Preparation is the first essential step towards a successful interview. The better prepared you are, the more confident you'll be. Therefore, you will have a greater chance of interview success. Here we offer advice on how you can ace your next interview.
Make sure you know the interviewer's correct title and pronunciation of his or her full name. Know specific facts about the company - its history, financial position, competitors, products and services. Research the company's website in full. Research facts and figures about your present or former employer. Refresh your memory on this as you will be expected to know a lot about a company for which you have previously worked.
Prepare some questions to ask the interviewer. Remember that an interview is a two way street. The interviewer will try to determine through questioning whether you are the right person for a specific job. Likewise, you must determine through questioning whether this potential employer will provide the opportunity for career development that you seek.
Do’s and Don’ts
During the interview, you will be assessed for your strengths and weaknesses. In addition, specific personal characteristics will be examined, such as attitude, aptitude, stability, motivation and maturity. Here are some interview do's and don'ts:
- DO greet the interviewer by his or her title and surname. If you are not sure of the name/pronunciation, ask the interviewer to repeat it.
- DO wait until you are offered a chair before sitting. Sit upright in your chair and look alert and interested at all times.
- DO be as charismatic as possible; it is very important that you demonstrate your interpersonal skills during the interview.
- DO be a good listener as well as a good talker.
- DO make sure that your good points get across to the interviewer in a concise, factual and sincere manner. Waffle will get you nowhere. Bear in mind that only you can sell yourself and make the interviewer aware of the benefits that you can offer to the organisation.
- DO always conduct yourself as if you are determined to get the job you are discussing. Never close the door on opportunity. It is better to be in a position where you can choose from a number of offers - rather than only one.
- DON'T answer questions with a simple 'yes' or 'no'. Explain yourself whenever possible. Describe those things about yourself that relate to the position on offer.
- DON'T lie. Answer questions truthfully, frankly and as close to the point as possible.
- DON'T make derogatory remarks about your present or former employers.
- DON'T enquire about salary, holidays, bonuses etc. at the initial interview unless you are positive that the interviewer wants to hire you. You should however, know your market value and be prepared to specify your required salary or range.
Closing the interview
If you are interested in the position enquire about the next interview stage. If the interviewer offers the position to you and you want it, accept on the spot. If you wish for some time to think it over, be courteous and tactful in asking for that time. Set a definite date on which you can provide an answer. Don't be too discouraged if no definite offer is made nor a specific salary discussed. The interviewer will probably want to consult colleagues or interview other candidates (or both) before making a decision.
If you get the impression that the interview is not going very well and you have already been rejected, don't let your discouragement show. Once in a while an interviewer who is genuinely interested in your possibilities may intend to discourage you in order to test your reaction. Thank the interviewer for their time.
After the interview
Lastly, and most importantly, call your consultant immediately after the interview to explain what happened. The consultant will want to speak with you before the interviewer calls.
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