An Interview is essentially a competition and there is no second prize! Before you can win any competition, you have to prepare! The more prepared you are, the easier it will be to cope with your nerves and be able to fully answer the questions.
The following steps will help you to prepare for your interview:
• Know your resume like the back of your hand! Be ready to answer questions about your life’s story (aka resume) and have clear, concise reasons why you left each role. The resume got you this far, now it’s how you handle the interview questions about your resume!
• Find out as much information as you can about the organisation and the position you have applied for. eg. What products and services the company offers, who are the competitors, the purpose of the advertised position.
• Find out about the job being offered. Determine the main focus, challenges, barriers, opportunities, task and responsibilities involved. Ensure you have a detailed job description of what you would be doing on a day to day basis in the job. Write down possible responses for questions you may think you will be asked and try to relate your response back to previous work experience.
• Focus on all your strengths and achievements that you have to offer the company. (See below for examples of questions).
• Make sure you know the address of the building and how long it will take you to get there. It always looks impressive to arrive 10-15 minutes early for your interview as this shows you are organized. If you are going to be late, contact the Company as soon as possible to let them know.
• Choose an outfit that is professional and presentable such as a suit or skirt and blouse. Make sure you are well groomed, paying attention to your fingernails, neat hair style, and a little makeup if you wear it. Best to be overdressed than too casual – you will never get a second chance to make a ‘first impression’.
• Don’t arrive with ‘baggage’. If you walk in carrying unnecessary items, you will give the wrong first impression. You only get one change to make a first impression. Make it a good one.
• Smile. Make eye contact. Have a firm handshake. Turn off your mobile phone.
• Interviewers frequently use ‘small talk’ to break the ice. Follow the Interviewers lead on this, but don’t initiate a lot of small talk yourself. This could set the wrong tone.
• Think about questions you would like to ask your interviewer as you may get the opportunity to ask about information that was not clarified whilst researching the company and position. (See below for example of questions).
• As the interview comes to a close, ask the interviewer to discuss the next steps in the selection process. Try and leave a lasting impression by summarising your skills and experience and why you think you would be the best candidate for the position. If you want the position, say so.
• Thank the interviewer for their time, smile, shake their hand and tell them you look forward to hearing from them in the near future.
The Telephone Interview
Telephone interviews are becoming increasingly common as a way of screening candidates for short list.
Use these interview tips to help you shine over the phone.
1. Prepare for the interview in the same way you would a face to face interview. Rehearse with a friend or family member then rehearse this time via the telephone.
2. Make sure you have a quiet place to do the interview and if at home, warn family members and keep animals out of the room. Make sure you get the interviewers correct name and then use it several times.
3. Have your resume handy to refer to. Also prepare written responses to the interview questions above to refer to.
4. Keep a job diary and have it ready to ask the caller about the position you have applied for. Refer to your diary.
5. Keep a pen and paper handy for you to take notes in case you have questions.
6. Turn call-waiting off so your call is not interrupted. Also, turn off your mobile.
7. Don’t chew gum, smoke, eat or drink. Do keep a glass of water handy, in case you need to wet your mouth.
8. Smiling while talking will help project a positive image to the listener and will change the tone of your voice. Speak slowly and enunciate clearly.
9. Very important – don’t interrupt the interviewer. Listen first and then respond (if required).
10. Thank the interviewer for his or her time and say you hope to meet them in person.
11. Don’t be afraid to ask what the procedure is from here. What is the next step for you?
12. Follow with a thank you note or email that reiterates your interest in the job.
Sample Interview Questions
Listed below are some sample questions that you may be asked during your interview.
• What do you know about the company?
• Why do you want to work for this company?
• Tell me about your work experience up until now. What did you do in your last position?
• Do you have any future studies in mind?
• What are your hobbies, interests?
• Why do you think you would be good at the position?
• Why did you leave your last position?
• What are your ambitions for the future?
• Have you had conflict at work and how did you deal with it?
• How will the company benefit by your participation at this workplace?
• What is your current career goal?
• What are your strengths and weaknesses as an employee?
• Where do you see yourself in 5 years time? When would you be available to start?
• Listed below are some sample questions you could ask the interviewer.
• If more information could be given on a particular aspect. Why is the position vacant?
• What are the departments’ goals for this year?
• Are there any prospects for advancement?
• How will the company contribute to my professional development?
• Is there further training available?
• If you were to offer me the job, where could I expect to be in 5 years?
• How much employee turnover is there?
• How many people would you be working with?
• What are the hours of work salary, parking facilities?