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The Interview

Posted on: 16 Jan 14


The Interview

There are two main way to approach an interview. The first involves learning how to dazzle. This method is about giving the right answers, smiling the right way, applying the right pressure to your handshake and exuding charm. There are candidates who are very good at doing this, and you can be too with practice. An alternative (and less stressful) way to approach the interview is to treat it like a two-way conversation.

The interview is as much about the company impressing you, as you are impressing them. They want to make sure that they employ the best candidates - and know that the best candidates aren’t easy to get. This is also your chance to find out more about the company, and determine whether you’re a suitable cultural fit.

1. On Arrival

Aim to be there five minutes early. If you do arrive in the area well before schedule, take time out to sit in a cafe and have a coffee.

Make yourself known at the reception/concierge (if situation requires).

Take deep breaths.

2. When the interviewer arrives

Have a good handshake and repeat their name after they introduce themselves. “Hi David, my name is Michael, Head of Finance”, “Hi Michael, nice to meet you”.

Acknowledging someone’s name can be the most important aspect in any interaction.

Practice this in your everyday conversations and you’ll be amazed at how much more you remember about that person, and how that person remembers you. Have some topics prepared for small talk about the traffic getting there, the weather or something you read in the news.

3. In the interview

This is your time to shine, and also a time to be yourself. This is an opportunity get to know the interviewer and the company.

Do: Your preparation. Being prepared with questions regarding your skills, experience and anything else on your CV makes answering the questions a whole lot easier. Provided that you haven’t lied on your CV, there’s no need to bluff your way through answering these kinds of questions.

Do: Answer questions honestly and succinctly. If you have a tendency to ramble on when you’re nervous, take a few seconds to gather your thoughts in point form (1., 2., 3.) and cover those three areas.

Do: Be self-aware and aware of the others in the room. This means watching out for body language, who you should address your answer too (if there is more than one person interviewing you, then address the majority of the answer toward the person who asked the question and acknowledge the other interviewers periodically) and whether they seem engaged or dis-engaged with your answer.

Don't: Freak out. People are still people at the end of the day, and they’re not going to be too concerned if you ‘said something wrong’ or ‘missed something out’.

Don't: Be afraid to ask them to repeat the question, or rephrase the question if you didn’t quite hear it.

4. After the interview

It is ok so send a quick email saying thank you, or a handwritten note. It is also ok to ask when you’re likely to hear back from them. It is not ok to send through anything gimmicky, over the top gifts, flowers or keep following up.

If you can, always ask for feedback a week or so after the interview, regardless of whether you were offered the job. This will enable you to identify potential weak spots and improve for next time.


Mike Wood - editor

Last updated on: 06/08/2014 12:04:46

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