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Are you ready for the interview?

Posted by Belinda Skinner

6 months ago

Your CV has been accepted by the company and good news... they want to interview you!

Are you ready? 

Of course you are! Why would I ask such a question? You are good at what you do, they want to interview you, so obviously they want you! You will go and they can see just how good you are – right? … wrong!

The key points to mastering an interview is:

  • Sell yourself
  • Research
  • Preparation
  • Dress to Impress
  • Put the phone away!
  • Attitude

Don’t assume your CV speaks for itself. You need to sell yourself also. When I say “sell”, I don’t mean a used car salesman speech, I mean work out what they are looking for and ensure you highlight key criteria in your answers. There are countless candidates out there all who have just an impressive CV as yourself – sorry, but it’s true. So, you need to stand out from the others.

Think what benefits you can bring to the company, but also what you hope to learn and gain. Communicate this in your answers, make your answers clear and explain yourself, never assume that they know what you are talking about or can see it from your CV. Make the interviewer’s life easier and highlight what you can bring and also what you are looking for. This last point is important because if they cannot offer you what you need, the potential for not staying long is high and that just waste’s everyone’s time, including the potential to hurt your career path.

Do your research. I cannot stress how important that is. What do you know about that company, what is it’s history? What interesting facts can you find that is not on their website. Research the background on the person interviewing you – both the HR, the hiring manager, the potential boss – all of them. Use this information in the interview, ask them questions based on what you found out. Show them that you are interested, that you spent time wanting to learn.

Next, prepare questions. When the interviewer asks – do you have any questions? Never say, no I think you have covered it. There must be something you can ask! Questions like: what is the company’s growth plan in the next 3 years? What do you expect of me in this role? What do you want to see differently from the person who last performed in this role? Do you have a performance management system? With me as a manager, what do you expect from my team? There are hundreds of questions you can ask. But, definitely 100%, do not ask about the salary, holidays, benefits etc!!! This comes later.

Dress to impress. I don’t care if the position is upcountry or in a factory… still make an effort to look smart. You can never be overdressed for an interview, but you certainly be under-dressed. Show the interviewer you are taking this seriously. Jackets where possible. Smart and sensible clothing. You are not going out to a night club, shopping or the beach! Look like a professional.

To me this next point is obvious, but to many it obviously is not! Put the mobile phone away and on silent. Better still turn it off altogether. There is nothing more annoying than hearing a mobile vibrate in someone’s bag and the concentration of both parties is lost. Do not under any circumstance have your phone sitting on the desk, even turned upside down… there is no instance this where this is necessary. Show your interviewer respect, give them 100% of your attention.

Most importantly… Attitude! If you go into the interview thinking you are the perfect choice, there is no one like you, you have been educated aboard, have your Masters and therefore should be paid a great deal… then think again! The most common reason for rejection of candidates is “passion” and “attitude”. If you do not show a passion for the work, industry or company and most importantly you don’t have a good attitude, you will not make it past the first interview. Skills can be trained, but attitude can’t. Be humble, but be confident. There is a huge difference between confidence and arrogance.

So remember, before that next interview….. prepare!!! 

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