This week Warren Parratt, the Company Director of Positive People Recruitment, has kindly offered to share his advice & tips on 'Interview Tips: 5 Things You Should Know'. Some fantastic advice make sure you take a read:
You’ve drafted your CV checked through it dozens of time and submitted it to your dream company for your desired position. Days later you receive an email from them, revealing that you have been shortlisted for the interview in two weeks’ time.
Your heart leaps for joy for about a minute, although somewhere inside you felt a tinge of uncertainty. As the days go by, your uncertainty escalates from worry to panic!
Don’t panic! After going through a number of interview tips on the internet, here are five ‘truths’ about job interviews that you should note prior to the big day itself.
1. Impress EVERYONE
Many interviewees are not aware that some companies seek the opinions of receptionists on their hiring decisions. After all, formal interviews do not reveal the social skills they may or may not possess. A well rounded assessment may take into account what occurs behind the scenes, particularly how interviewees act while waiting for their interview.
This is where they meet the other job applicants as well as the receptionist, so it’s a good chance for the potential employer to evaluate their people skills in an informal setting.
Body Language Speaks Volumes
Apart from that, receptionists can tell if the interviewee is well prepared and can even have a rough gauge of their personality from his or her demeanour.
For instance, if you’re fumbling through your interview notes or frequenting the toilet a lot, the receptionist would note that you’re anxious and insecure about yourself. On the other hand, if you enter the waiting area composed, with a friendly smile and a positive outlook, the receptionist will probably think that you’re all thoroughly prepared for the interview.
2. First Impressions (Really) Count
Yes, we all know that first impressions count when it comes to meeting someone new. This is more important when it comes to occasions like an interview: when someone is deliberately assessing you and scrutinizing your speech and body language. In fact, the first five minutes of your interview is the critical moment for you to impress them. Miss it and you might find yourself losing the deal even if you have sent in a top-notch CV.
One Chance to Nail It
Psychological studies have even shown that it takes only seven to seventeen seconds to make that first impression with someone new. Perhaps if we’re talking about interviews where interviewers are consciously reminding themselves to stay objective, the first impression may take longer to form.
Nevertheless, the point is that the faster you are in projecting yourself as a good potential employee during the interview, the higher the chance of you securing that job. After all, not all interviewers are well trained, so they are susceptible to influences like the first impression you give them.
The Bare Necessities
There are a number things you should take note of, and I’m sure you’re aware of them too. Things like being punctual for the interview, adhering to the dress code, maintaining a straight but relaxed posture, making eye contact and smiling matter when it comes to making an impression.
It’s also vital to give a good introduction of yourself when prompted by the interviewer. This is where you show your confidence and passion for the job by varying your tone of voice, and exhibiting the right kind of body language.
3. Gestures Speak Louder Than Words
Non-verbal communication includes facial expressions, eye contact, gestures or hand movements, posture, etc. Social psychologists believe that such non-verbal communication makes up close to two-thirds of any communication between people. What this means for you as the interviewee is that landing the job depends more on how you move than what you have to say.
Of course, to be fair, it probably takes a combination of both non-verbal and verbal communication to make an interview a success. It would be strange to see someone getting his or her dream job without uttering a word during the interview!
The rule of thumb is to stay positive and upbeat about yourself and about the position. Be as confident as you can as you give him or her that firm handshake, introduce yourself and tackle the questions one by one.
Another thing you should be aware of is what you tend to do subconsciously when you get anxious. Common symptoms of a person with the interview jitters include leg shaking, hair stroking and finger tapping.
4. Know Your CV Inside-Out
Remember that you’ve already submitted your resume and had it read by the interviewer prior to the interview. This means that they are more than likely to question you based on that piece of paper.
The resume only holds critical information that you want the reader to capture. They would only have the chance to go into the details with you during the interview itself.
Practice What You Preach
Apart from practicing on how to answer the questions they will pose, know your resume like the back of your hand so you can cite evidence and concrete examples to support your claims. You may say that you have rich in-depth experience with customer service but they would expect you to explain why and how.
This is when you should trace back to a time when you handled a very difficult customer successfully. If you have already thought of this example while you were reviewing your resume, relaying the incident will come as a breeze.
Blow that Trumpet
Having examples of incidents when you exhibit a certain quality essential for the job is just one area to look out for.
Another thing which they are interested to hear about is the figures in your list of achievements in your previous jobs or posts, for instance, how much increase in net profit you have contributed to the company you worked with previously. Such numbers would provide evidence to substantiate your various claims. Anticipate questions that target those parts of your resume that are relevant to the position you’ve applied to.
5. You’re Expected to Ask Questions
Nearing the end of the interview, you should expect the interviewer to ask if you have any questions. Not asking any is a big mistake because it may reflect badly on you. It gives the impression that you aren’t really enthusiastic enough about the job to find out more. This is really the time for you to shine, but only if you ask the right questions.
Ask the Right Questions
First and foremost, try not to ask close-ended questions that can be answered with a YES or NO. Some interviewers may be kind enough to elaborate further, but you don’t get that all the time. It may result in a moment of awkward silence and chances are that you wouldn’t get the answer you want for your question.
Secondly, some interviewers actually judge you based on the nature of your question. If the question is pretty straightforward and the answer can actually be found if you took the time to explore the company’s website, it goes to show that you didn’t do enough research for the interview. If, however, you demonstrated that you had done your homework with your questions, and had come up with an intelligent one, the interviewer would be impressed, which adds points for you.
There’re no hard and fast rules about the kind of questions you should ask, but you should keep in mind that it is your last chance for you to seal the deal before the interview ends. On the other hand, if you do have burning questions that needed clarification go ahead and ask even if they don’t sound impressive. After all, an interview is a bi-directional process involving your participation to find that job that fits.
If you would like to learn more about Warren and Positive People Requirement, head over to www.positivepeople.uk.com