The interview will be the primary method of selection for the majority of positions we recruit. Below are some suggestions that, together with guidance from our staff, may help you to improve your interview performance for the greatest chance of success.
What is a potential employer commonly trying to assess?
In every interview, no matter how junior or senior the position, the interviewer will likely be probing for the answers to three basic questions:
- Can you do the job well? (Your skills, qualifications, experience)
- Will you do the job? (Your motivation, attitudes and career goals)
- Will you fit into the team? (Your cultural match)
The better prepared you are, the more relaxed and comfortable you will be when the interview questions begin.
Developing an understanding of the business before the meeting can be a vital component of securing a role. Handy information can often be found from the company website, annual reports, and a simple internet search. LinkedIn is another valuable tool but don’t be tempted to send a LinkedIn connection or Facebook friend request to your interviewer!
It is common for one of the first interview questions to be “what do you know about our us?”.
It is also valuable to spend some time reviewing your own CV and have a clear understanding of how the key responsibilities and achievements of your prospective role link to your previous employment.
Focus on the skills you believe offer most value to your prospective employer. Whenever possible, relate your skills and experience to the role requirements and always have practical examples ready to support your statements. Be aware, particularly for senior candidates, there can be an idea that “my experience or results speak for themselves”. Remember that job interviews are a competitive process, so give yourself the best chance by explaining not only what was achieved but how you made it happen.
Review some probable answers to likely questions in the interview. Provide answers that are tailored to the position and paint a picture of you as being positive and with the potential to add value. It is also essential that you prepare your own questions so that, not only can you be sure that this is the right opportunity for you but also so that you can demonstrate you are particular in regard to the opportunity you are looking for.
Always treat the interview as a two-way discussion and answer questions honestly, directly and keep to the point. Everyone present will be focusing their attention on you, so clouding your answer with jargon or evading the issue will be more obvious than you think. If you are not certain about a particular question, do not be afraid to ask if it can be rephrased. Listen, never interrupt and answer only what is asked.
The little things
- Presentation can have a large influence on first impressions. Always attend an interview in corporate attire and if in doubt always err on the side of more formal as opposed to underdressed.
- Be clear about the exact time, date and location of the interview as well as who you are meeting and be there five to ten minutes before the interview.
- Listen as well as talk. This will give you valuable clues as to the responses required. Wait for the question to be concluded before commencing your response.
- Be aware of your body language. Interviewers will pick up on a lack of congruence between what your mouth your body are saying.
- Answer questions informatively but briefly. Never embellish the truth but don’t be afraid to sell your skills and accomplishments.
- Avoid negativity in statements and body language. Interviewers look for positive, likable people and any persistent negative characteristics such as a lack of interest, enthusiasm or purpose regarding your career will reflect poorly.
End of the interview
At the end of your interview, smile and thank the people involved for their time. While decisions and job offers are usually made some time after the interview(s), so it would not be appropriate to ask for an assessment of your performance.