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Preparing for interviews

Preparing for interviews
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by
Senior Recruitment Consultant

As some say, failure to prepare is preparing to fail...

“If you have good thoughts, they will shine out of your face. Like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” – Roald Dahl

Interviews; they can be daunting and scary. However, an interview really is an excellent opportunity for you to make an employer see you as their next employee. The idea at this stage is to create an image of yourself that is irresistible to an organisation. How do you do that…?

Firstly, preparation. Like revising for a test, get some facts in your artillery to really impress. It also helps understand the company. If you have a copy of the job specification, this is your guide to the sort of answers you need to give. Essentially it is an order form; study it before you go and also prepare questions for the employer.

Next, your appearance; as smart as you can possibly go. In this instance, there's no such thing as over dressing. You want to stand out for all the right reasons and wearing a suit is an excellent way to do this. However, it's important to ensure that you're comfortable in what you wear; you need to feel at ease - clothes that don't fit well can impact this. Make sure you try on clothes well before the day of the interview - it'll help with confidence. If you look the part, you'll FEEL the part.

Timing is also critical. Turn up 15 to 30 minutes early as this is another chance to shine. If you're sitting in a reception, try and make a favourable impression on as many people as possible. A receptionist can support your case for a role, and they may be asked their opinions. Manners are essential throughout an interview. People want to work with great people, and your personality will help you get the role you desire. If in a waiting areas, try not to sit fixed upon your mobile phone. Take an interest in your surroundings; people will watch you from the moment you enter a building.

The old adage goes, “First impressions count”, and they really DO...they can set the tone for the whole interview. Saying, “Thank you so much for meeting me” puts everyone at ease, along with the traditional firm (but friendly) handshake.

Throughout the interview you must remain positive and passionate. You're being envisioned as someone who will be in the same workplace as existing employees and a positive attitude is an amazing attribute to bring to the workplace. Some employers would rather have a super personality rather than a candidate who has a wealth of experience. Ideally, we want both.

Remember that job spec you learnt? Use key words in your answers. This is a trick for someone to get excited about you. They want to find a solution, and you have the ability to be that solution. Stay calm and let that passion come out. Think about what you say, and always stay positive and passionate. Don’t be afraid to use hand gestures to let that passion pour out of you.

When the opportunity comes up to ask questions, take the chance to show more of that passion and enthusiasm for the role. Always ask questions about the position as it stands. The organisation is doing the recruiting and they may want someone in situ  for the long term. Try not to talk about progression in a way which will make the company believe you're not in it for the duration. Questions about money, holidays and benefits is a taboo; these can all be asked when you secure the role.

The salary question is almost bound to appear; the suggestion here is to let the company know that it is more about the opportunity. Everyone already understands what the role is paying. Again, you want to be successful in securing it, THEN you can negotiate. If someone says a figure in line in with what they are paying, it's more impressive to say that money is of LESS importance as the role is the "perfect opportunity" for you. It sounds like poetry to someone who is looking for that driven and enthusiastic candidate.

Finally, the goodbye. Again, a firm handshake and another opportunity for you to show enthusiasm for the role. “Thank you so much for seeing me, I could really see myself working here”...is a good exit statement...

...make those sunbeams flow from your face!