Interviews

Interviews – do’s and don’ts

An interview is a discussion between you and an employer to find out if you can do the job. It’s your chance to make a good impression. However, there are certain rules you should follow in interviews.

 

What to do:

  • dress smartly, look bright and attentive, and speak clearly and confidently. Don’t forget that in the first few minutes only 7% of the interviewer’s opinion of you is formed by what you say – the rest is judged on how you look, act and sound
  • find out where the venue is beforehand, how to get there and how long it takes
  • get your outfit ready the night before
  • find out what kind of interview it will be so you can prepare
  • examine the person specification and your CV/application form, and think about what type of questions they will ask you
  • prepare answers for the main questions – for example, why do you want the job, what are your strengths and weaknesses, what are the main tasks in this job?
  • make about three or four points in each answer
  • quote real examples of when you’ve used certain skills – just saying you’ve got a skill isn’t enough
  • take your time when answering the questions: make sure you understand the question and take your time if you need to think
  • sell yourself: no one else is going to! Be positive about yourself and your experiences
  • prepare some questions to ask at the end of the interview – use it as an opportunity to find out more about the role and the company. (Don’t ask about money or perks just yet!)
  • when discussing salary, know your market worth and start by quoting a little higher than this
  • get feedback on your performance, whether you were successful or not
  • turn off your mobile phone: treat the interviewers with respect and give them your undivided attention
  • keep your answers focused on what you can do for the employer, not what they can do for you

What not to do:

  • don’t be late
  • don’t swear or use slang words
  • don’t slouch in your seat or do anything that makes you look uninterested
  • don’t smoke
  • don’t lie: the interviewer may see through you. Even if you get the job, your employer can dismiss you if they find out that you have not been honest
  • don’t let your nerves show too much; a few nerves are normal but extreme nerves will affect your performance. Use breathing techniques and try to remember that it’s not a life and death situation – there are plenty of jobs out there!
  • don’t be arrogant and assume you’ve got the job. Nothing turns off employers more than someone who is disrespectful and over-confident
  • don’t discuss controversial topics such as religion, politics and gender relations
  • don’t read from notes or your CV — you should be familiar enough with your own history to be able to talk about it unprompted
  • don’t criticise former employers or colleagues. Interviewers may mark you down as a troublemaker and a gossip
  • don’t argue with the interviewer, no matter what. Remember to keep things positive!
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