Guidance on Attending Interviews
You invest a great deal of time and effort in planning your move, contacting prospective employers (directly, through trusted friends, through staffing agencies, etc.) to get to the interview stage. Once a prospective employer schedules an interview for you it is very important that you give this step the priority it deserves.
Once you have scheduled an interview you should research the prospective employer to ensure it has possibilities of meeting your expectations – speak to friends who know the employer, check out their web site, etc. You should clearly understand what the employer is looking for and be prepared to present your skills to demonstrate that you are the person they need to fill the position.
Getting to the interview
As soon as the interview is confirmed you should ensure you have the correct address and directions so that you can plan your route. If you are not 100% sure of the location, how long it will take to get there, etc. consider doing a “trial” run i.e. travelling to the location around the same time as the interview time.
Play it safe and give yourself extra time to ensure you arrive for the interview 5-10 minutes before the scheduled time. If you arrive at the location much earlier it is better to go for a walk, coffee, etc. and go over your thoughts for the interview, rather than waiting in reception.
Attending interviews can be pretty daunting at the best of times, especially if you are not prepared for them. If you have done your homework, you arrived for the interview a few minutes before the scheduled time, and you have the skills the prospective employer is looking for, then there is no reason to worry about the interview itself.
You should be confident with your skills and remember that the employer scheduled the interview based on what you told them through your resume.
In addition to the interview, there are many techniques used to assess prospective employees (including the use of technical skill tests, aptitude tests, profile tests, etc) depending on the type of position being filled. You should be informed of any tests involved ahead of time so there should not be any surprises.
The interview itself should be a two way discussion; for you to learn about the employer’s business, performance, the position being filled, future prospects, etc. and for the employer to ensure you have the technical and soft skills required for the position. The following guidance notes are offered to help improve your performance at the interview.
Unless specifically requested otherwise, always dress formally for an interview. First impressions certainly do make a big difference.
Introductions – pay attention to name(s) and practice a firm (not a “vice grip”) hand shake.
Be confident – it shows that you “know your stuff”, and remember that you are interviewing as well as being interviewed.
Listen to the questions carefully (ask for clarification if you are not sure) and answer the question fully. Your answer is your opportunity to sell your skills that apply to the question – provide a “developed”, orderly answer/explanation, taking care to stay with the topic and only providing the required level of detail.
Do not ignore the question and avoid digressions, and unnecessary detail.
Ask relevant questions about the job and your role within the team – this demonstrates that you understand what they are looking for and shows your interest in the position.
Maintain eye contact with the interviewer at all times and be polite. Diplomacy goes a long way.
Avoid watching time (your watch or a clock nearby) – it implies you are in a hurry to get away and perhaps not interested in the interview.
Make sure you address your issues/concerns at the right time, in positive terms. Remember, the interview is not necessarily the right forum to address all issues/concerns e.g. the employer may not want to discuss remuneration at the interview.
Always emphasis your positives.
“the glass is half- full” is significantly better than “the glass is half-empty”.