Interview Hints

The short time you spend at a job interview can have a dramatic impact on your career prospects. The old cliché is true – ‘you only get one chance to make a first impression’ and you want it to be a good one! No matter how impressive your résumé is to date, poor performance at an interview may limit your chances of fulfilling your career goals.

An interview provides an opportunity for you to sell yourself, to expand upon what you’ve said in your CV and to demonstrate to the interviewer exactly why you are the best person for the role. The following hints, together with the guidance provided by our consultants, will help you to improve your interview performance.

Preparation

Preparation is the key element of a successful interview. It is important to:

  • Know the exact place and time of the interview, the interviewer's name, correct pronunciation and his/her title.
  • Pay extra attention to your personal presentation. If in doubt, dress conservatively (blue, black or grey if possible), avoiding loud ties, bright socks, etc.
  • Investigate specific facts about the company, such as size, products and services, locations, etc. Interviewers look for interested, proactive candidates.
  • Review your résumé to identify key skills, responsibilities and achievements with current and past employers. Refresh your memory on the facts and figures of your present/former employers.
  • Prepare the questions that you will ask during the interview, e.g. reason for the vacancy, job description, culture of the company.
  • Review your probable answers to likely questions in the interview. Be prepared for difficult questions, e.g. What do you know about the company? Why do you want to work here? What is your preferred management style?

You should also be prepared for targeted questions that address specific situations, behaviours and competencies. Ensure that you thoroughly understand the job description, as this will enable you to consider the competencies that the employer will be looking for in this job and demonstrate how you meet them.

During the interview

An interview is a 'two-way street' where the employer seeks to determine whether you have the right skills for the job and, similarly, you must determine whether the company will provide you with the opportunities you seek.

Do's

  • Plan to arrive on time or a few minutes early. Being late for a job interview is inexcusable.
  • Greet the interviewer by his/her name.
  • Shake hands firmly. Smile.
  • Wait until you are offered a chair before sitting. Be sure to sit upright, look alert and interested at all times.
  • Maintain natural eye contact.
  • Body language - let your manner demonstrate your interest in the discussion.
  • Make your points to the interviewer in a factual, sincere manner. Keep in mind that you alone can sell yourself to an interviewer. Ensure that you ask meaningful questions about the position and the organisation.
  • Be prepared to specify your required remuneration. You should know your market value.
  • Show interest and enthusiasm. Express your thoughts clearly.
  • Have a plan for your career - purpose and goals.

As a rule, you should always conduct yourself as if you are determined to get the job. Never close the door on an opportunity. It is better to be in a position to choose from a number of roles, rather than only one!

Dont's

  • Be late for a job interview.
  • Be overbearing, aggressive, conceited, or have a superiority complex.
  • Use poor diction and grammar.
  • Smoke even if the interviewer smokes or offers you a cigarette.
  • Answer questions with a simple 'yes' or 'no'. Provide examples wherever possible. Be careful not to 'over answer' the question.
  • Lie! Answer questions truthfully, frankly and succinctly.

Never make derogatory remarks about your present or former employers.

Closing the Interview

If you are interested in the position, say so! If you are offered the position and you want it, accept it on the spot. If you would like some time to think it over, be courteous and tactful in asking for that time. Set a definite timeframe in which you will respond.

Don't be too discouraged if no definite offer is made, or specific salary discussed. The interviewer may need to communicate with others, or interview more applicants, prior to making a decision.

Thank the interviewer for his/her time and consideration of you. Ask yourself if you have answered the following questions to the best of your ability. If your answer is 'yes' then you have done all you can:

  • Why are you interested in the position and the company?
  • What can you offer and can you do the job?

After the Interview

Call your Ardus Consultant immediately to discuss the interview. He or she will want to speak with you before the interviewer calls him or her back. If you are interested in progressing, it will help if your feelings towards the position are known, together with your perception of what the client's reaction is likely to be.

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