Know your CV
You must be familiar with your own CV and know what you have written! You will be asked about your past positions, what you did, what you liked, what you didn’t like and why you left. Read over your CV and refresh your memory of past roles and companies. How has your past qualified you for the job you are being interviewed for?
It is important that you have done your homework! Have a look at the company’s website at the very least. Do a web search. Ask your agency for more information. Ask friends and family if they know about the company you have applied for.
Prepare some questions prepared to ask the company… remember an interview is a two-way process, they are interviewing you to see if you are the best person for their job; you are interviewing them to see if they are the right company / job for you. Really good questions make a great impression.
Possible topic for questions:
- Any question that shows you have done your research
- What projects the organisation is planning to develop
- Where the company is aiming to be in the next five years
- How many employees there are currently
- Staff turnover
- Career progression
- Training opportunities
- Where they see your position going in the future
- What the culture of the company is like
- You could ask if you could meet other members of the team
- Ask if you can see the offices that you may be working in, this will help you to determine if this is the right environment for you, it will also show the interviewer you are keen on the company.
- Ask what the next step is in their recruitment process and when you are likely to hear back from them.
- If you feel brave enough, ask how the interviewer felt the interview went.
Your CV has sold you into the company to an extent, but remember your appearance at the interview will have a major influence on the interviewer’s decision. You should ensure you are neatly presented, clean shaven with clean hair and dressed smartly/appropriately. Remove any chewing gum you may have before interview.
It is advisable to wear a dark coloured suit. If you do not own a suit, or you have been told that a suit is not necessary, it is advisable to wear dark trousers and a shirt, blouse/ smart top.
Body language is easily read and interviewers are trained to read you like a book. They can tell when you are lying. Slouching and staring dreamily at the ceiling suggest you are bored, crossed arms are defensive; avoiding eye contact suggests you are lying or uninterested.
It is important to make eye contact with the interviewer/s. This is obviously difficult if there are more than one or two, but remember to look at each person equally.
Use you hands to communicate and whenever possible smile.
Running late? Cancelling?
If you are running late contact your agency or the potential employer directly to let them know. If you wish to cancel the interview call the agency or the potential employer ASAP. Never just fail to turn up. This will affect your opportunities in the future and many employment agencies will blacklist you if you fail to show.
- Make sure you arrive for the interview with at least 5 minutes to spare so that you can catch you breath and calm any nerves.
- Make eye contact – talk to your interviewer/s not the ceiling, floor, wall or window.
- Sit up and smile when appropriate.
- Ask appropriate questions.
- Do not chew gum.
- Try not to cross your arms - this is defensive.
- Do not slouch - this suggests you are bored.
- Do not lie... interviewers are trained to read body language.
- Do not do your weekly shop before the interview. Do not take any shopping bags with you.
There are some interview questions that you may well be asked:
Where do you see yourself in 2-5 year’s time?
It is important at this stage not to appear as though you wish to take over the world, or the interviewer’s job. But it can also be important not to give the impression that you have no desire to grow. Confidence is good but be sure to be able to back up any statements about your skills – with examples.
Strengths and weaknesses
Strengths are generally easy, but make sure you relate your strengths to the role you are being interviewed for. No one much likes to admit their weaknesses, but remember we all have them… Weaknesses should be characteristics that you have managed to overcome, for example, “I often find it hard to remember what I should do and in what order; in this instance I write myself a list of the things that I must do and try to work to priorities.”