interviewer (only if it’s a direct interview and not through an Agency. If it is through an agency then your Consultant will pass on your positive comments) thanking him/her for their time reinforcing your relevant strengths and restating your interest in the company and the position. Send the letter the same day. The interviewer will be impressed by your efficiency and fast paced approach. It will also help to set you apart from the other applicants. Call your Recruitment Consultant every few days to check on the status of your application.

GOOD LUCK!!!