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MAKING YOUR JOB INTERVIEW SUCCESSFUL

The interview is one of the most important events in your experience. The time spent with the interviewer may determine your future.

Interviewers are continually amazed at the number of candidates who come to job interviews without any apparent preparation and only the vaguest idea of what they are going to say. Some candidates create an impression of indifference by acting too casually while others work themselves into a state of nervous fright.

These marks of inexperience can be avoided by knowing a little of what  is actually expected of you and by making a  few simple preparations before the interview.

With the guidance provided by your consultant, we will show you the best way to get the position you want.

PREPARING FOR THE INTERVIEW

Preparation is the first essential step towards a successful interview. 

It is important to:- 

  • Make sure you know the exact place and time of the interview, the employer's full name and correct pronunciation and the employer's job title. Chase your consultant if you have not received this information: your consultant may be involved in many interviews each day ? it is your responsibility to make sure you are fully prepared,
  • Do some research on the company. It will be helpful to know how old the company is, what its products or services are, where its plants, offices or stores are located, what its growth has been and what its growth potential is for the future. Details of most companies can be found on the Internet, or at any college or public library.
  • Check for recent news about the company. It is vital that you are able to talk knowledgably about the company since this will create the impression that you are interested in them and what they do. Remember, you are there because you are interested in working for the company, not because the ?recruitment agency sent you?!
  • Prepare the questions you will ask during the interview. Remember that an interview is a "two way street". The employer will try to determine through questioning if you have the qualifications, experience and personality necessary to do the job. You must determine through questioning whether the company will give you the opportunity for the growth and development that you seek.
  • Make an effort to look smart for the Interview. It is better to look too smart than scruffy.
 
 
Some probing questions you might ask include:-



  • What does the position involve? Obtain a detailed description.
  • Why is the position available?
  • What is it like to work for the company? Is there a company culture?
  • Why do you like working for the company?
  • What induction and training programmes do the company provide?
  • What plans does the company have for growth or expansion over the next 5 years?
  • What makes someone successful in working for the company?
  • Is there anything in my experience or background which might stop me from moving onto the next stage?
  • What is the next step in the hiring process?

 THE INTERVIEW

You are being interviewed because the employer wants to hire someone - not to trip you up or embarrass you. The employer will be evaluating your strong and weak points - your qualifications, skills, intellectual qualities, attitude, aptitudes, stability, motivation and maturity. Interviews vary widely in style from very formal to very relaxed. Make sure you are as well prepared as possible and take note of the ?Dos and Don'ts below?.


  • DO plan to arrive on time or a few minutes early. Late arrival for a job interview is never excusable.
  • If the employer presents you with an application form to complete, DO fill it out neatly and fully. DON'T relax and rely on your application or C.V. to do the selling for you. Employers will want you to speak for yourself.
  • Create a positive first impression by giving the appearance of energy as you walk, smiling and shaking his hand firmly.
  • DO wait until you are offered a chair before sitting. Sit upright in your chair. Look alert and interested at all times. Be a good listener as well as a good talker. Smile.
  • DON'T smoke even if the employer smokes and offers you a cigarette. DON'T chew gum or eat.
  • DO look an employer in the eye while you talk to them.
  • DO follow the employer's leads, but try to get them to describe the position and duties to you early in the interview so that you can relate your background, skills and achievements to the position.
  • DON'T answer questions with a simple "yes" or "no". Explain wherever possible.
  • DO make sure that your good points come across to the employer in a factual, logical and sincere manner. Stress achievements e.g. - sales record, processes developed, savings achieved, systems installed and so on.
  • DON'T lie. Answer questions truthfully, frankly and as "to the point" as possible.
  • DON'T ever make derogatory comments about your present or former employers or companies.
  • DON'T over-answer questions. The employer may steer the conversation into politics or economics. Since this is a ticklish situation it is best to answer the question honestly, trying not to say any more than is necessary.
  • DON'T enquire about the salary, holidays, bonuses or other benefits at the initial interview unless you are positive the employer is interested in hiring you. If the employer asks what salary you want, indicate what you have earned but that you are more interested in the opportunity than in a specific amount at the present.
  • DO always conduct yourself as if you are determined to get the job. Never close the door on an opportunity. It is better to be in a position where you can choose from a number of offers rather than only one.

 

INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

By thinking about and rehearsing answers to the questions below you will greatly improve your chances of doing well in the interview. You should try to avoid waffling in the interview, but make sure your answers are not too abrupt. If you are asked something you cannot answer, say so!

 

  • Why did you choose this particular vocation?
  • What interests you about the work you do?
  • Why do you want to work for our company?
  • Why do you want to leave your current employer?
  • What have your achievements been to date?
  • What do you know about our company?
  • What can you offer our company?
  • How do you respond to pressure?
  • Tell me about the last time you disagreed with your boss?
  • When was the last time you had an argument at work?
  • What qualifications do you have that make you feel that you will be successful in your field?
  • What do you think determines a person's progress in a good company?
  • Can you get a recommendation from previous employers?
  • What contributions to profits have you made in your present or former position to justify your salary level there?
  • Can you take instructions without feeling upset?
  • What is your greatest weakness?
  • What reservations would I have about you as an employee?
  • What motivates you?
  • Are you willing to relocate?
  • How do you spend your spare time? What are your hobbies?
  • What type of books do you read? How many books per year?
  • Have you saved any money? Do you have any debts?
  • What job in our company do you want to work towards?
  • What jobs have you enjoyed the most? The least? Why?
  • What are your special abilities?
  • How do you approach difficult or complex tasks?
  • What types of people seem to rub you up the wrong way?
  • Do you like regular hours?
  • What is the most difficult situation you have had to face and how did you handle it?
  • What have you done which shows initiative and willingness to work?
  • Do you prefer to work alone or in a group?

 

NEGATIVE FACTORS EVALUATED BY AN EMPLOYER

During the course of your interview, the employer will be evaluating your negative as well as positive factors. Listed below are negative factors which most often lead to the rejection of the candidate:-


  • Poor personal appearance.
  • Overbearing - too aggressive - conceited - "Superiority complex" - "know it all".
  • Inability to express thought clearly - poor poise, diction or grammar.
  • Lack of planning for career - no purpose or goals.
  • Lack of interest and enthusiasm - passive or indifferent.
  • Lack of confidence and poise - nervousness.
  • Over-emphasis on money - interested only in the best money offer.
  • Lack of tact - maturity - courtesy.
  • Condemnation of past employers.
  • Failure to look employer in the eye.
  • Limp, fishy handshake.
  • Lack of appreciation for the value of experience.
  • Failure to ask questions about the job.
  • Persistent attitude of "What can you do for me?"
  • Lack of preparation for the interview - failure to get information about the company resulting in an inability to ask intelligent questions.

 

CLOSING THE INTERVIEW FOR THE JOB OFFER

If you want the position or a second interview say something like this:-

" I am very impressed with what I have seen here today - your company, its products and the people I have met".

For a Sales Type position

"I am confident that I can do an excellent job in the position you have described to me. [ How soon will I be able to start? ] or [ When can I arrange a second interview? ]".

For Positions requiring less assertiveness / sales techniques

"I have enjoyed talking with you. The job sounds excellent. [What are your thoughts about me? ] or [ Do I have the right sort of experience that you are looking for?]"

This gives you a chance to hear the interviewer's impressions and to respond to any negative thoughts or misunderstandings that may have arisen.

The employer will be impressed with your enthusiasm. If they make an offer then accept it.

Don't be discouraged if no definite offer is made or specific salary discussed. The employer will probably want to communicate with his office first or interview more candidates before making a decision. If you get the impression that the interview is not going well and that you have already been rejected don't let your discouragement show. Once in a while an employer who is genuinely interested may seem to discourage you in order to test your reaction.

Thank the employer for his time and his consideration of you. If you have answered the two questions uppermost in the employer's mind, namely:-

a) Why are you interested in his company?

b) What can you offer?

then you have done all that you can.

If you are interested in the position then immediately after the interview write a letter to the employer expressing your thanks for the interview and your interest in the company.

Restate briefly why you think you can make an exceptionally strong contribution to the company.

Lastly, but most importantly, call your consultant immediately after each interview and tell him what happened. He will want to talk with you before the employer calls him back. If you are interested in the position, your consultant will help you get it!



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