DURING THE INTERVIEW
This is the moment. All possible preparation and job advice you have recieved has been done and you have arrived on time and on the ball. Your name has been taken and you have filled out one of those visitors cards. Now you wait in the reception surrounded by free mints that you don't want to eat because your mouth is too dry and magazines that you don’t want to read because they might distract you from the impending interview. People walk into the reception and each time you raise your eyes or turn your head thinking they might call your name... but they don’t.
It can be a nerve-shredding experience but, of all the candidates, you are the most confident. You are fully prepared and you’re focusing on nothing but your CV, the possible questions they could ask and the answers you'd like to give. Your name is called and you stand up. All that remains between the job and you is the next half an hour, or thereabouts.
“I speak two languages: body and English” Mae West
- Do not underestimate the importance of body language and first impressions. Employers sometimes read hundreds of CVs before selecting the applicants that they will interview and, depending on the job, there are likely to be many candidates being interviewed, so making a strong, positive and lasting first impression is extremely important.
- Body language is a major factor in how you will come across to an interviewer. Smile, walk confidently into the room and shake hands with the interviewer while looking them in the eyes. Do not give a limp handshake; but equally don’t put them in a plaster cast either. Make sure you greet all of the interviewers if there are more than one and, if not told, ask where you should sit. More importantly is how you conduct yourself, no matter if there are three chairs or a sofa. Sit up straight but don’t be too imposing or rigid. Imagine sitting at a school desk with a straight backed chair.
- If you introduce yourself confidently and presented yourself as positive and personable then the interview has started well. This attitude should carry you through to the next stage. Remember to keep smiling and maintain eye contact when speaking to people. Such seemingly small things can make a world of difference.
THINK – what do they want to know about you in your job interview?
- Ultimately the interviewer will want to gauge who you are, what you know and do and how you might fit into their company. They don’t want someone useless but they also don’t want a know it all who could cause problems. Again, the happy medium is the road to take.
- ‘Can you work unaided?’ and ‘are you dependable?’ are questions an employer might ask, perhaps in a less direct way. No one is going to say no, one would hope, but it is not good enough to only say yes. Give examples and back up all your answers in a clear and confident manner. Remember, if you have done the right preparation then you will have already worked out how to answer any question thrown your way, within reason.
- Employers want you to be able to work at their company on time and on budget. In most cases they will want you to grow within the company and earn yourself and them money.
- Are you a team player? Can you become a leader? All of these questions require common sense answers and nothing overly complex. Imagine yourself as an interviewer who owned a company. What would you want to know from someone who will join your workforce?
- Confident, good examples of what you can bring to the company are the safest and best way to answer the questions put to you.
THINK – what you can show about yourself?
- This is the opportune moment to display talents and get the points across that make you the perfect candidate.
- Show your skills by answering clearly and confidently. If an employer sees you are able to handle the pressure of an interview they will translate this into how you will get along in the workplace.
- Be honest. In the CV section this is heavily stressed. Never lie about what your achievements are or how you will add to a company. If you are not a graphic designer don’t say that whilst you are writing budget reports you will also design the company website. If you don’t deliver and are found out to be lying no employer will hire you.
- Remember that whilst you are there to show off your skills, it is their company you want to work for. This is where all your research comes in. Be fully aware of their company structure and if possible their goals; demonstrating that you are aware of them and eager to work towards them is a great positive.
- Your past successes are very important. For those who have been employed for a long time this is undoubtedly easier. However, if you have just left school do not worry – all you need to do is translate them. A candidate has done the Duke of Edinburgh award; whilst this is not directly related to an career as a lawyer it does show teamwork and leadership skills, dedication and an interest. If you can relate your achievements to the work you will be doing for the company it will look impressive.
- Prepare some questions in advance that you may want to ask them. Don’t be too smart about it, but try and show that you have read up about the company and are thinking about what your role might involve.
- Lastly, remember that this is your moment and perhaps the only chance you will have. Do not let nerves or easily-avoided mistakes get in your way. Equally, don’t be too forceful and intimidate the interviewer or interviewers, but make sure you get the points across that you want to make.