Friday, May 30, 2014

How to do a killer job interview

It should be taken as read that everybody has to sit in front of an individual or a panel for a job interview. It doesn't matter what they do, whether they're a sole trader or whatever. Eventually that all important job interview will loom. Both the interviewer and yourself will be nervous. Most interviewers absolutely hate interviewing. What they're looking for is somebody that shows real interest in the company and in the position, who has read the website and remembered salient points. Bonus points if current company news has been observed - especially that which is not yet on the website.

It's always important to make a good impression. Shine those shoes, iron that shirt. There's nothing worse than seeing a bum entering an office for an interview. Very liberal employers may well ignore this but there's no guarantee that the employer will be a liberal. Much is made of dressing appropriately. This seems a lot easier for women because a dress suit, hose and low heels with a matching clutch seems to be universal. For men, it can be harder as there are so many grades of dressy. A smart suit never goes amiss nor do shiny shoes and a recent haircut. Pay attention to nails and to tying a tie properly. Clip-on ties just look cheap and spoil the effect.

Confidence is the next biggie. Be confident in yourself. Just one slight doubt or self-criticism will put the interviewer off. Over confidence will also put them off. Be yourself - don't brag and don't undersell yourself.

The interview goes both ways. It's there to see if you're a good fit for the company. Conversely, it's there to see if the company is a good fit for you. We've all been in those situations when we've been subject to admirers that we can't admire or when we have admired but are not admired back. The romance has to be right. In the past, if a company has not been the right fit I've ended the interview there and then. An example, fifteen years ago, I felt a company was not the right fit. I could not explain it but the interviewer was giving off the wrong vibes. I turned the job down and they went bust shortly after, owing the person that took the position, all their wages. Pay attention to your gut instinct. It's usually right. If it says it's a good company, it usually is. If it says run then don't wait.

Smile, pay attention, ask questions. Don't fidget and don't bring your mobile phone to the interview unless you've got a specific reason to have it. I use mine to bring my interview notes and I read my interview questions off the screen. If coffee is offered, accept. If there's a teacup on the table, don't wait for the interviewer to clear it away, pick it up and place it somewhere in the background. This is a test.

Good questions to ask at an interview:

  • Is this a new job, if not, what did the previous incumbent leave to do?
  • Describe a typical day in this position.
  • Describe the responsibilities of the position.
  • What is the company's management style.
  • What are the prospects for personal growth and advancement?
  • Would you like more references?
  • If I am offered the position, how soon would you like me to start?
  • When should I expect to hear from you?
  • Would you like to know any more about my qualifications?
  • Are there any other questions you would like to ask me?

At the end of the interview, thank the interviewer for his time, offer to shake their hand and then place your chair back where it was, ask where to place the dirty cup if you have one. Then leave quietly and decisively, closing the door quietly behind you. Remember the interview is not over until you have left the premises. The interviewer might be watching you drive out onto the road just to see what your driving style is like.

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