Job Interview Tips – What To Do Before And During The Interview

Before The Job Interview:

• Research the organization and find out as much as you can.

• As an interview panel member the least I expect is that the candidate has background knowledge of my organization. Failure to do so will put you in a negative light and will show you do not have much interest in the vacancy – even if you are interested. So get ahead of other candidates by doing this.

• Doing this type of preparation will give you a good idea of the organization, its culture and the markets it services. From this point you have a better understanding of your future potential employer.

• You will have scrutinized the job application form and the essential and desirable criteria for the post. From these documents you can develop and prepare possible questions and the answers to these. (Please see the samples of job interview questions and the answers page for more help)

• Dress to impress at the interview stage. Ensure that you dress conservatively, professionally and your clothes are dry-cleaned. With regards to your hair ensure you are well groomed, you hair brushed and/or styled in a business like way. Don’t let your dress sense, no matter what your style, be the center of attention. I must stress that you must dress appropriately for your interview. Enough said. We have many more Job Interview Articles Now Available.

• Refrain from smoking tobacco and cigars before entering your interview. I appreciate that it helps some people, nevertheless my experience has shown me that it can be smelt by the interviewers and is not good!

• I suggest a smart navy or grey suit for the interview as the most generally used piece of attire. They are simple, smart, clean and business like. Just the way we interviewers like it.

• Arrange to have a number of documents available for your interview. If you have a presentation a really good piece of advice is to copy your presentation for the interview panel on a Word document with space for them to take notes. Prior to the presentation hand them each a copy. It shows you really have made an effort to impress them. Also include additional copies of your resume/CV, referee reports, and anything else you may want to bring with you.

• For those of you who may consider bringing a note or legal pad with you to take notes -whilst this is not illegal please don’t do it! It only makes the interviewers very uncomfortable and will cast doubts about your motives.

During your Interview:

• It is important to give yourself as much time as possible to arrive at the interview venue. Be there at least 10 to 20 minutes early. Our busy schedules mean that roads are busy and trains and buses run late so prepare well in advance and if needs be, do a dry run a couple of days earlier to gauge the traffic etc.

• Be professional at all times. Be polite, courteous and well mannered. You may be nervous but this is no excuse to abrupt or rude to anyone, regardless of whom they are. Remember these could be future colleagues so don’t let yourself down.

• If you carry a mobile phone, turn it off before you enter the interview room to be sure it does not ring.

• Let the interviewer ask you the questions and pause and think of what your answer will be before you respond. Like any interview sometimes we tend to hear only a part of a question due to a certain degree of nervousness. That said it is not a good idea to interrupt the interviewer, even if you are eager to answer the question.

• Always be conscious of your body language – It is important to maintain eye contact with all panel members but do not stare at them! Be aware of twitching with your ear, putting your hands towards your mouth and crossing your arms. These are classical defensive non-verbal cues that an interviewer will pick up in a second. So try and avoid these at all costs.

• By all means show enthusiasm and gesticulate with your hands to emphasize your salient points. This shows the panel that you have passion about the subject matter.

• Give yourself enough space between you and the interviewer. Too close and the interviewer will back off because you are invading their space. Too far and you will have to shout your answers. Your posture should be upright but comfortable, avoid twitching and leaning back in your seat.

• You must be enthusiastic, self-confident and self-assured. Arrogance is not a trait you want to portray. There is a fine line between over-confidence and arrogance so do not try too hard to the panel how wonderful you are and what they would be missing if they didn’t employ you. Keep it real. Tell the panel of your experiences, your attributes and your capabilities and you will win the day.

• In relation to past employers keep it professional and positive. Any negative feedback about a past employer may not go down too well at this point. Why? Because those people in front of you could be your future employer! (Please see the samples of job interview questions and the answers page for more help)

• The one piece of advice I give to all interview candidates is to listen to the question very carefully. Sometimes questions are asked in two or even three parts so please listen attentively. Take the time to gather your thoughts in order that you provide the panel with the most comprehensive answer you can give. If you don’t understand the question, ask the panel to rephrase it or to clarify it further for you. This is OK to do and it gives you a bit of breathing space to gather your thoughts.

• If you have any questions of your own do this at the end of your interview.

• If you are unsure of what next steps to take ask the interview panel and the end of the interview. One of the most common questions I have been asked is ‘When will I be likely to hear the outcome?’ Just ask. It’s expected of you. Thank the interviewer for their time at the end of the interview.

• I have seen a number of theories around offering a handshake to the interviewer. My suggestion would be that if the interviewer offers you a firm handshake, by all means reciprocate, make eye contact and respond with a confident smile. On the other hand if it is not offered, don’t worry about offering a handshake first, if at all. Thank the panel again and leave the interview with grace and confidence. We have many more Job Interview Articles Now Available.

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