"Thank you very much for the help you have offered. When I first contacted you through email, I was really surprised at how quickly you got back to me. The position you found for me fits me perfectly well, and I like it very much. Throughout the process, you have been so helpful, liaising very professionally and efficiently. Thank again for all you have done."Underground Production Geologist, South Perth
Jobseekers: The interview
(March 2012)Following on from our earlier article about getting your name out there, we now look at the next step - the interview itself.
Great news! You've just had the call from your recruiter to say that there are some companies that want to interview you. So what do you do next?
PREPARE! PREPARE! PREPARE!
One of the most common reasons for the failure of job applicants to get anywhere following their first interview is that they didn't prepare properly.
First of all, have a look at our blog 'Interview Tips', dated 27.1.2010. Then, set aside some quiet time for yourself and start work on your preparation. The seven bullet points in 'Interview Tips' are basic, common-sense points – and yet so many candidates trip up over these, so it won't hurt to go into a little more detail.
Plan your journey. Nothing says 'I can't be bothered with this job' quite like turning up late, or on the wrong day. And it's psychologically bad to have to apologise as the opening gambit in an interview. We all know that delays can happen, even to the best of us, so as soon as you know there's a problem you MUST contact the interviewer or their office;
Research the company. Any interviewer will expect you to have done your homework. He or she will, quite rightly, expect that you have some idea of the company's operations and, if appropriate, its corporate structure. So, have a look at the company's website, or see if there's any recent news about the company (developments, acquisitions, etc.) so that you can impress your interviewer by being well-informed and up-to-date.
You should also research the competition ('know your enemy') as this is a significant part of the commercial environment you are trying to join;
- The interviewer. He or she could be from HR, or could be part of the management structure. You need to know which, exactly, and how senior or junior they are (the company's website could help here) so that you can pitch your presentation appropriately.
- Prepare some questions in advance and write them down in a (business-like) notebook. At the start of the interview, ask if the interviewer minds you taking notes - they won't. Straight away you will look well-prepared and efficient, and give the impression that you are serious about the interview. You can also use the notebook to jot down things you might otherwise forget to mention.
- Take your CV with you, together with any testimonials or other evidence of the qualities you want to bring to your new position. Don't forget to read them, yourself, before you go in to the interview, just as a reminder of what you've said.
- Dress smartly, but not flashily. Remember, you're trying to impress a future employer, not your friends on a night out! So dress in a business-like manner, and look natural – avoid the excessive use of aftershave/perfume and cosmetics.
When you first see the interviewer, shake their hand and be conscious, at all times during the interview, of the image you're projecting. Remember the old adage “You only get one chance to make a first impression”. Indeed, recent research suggests that the first 15 seconds of an interview can be vital in making that impression.
Note – no-one likes overt displays of nerves. We all know that interviews make people nervous, and your interviewer will of course make some allowances, but how you 'rise above' these and conquer the interview will affect the interviewer's judgement of you and how you cope under stress.
Now you're in the interview room, all that preparation should start to pay off. In 'Interview Tips' have a look at the section headed 'During the Interview' – there are some good and useful ideas here for you. And that's the area we'll be looking at in more detail next time.