August Clarke are pleased to provide a brief guide to interviewing, how to prepare yourself, what to expect from an interview process and how best to approach them with confidence.
Do your research...
Doing research before your interview will ensure you can converse with confidence and answer questions such as 'what do you know about our company'. The best place to start to learn about the company is their corporate website where you should be able to find the following useful information;
What is their business and how long has the company been operating?
Where do they operate from, are they UK based or international?
Who started the company and how many staff work there?
What is their culture and what kind of people do they employ?
Who are their main competitors and how do they compare?
Their last year's profits, also take a look at the latest developments in the industry.
Through an online search you can find out any latest news about the company.
Getting there, a trial run is advised so you know exactly how long it takes. There is nothing worse than getting lost or being late which will start your interview off on the wrong foot.
Know your CV, most interviewers will use these as a template for their interview and questioning so it is essential that you know it well. Make notes and rehearse key selling points about yourself which relate directly back to their job description. This will make it clear why they should employ you.
Get everything you need to take with you ready the night before, lay out your clothes, print off a copy of your CV and the job description as a point of reference in case you loose your train of thought during the interview. Be sure you know the time, date and location of the interview and the name of interviewers.
Look and act the part.....
Dress professionally! Appearances shouldn't matter, but in truth you are always judged on the effort made with your personal appearance.
Make sure your shoes are polished, your clothes are ironed and fit correctly. If you are a male a business suit with shirt and tie is the interview staple. Ladies should also wear a suit with a simple smart blouse or shirt, if you are wearing accessories make sure they are subtle.
You might think it is obvious but it is also important to smell fresh, so try to avoid smoking before going in for your interview or eating anything with a lingering smell such as garlic! These can be very off putting for the interviewer.
Have one last look in the mirror before you go in for you interview just to check your hair is in place, your tie is straight etc.
Remember to speak clearly and concisely during your interview keeping in mind the question you were asked.
Keep regular eye contact with your interviewer and also remember to smile!
You will normally shake hands with your interviewer so if you have a tendency to have clammy or sweaty hands when you're nervous, use the time that you saved by getting there early to use the toilets to wash your hands.
Don't interrupt the interviewer; let them finish their sentences before you jump in no matter how enthusiastic you are.
Typical interview questions....
Whilst every interview is unique there are a typical set of questions which tend to come up in most interviews so give some forethought in to how you might approach these answers, if possible try a practice interview with a friend or relative.
Tell me about yourself
This is often the opening question so your opportunity to make a good first impression. Try to keep your answer concise and stick to the main relevant points. They already have a copy of your CV so they will know the basics of your background so this is an opportunity to discuss your achievements and the contribution you made to your most recent employer. Don’t go in to too much detail as the interviewer will ask you for more information on areas of interest to them.
What are your strengths?
This is another opportunity to sell yourself as the best candidate for the job so a good place to start is by reviewing the job description. There will normally be list of candidate requirements which will tell you what they are looking for. You can then use these points to select the three most relevant attributes you possess as strengths in a work situation. Examples could include, system skills or staff management.
What are your weaknesses?
A difficult question to answer but don’t be tempted to say you don’t have any weaknesses instead use a weakness which could be interpreted as a strength. You could mention an area which you might need further training in that you are willing to undertake in your own time which will show you are keen to develop yourself and your initiative will be seen as a strength.
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
You can use this question to discuss both your short-term and long-term goals. Why you are interested in the role you are interviewing for and how you believe this will take you forward to your long term career goals. It is a good thing to show ambition but you should also take in to consideration what the company will realistically be able to offer you in terms of progression in the longer term.
Why do you want to work here?
They will want to know that you have prepared for your interview and that you have a good insight in to their company, you can demonstrate this by describing how your career goals match their company values and why you would relish the chance to work for them.
What salary are you seeking?
Try not to give any specific numbers when asked this question as it will make it difficult to negotiate your salary later should you be offered the role. If you are aware of the salary guideline you can say that this is in line with what you are looking for. It is important not to price yourself out of the job by asking for more than they can afford to pay and for this type of job role. You could say you are willing to take a lower salary if there are good training and progression prospects which will demonstrate your ambition.
Why are you looking to leave your current employer?
When they ask why you want to leave your current job it is important not to use this as an opportunity to slate your boss or the company. An acceptable reason is to say you would like to progress in your current role however, there's no scope for promotion and you are ready for a new challenge.
Competency based interview questions...
Competency based interviews are also becoming an increasing popular interview style, especially when meeting with a member of a HR team. Competency questions are when you are asked to identify a scenario/situation from your past experience which demonstrates your skills and 'competencies'. The best preparation for these questions is to recognise the key requirements of the job description and identify examples you could use to present as your answer which will best show your abilities.
Questions for the interviewer....
You should always have questions for your interviewer to show you are interested in the position. Prepare a few questions, which will give you more information about the job or any unanswered questions about the culture of the company.
If you require further advice or have any questions regarding your forthcoming interview, please contact your local August Clarke office.