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Interview Guide

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Interview Guide to Successful interviews

Before attending an interview, it is essential that you prepare yourself for what may be a challenging discussion. All too frequently candidates are ill prepared, have little knowledge of the prospective employer and are unable to present themselves in the best possible manner. They are then surprised when they receive a letter of rejection.

This guide provides brief details on what you should do to prepare yourself and how to look and act at interview. Should you require any further assistance, please contact your Consultant.

Effective Preparation - Know the Employer:

A common failing of many applicants is that they often have only a limited knowledge of the prospective employer. Do your homework and obtain details - this may come from company web sites, companies' marketing information and annual reports, national / local press articles and specialist trade press.

Try and familiarise yourself with:

  • The Company's turnover and size.

  • Details of services provided / products supplied.

  • Any current or planned projects.

  • Effective Preparation - Understand the Role

  • Review the Role Specification in detail and prepare in advance any questions you may have.

  • Review your Curriculum Vitae (CV) and compare the relevance of your experience with the Role Specification.

  • Identify where your experience fits and where there are possible deficiencies. Consider how any deficiencies can be overcome and how current experience can be best used in the role.

Effective Preparation - Be Armed with Questions

Prepare a list of questions in advance of the interview and be prepared to discuss them with the employer. Do not restrict your questions to the salary and benefits package available. This will not impress the employer and denies you the opportunity to consider whether the employer is right for you.

Effective Preparation - Be Prepared to Demonstrate your Experience

Consider how you can demonstrate the value you will bring to an organisation.

  • Create your full portfolio of experiences and be prepared to draw upon it. Remember your CV provides only brief details.

  • List your achievements.

  • Consider practical examples - what the benefits were to your previous employer and how the experience may be of benefit to the future employer. Ensure that you do not reveal commercially sensitive or confidential information.

  • Consider any shortfalls or gaps in your experience - how will you compensate for the lack of experience or qualifications that be considered necessary by the employer.

  • If you are attending a Panel interview, try and establish who will be there and their positions. This will enable you to gauge their technical experience and to make examples and anecdotes more relevant.

Look and Act the Part at Interview

Applicants frequently let themselves down at interview. First impressions count so follow a few basic rules:

  • Be sure you know where the interview is being held and how long it will take to get there.

  • Do not be late for interviews, be early and give yourself time to relax and calm down. Employers expect punctuality - if you are unavoidably delayed, phone ahead and advise them of your circumstances.

  • Remember the name of the person you are going to see ahead of walking into reception. Employers may check your arrival conduct with reception staff.

  • Don't be irritated if you are asked to complete an application form even if you have previously submitted a CV. Employers invariably have recruitment procedures to follow.

  • Some employers will ask you to undertake tests or psychometric profiles. Be prepared to do them. Polite refusal will count against you even if you currently hold a senior position.

  • Be well presented. Dress smartly and if in doubt, dress formally.

The Interview

Interviews are about perception and communication:

  • Try to understand what the interviewer is looking for. Monosyllabic replies are not good enough. Answer questions with practical examples where you can.

  • If you don't understand the question do not be afraid to ask the interviewer to explain the question further.

  • Avoid denigrating your current or previous employers, think positively about your achievements and the experiences you have gained.

  • Be prepared for questions about your strengths and weaknesses, it is a commonly used question and most people stumble on it and say what they think the interviewer wants to hear.

  • Be positive about your application to the organisation and b prepared to state what your expectations are from it in terms of the type of work and professional development. Be careful to ensure that the reason for applying is not simply a question of more money - this may be viewed quite negatively.

  • Maintain eye contact with the interviewer(s). This helps to create a more positive impression.

  • If asked about your perception of the opportunity, be positive even if you are having doubts. Give yourself time outside the interview to gather your thoughts about the job.

  • As soon as possible after the interview write down your key thoughts and any questions that have not been satisfactorily answered.

Ready for your next interview?