Doing well in interviews
The most shining CV, the most glowing credentials, mean little if you make a mess of that all-important, face-to-face meeting with your prospective employer.
You can never be too smart for an interview, although you can overdress. As a general rule, you should try to be conservative in dress and forsake your own personal dress sense, just to get that job! If you look business like, you will feel business like and potentially look like a well presented, smart professional.
- A smart suit is essential. No loud shirts
- Keep jewellery to a minimum: no earrings or large rings, necklaces or bracelets.
- Tie your hair back if you wear it very long.
- No 12 o'clock shadows, always shave. Do not wear too much aftershave.
- Pay extra attention to personal hygiene - don't eat garlic for lunch, drink strong coffee, alcohol or smoke just before you go in for the interview! Mints may come in handy if so!
- No carrier bags - invest in a brief case.
- Never dress down to an interview. A smart suit or smart trousers or skirt (knee length) with a shirt/smart top is acceptable or a smart dress (again knee length). Be careful not to be too trendy.
- Always wear tights if wearing a skirt/dress. (Take a spare pair with you just in case!)
- Limit the jewellery you wear. Only one pair of earrings and take out any other visible piercings.
- Take care that any nail varnish isn't chipped. The colour should not be too dark. It’s fine to not wear nail varnish
- Carry a briefcase/executive case or smart handbag - no carrier bags.
- Ensure your hair is neat and if long could be tied back for an extra smart effect.
- Pay extra attention to personal hygiene - don't eat garlic for lunch, drink alcohol or strong coffee before an interview.
- Don't forget to carry an umbrella in case it rains.
Find out well in advance (at least the day before) exactly where the interview is and how to get there. Double-check the address and directions. Look up the correct tube, rail connections and timetables and check for any delays.
- Make sure you have the company's telephone number to call if you are unavoidably late. This is usually appreciated - and will save your nerves, too!
- Aim to arrive around 5-10 minutes early, but no earlier; it can be annoying and leave you 'stewing' for too long.
- If you smoke, carry some mints to freshen your breath. But never go into an interview chewing gum or sucking sweets.
- Don't be put off by the outside of a company's building - appearances can be deceiving. Don't just fail to turn up. It is common courtesy at least to call if you've changed your mind about attending.
- Be clear for which position you are being interviewed. If you go to an interview knowing more about the company it shows keenness and will add to your confidence. New Frontiers will gladly give you any information we have about the company and vacancy.
- Make sure you have an extra copy of your CV to give to the interviewer. Asking for it to be photocopied will be, at best, annoying.
- Think about presentation. Certificates and references can be displayed in a smart presentation folder. Keep your CV neat and tidy, ideally in a clear plastic folder. Creased, old envelopes will not do much for your image.
So you've arrived, looking calm and confident and you are invited in to the interview room. Wait to be asked to take a seat.
- Shake the interviewer's hand if it is offered. Always keep firm eye contact. (If you shake one person's hand and there are others present, always offer your hand to the rest of the panel). Most interviewers will try to make you as relaxed as possible from the start by asking easy-to-answer questions about your journey, the weather, your family or hobbies.
- Listen carefully to the questions. Do not interrupt. If you haven't understood the question properly, ask the interviewer for further clarification. Then answer as fully as possible.
- Be positive. Do not run down past employers or people from work. Don't moan. Don't lie about anything. Maintain eye contact with the interviewer. Stress your strengths and successes and don't dwell on any failures you may have had.
- Make sure you smile. Be enthusiastic.
- Don't fidget or continually cross your legs. Find a comfortable position and stick to it if you can. If you are hot take off your jacket (perhaps asking first).
- Always thank the interviewer/panel for seeing you at the end of the interview and if you are genuinely interested in the position, say so.
- Be prepared to answer questions about everything on your CV - education, work history, hobbies etc. A good interview will be more of a chat than an interrogation. Think about the following questions, they usually come up.
- Why do you want this position, or why do you want to work for this company? Why should we employ you?
- What motivates you? What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Where do you want to be in 2 years/5 years/10 years time?
- What are your short term and long term goals?
- What has been your greatest achievement to date and your greatest regret?
- Do you have any questions? Always make sure you can ask at least one!
Questions and Answers
Your answers to interview questions are the key to you securing your new job. ALWAYS research the company before you go. It’s amazing how many people don’t even look at the company’s website before going for an interview! Be enthusiastic and smile – you’ll be surprised how far it goes.
Here are some questions you could consider before hand to help prepare you!
- Tell me about your successes and achievements.
- Why would you like to work for this organsisation?
- What are you looking for in your next role?
- What future career plans do you have?
- What are your motivations for wanting to join them?
- Why would you like this role?
- Why are you the most suitable person for this role? If there are particular ‘grey’ areas where you feel your skills are not an absolute ‘fit’ try and think of other attributes/ skills or personality traits you have that could help you fit their requirements.
- What challenges do you think you may be facing within this role? If you can, think of examples of the challenges you will be faced with!
- How do you overcome or rise to challenges?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- What contacts do you have in your particular field? Think about these contacts prior to you meeting. Although you may not want to be seen as a ‘name dropper’ you may have to use your contacts in the interview and it is good to be able to use these in reference to the conversation quickly.
- Do you know anyone within the organisation? Why not ask relevant questions to find out how organization works?
- What do you not like about current boss? Be careful not to be too negative or to expand too much when answering – instead try and turn the conversation around to positive attributes.
- What is the most creative thing you have done?
- What frustrates you? Again, please think carefully when answering and turn the answers into positives as to what you do about the frustrations.
- Who do you admire the most and why?
- Can you give me an example of when you have had to communicate effectively with teams and the business to drive and increase business through pushing strategies forward?
- How do you achieve/hit deadlines?
- How would you ensure your team hit deadlines?
- How would you describe/ explain some technical detail to another person?
- How would you get a member of your team, who is finding it difficult in expressing themselves, to express themselves?
- What is your idea of strategic planning?
- Please tell me of a time (both within your personal or work life) when you have had to be innovative both within the workplace and personal life.
- Please give an example of a conflict situation you have been in and how you have overcome this.
- Please give 5 words to describe yourself in the work place. Think of how colleagues may describe you.
For Hotel Contractors/Market Managers/Sales Professional
- What level of Account Management have you been involved in and can you tell me a bit about that involvement?
- What level of negotiation skills do you have?
- Please sell a pen to me. – they are looking for you to ask questions to determine what your client is looking for in the pen, listening and then selling what the pen has to offer. You need the requirements of your clients to be able to relate to your customer and the client and build on your relationship
- Please give specific details of any sales targets you have been given in the past.
- Please tell me whether you achieved these sales targets, how often and figures you achieved.
- Why do you enjoy sales?
- What makes you a strong sales professional?
Above all, be yourself!
For more tips visit By My Interviewer