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Jobsearch Interview Tips

Interviews come in many different formats, yet there purpose is always the same, getting the best person for the job.  They are always stressful, even for jobseekers who have had countless interviews and the best way to reduce stress is be prepared.

Before you attend an interview make sure that the position you are applying for is one that suits your experience and qualifications. Taking the wrong job with the wrong company can have a huge impact both on you and your employer. It is alright to change your mind. Better you do it now than after you have been offered the job or once you have taken up the post.

A traditional interview involves a series of questions being asked by the interviewer or interview panel. However, part of the interview may also involve a presentation or discussion on a topic that will have been requested in advance.

Preparing for your interview

To give yourself the best opportunity of suceeding at interview you should prepare thoroughly. An interview is your chance to shine and show what you are capable of and it’s the last hurdle in your quest  for a new job. Here are a few pointers to assist you.

  • Make sure that you do your research.
  • Visit the companies website.
  • Make sure you have a copy of the job specification and read it in depth before you attend the interview
  • Refresh your memory prior to the interview by reviewing your resume, so you can speak about your prior work history in detail and accurately.
  • If you don’t have a resume, make sure what you tell the interviewer matches what you filled out on your job application form. Taking a copy of the application form or making notes at the point of application may assist in this area.
  • Always dress in a professional manner.
  • Arrive in plenty of time – DON’T BE LATE – if you are delayed for any reason make sure you have the contact details and notify both the agency and the company immediately.
  • If you do smoke don’t have one just before you walk in. Mints etc don’t cover it up. Leave your gum in the bin outside.
  • Take a folder with a copy of your CV and any relevant certificates and qualifications relevant to the position you are applying for.
  • If you have references from previous employers take these with you.
  • Prepare a list of questions you would like to ask.
  • Upon arrival and during the interview

  • Turn off your mobile.
  • Smile it suggests confidence.
  • Give a firm handshake to each interviewer.
  • Don’t slouch, sit comfortably, sit erectly but don’t sit stiffly.
  • Have eye contact with each interviewer don’t just focus on the person asking the question.
  • Be attentive, listen to each question carefully and don’t interrupt.
  • Avoid slang.
  • Use positive words.
  • Make hand gestures to emphasise important points.
  • If you are not sure what is being asked, politely request that the question be repeated.
  • Don’t argue with the interviewer/s. 
  •  First impressions are lasting impressions, you only get one chance to make a good first impression. DONT WASTE IT!

    Typical questions you may be asked

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Talk me through your cv and your responsibilities.
  • What major challenges and problems did you face and how did you handle them.
  • What are your goals for the future.
  • What is your greatest strength/weakness.
  • Why do you want this job and what do you know about the company.
  • How do you handle stress and pressure.
  • How do you organise and priortise your workload.
  • Why should we hire you.
  • Why are you looking for a new job.
  • Why did you resign or leave your previous job.
  • What have you been doing since your last job.
  • What do you like and dislike about your present and previous roles.
  • Where do you see yourself in the future.
  • Do you feel you work better in a small or large team and why.
  • Are you considering any other positions at the moment.
  • Are you competitive.
  • Can you act on your own initiative.
  • What motivates you.
  • What’s the biggest mistake you have made in your current/previous position?
  • Typical questions for you to ask

  • What do you think the major challenges for the post-holder are?
  • How will success be judged in this role?
  • What are the key things you are looking for?
  • What is it like to work here?
  • What type of training opportunity can you offer?
  • In what way is performance measured and reviewed?
  • Is there a chance for promotion in the future?
  • Do you have any questions or concerns about my ability to perform this job?
  • When key people leave the company, why do they leave and where do they usually go?
  • Where do I fit into the organisational structure?
  • When will you let me know the outcome of the interview?
  • At the end of the interview

  • The interviewer/s should let you know when a decision will be made and how you will be notified. If they do not, you should ask.
  • They will often ask if you have any questions for them. This is your opportunity to show you have thought about the job and organisation and to get clarity about anything you are unclear about. Don’t just ask about holidays and perks, this doesn’t leave a good impression and don’t introduce the issue of salary unless they bring it up.
  • At the end of the interview be polite, thank them for the opportunity to meet with them and for their time and consideration. Convey the impression that you really want the job and that you look forward to hearing from them.

    Interview evaluation

  • Write down the questions you were asked and review your response, what would you have worded or answered differently and what would be a more appropriate answer.
  • Review your behaviour during the interview. Were you restless? Did you smile? Did you use hand gestures? Make a note of all the things you feel  you made a mistake with, this will help you with future interviews.

    What should happen next

  • If you are offered the job – congratulations.
  • Normally references will be taken up, you may need to notify your referees.
  • Confirm when the letter of offer will be sent to you.
  • DO NOT HAND YOUR NOTICE IN UNTIL YOU HAVE RECEIVED THIS IN WRITING.

    Getting feedback

  • If you do not succeed in being offered the job don’t be downhearted, you should congratulate yourself on getting an interview there will be other opportunities perhaps even better ones. Remember every interview is an opportuntiy to improve your technique and improve your chances of being successful in the future.
  • Try to find out why you were not appointed,  the feedback may assist you with your next interview.
  • Reflect upon and evaluate your own performance, what could you have done differently? 
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