TAG | interview tips
So, you’ve secured an interview for your dream job! How do you guarantee that you perform your best during the meeting?
Being selected to interview with a company is not a test. It is the opportunity for the employer to find out more about your experience, skill set and personality; also for you to find out if this is the right role for you. It is essential that you take some time to prepare and practise, so that you can demonstrate why you are the most suitable candidate.
1. Be prepared
Re-read your CV and the job description before the interview, so you have a clear idea of the role, responsibilities and the type of person they are looking for. Research the company thoroughly and learn about their corporate vision, successes, competitors and regional/global coverage. Also be aware of their recent events/news.
2. First impressions count
Dress appropriately; smile and shake hands firmly with your interviewer. Make polite conversation and remember eye contact is important.
3. Be clear and specific with your answers
Do not simply read through your entire resume, give a snapshot of your experience and significant achievements. Highlight your experience that is most relevant to the role that you are applying for. Be prepared to talk about your strengths and weakness and answer questions clearly and specifically.
4. Why are you the best person for the job?
You need to demonstrate that you have the qualities or transferable skills they are seeking. Be prepared to share your experience, abilities and skills. Also explain why you are interested in joining the company.
5. Be positive
Employers will be wondering about your ability to work as part of a team so refrain from talking negatively about your current/previous manager or colleagues. Employers are looking for motivated professionals who are looking for a challenge.
6. Remember your body language
Sit upright and try to maintain good eye contact. During the interview, do not fold your arms and lean back or look to the floor. Many people cannot think and control their body language at the same time, which is why you need to prepare.
7. Expect the unexpected
Your interviewer may try to catch you off guard. It is impossible to plan for every difficult question, such as “How would your manager describe you?” but try to appear relaxed and in control. Ask the interviewer to repeat the question if necessary but do not evade it.
If you are unsure of a particular question, or what you’re interviewer is asking you, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification.
9. Ask questions
This is also your chance to ensure that you have a clear idea of the role, the team, career progression for the role, training provided and culture. Leave the meeting with a clear decision as to whether this is the right job for you.
10. Get a good night’s sleep
Be as relaxed as possible on the day by having a good night’s sleep the night before. Plan your journey in advance and aim to arrive at your destination at least 10 minutes early.
Best of luck for your interview! For more tips please ask us for our interview guide.
Hello world! Mr Damian ‘Darwin’ Rhodes has set a high benchmark with his first blog post and it’s a hard act to follow. Congratulations to him and his lovely fiancé, according to an unnamed source she is ‘human after all’.
Recently, a close friend of mine asked me for interview advice, as he is starting a new job search. As we all know, nailing the interview is the key factor to making a positive career move.
It got me thinking about the Will Smith movie ‘The Pursuit Of Happyness’, a film which shows the value of determination and hard work. There is a great scene in the movie where Will Smith’s character, Chris Gardner interviews for an internship. (If you haven’t seen it, look it up now on Youtube!) His situation leading up to the interview is not an ideal one, however (SPOILER ALERT) based on this interview and his character, he gets the job.
Preparation – As well as researching the company, learn more about the individual(s) you will meet. Use the many tools available to prepare, eg LinkedIn, Google, Facebook, or talk to staff or ex-staff of that company. Even though Chris Gardner has no relevant experience in finance, through research, self-study and networking he has put himself in the best position to get the job.
Be yourself – If you try to be somebody you are not, it may come across badly. An interview is a two-way process; it’s a chance for you to learn more about a potential employer. So if there is no chemistry, perhaps that position is not the one for you. Chris is extremely earnest and honest about who he is, ultimately this is a key reason why he is hired.
Build rapport – When Chris enters the room, he takes the effort to go around to each interviewer and greet them indvidually with a handshake. Throughout the interview he also makes sure that he addresses each individual in the room. Establish rapport early, and you will grab the interviewers’ attention.
Tell the truth – Candidates sometimes feel like they need to bend the truth with regards to their experience and achievements. This can come back to hurt you later on down the track. When Chris gets asked about his poor appearance he considers making up a story but instead he tells the truth about his bad luck that day. Many of you wouldn’t tell your future employer that you’ve just been arrested before an interview, but I’ll leave it to your judgement!
Take control – At one point in the interview, Chris feels his chance slipping as his education and credentials are questioned. He recovers by telling them about the qualities that will make him successful in the job.
Think on your feet – Expect the unexpected. When Chris gets asked, “What would you say if a guy walked in for an interview without a shirt on, and I hired him?”, his response is natural, humorous and very appropriate given the situation (refer to the title of this blog post!). Go with the flow and be prepared to answer non-routine questions.
Passion, persistence and practice – Chris has a personality that displays genuine passion and persistence. He arrived unannounced for a whole month just to get his foot in the door, passion = interest in the eyes of potential employers. It’s also important that you practice your interview technique; practice does make perfect.
Close the interview – If appropriate, ask the interviewer for their feedback and understand the next steps in the interview process. Be sure to re-confirm your interest in the role, and send a short thank-you note after the interview.
I do hope that job seekers will find the above useful.
Until next time!
“Will you marry me?”
After what seemed like a lifetime (although in reality was about five seconds) she said, “yes.”
A couple of weeks ago I proposed to my girlfriend and despite the few awkward seconds before she replied, I was confident that this offer would be accepted because of the very thorough recruitment process I carried out:
Referrals: We were introduced by a third party (some friends at a barbecue). This was important as I was also able to speak to them to get references and background checks.
The vacancy: I was not actively looking to recruit when I met my future fiancée, I was quite happy to be single. However I was open to introductions and if someone came along who met my strict criteria then I was happy to create a vacancy.
Initial screening: As part of my initial due diligence I had to ensure that there was nothing that would immediately disqualify the candidate, eg the possession of a wedding ring, criminal record or Man United season ticket.
Tell the truth: On the first meeting with this woman, I did not tell her my deepest, darkest secrets (I am an Arsenal fan and have every Clash album ever produced). I decided to be discrete at our first meeting but it was important that I did not lie about these things either. If I had claimed to support a team that that actually wins trophies or that I was cool then she would have soon seen through these lies at a later stage and I would have lost all credibility.
Is the candidate qualified? There are certain important qualifications in any potential wife. For me, it was someone cute, intelligent and fun to be with. If during our first meeting I realized that she wasn’t qualified, then I would have had a duty as an interviewer to firmly but politely reject her at the first opportunity.
Two-way process: Whilst I was meeting up with the candidate, I was aware that not only was I interviewing her for the position but that she would also be conducting her own assessment. It is not a one way process. If I had decided on the interview technique of making the candidate feel nervous, then not only would she have not continued with the interview process but the brand ‘Damian Rhodes’ would have been in ruins.
Manage expectations: If at any time during the selection process I had claimed to speak fluent Cantonese then she would soon be disappointed when the conversation moved away from, ‘you are beautiful’, ‘where is the MTR?’ and ‘turn left please’. It is very important that neither the recruiter nor the candidate exaggerates or over-sells in any way.
Regular contact: During this recruitment process we stayed in regular contact: this is about balance – too many calls or emails can be off putting too.
Intuition: An important part of recruitment comes down to intuition – will I wish to spend a lot of my time with this person? Synergies in terms of attitude, ethics and values cannot be gleaned from a CV alone.
Offer and acceptance: Before making the offer, I ensured that I had carried out my research, had sufficient meetings with the candidate, built up strong rapport and therefore was confident of the outcome.
All we need to do now is agree on the start date.