CVO

Interview guide

OK, so Your concise, professional and polished CV has got You through the door. You have an interview. Now the real work starts. And it should start well before the interview takes place. Many employers are looking for professional applicants who have:

  • A positive attitude toward work;
  • Proficiency in a field of study;
  • Good communication skills (written & oral);
  • Interpersonal skills;
  • Confidence;
  • Critical thinking and problem-solving skills;
  • Flexibility;
  • Self-motivation;
  • The ability to work well within a team;
  • Professionalism in the way that they work and present themselves.

Therefore, before, during and after the interview process You should do everything that helps to display these qualities.

Research

Few things are as disappointing to an interviewer or hiring manager as a candidate whose answer is ‘Nothing.’ to the question ‘What do You know about our company?’ Most companies want their employees to be proactive and innovative, not to mention interested in the company and the job. Knowing very little about the company You are interviewing with will immediately be a negative point against You and may be enough to rule You out of the rest of the process completely.

So… Do Your research! In the Internet Age doing basic research on companies has never been easier.

How to Research Companies:

  • Annual Reports;
  • People You know who work there (part of Your network, alumni);
  • Customers and vendors;
  • Library: print, online, CD resources, online library databases;
  • Use the Internet.

If You are going through a recruitment agency ask them about the company, the job and the interview process. If they don’t know, ask them to find out. After all it is in their interest to ensure that You present yourself in the best light possible.

Preparation

  • Typical interview questions;
    Prepare answers to some of the FAQ’s. This will ensure that Your answers to some of questions You will probably be asked during the interview will appear well thought out, relevant and indicate that You can think on Your feet and have initiative;
  • Confidence building. The night before the interview, spend some time with a friend or family member, telling them why You would be the best for the position. Use superlatives galore! The purpose is to put You in the right frame of mind for the interview, so that You truly believe You are the best possible candidate for the job. Why is this so vitally important? See the next item;
  • Before You can possibly convince the interviewer that You are right for the job, You have to believe it yourself. It’s amazing how many candidates seem tentative and reluctant to express confidence in their abilities. Remember, You are all alone once the interview starts. No one will sell You if You don’t sell yourself. How can one believe in You if You don’t believe in you? Don’t expect the interviewer to tell You why You are right for the job. That is Your job.

Does it really matter if you’re just a few minutes late to the interview?

  • Surveys reveal that if you’re even a few minutes late, you’re usually eliminated;
  • Always strive to get to an interview early, thus protecting yourself from unexpected delays. Getting to an interview a bit early also allows You time to collect Your thoughts and observe people (and corporate culture) while waiting.

What steps can You take to ensure You get to the interview on time?

  • Make sure You can find the company;
  • If it’s an unfamiliar location, ask for directions, get maps, do a dry run. The Web is a great source for maps.
  • Allow time to get lost, tied up in traffic, and find a parking place;
  • On the other hand, don’t arrive more than 15 minutes early. If You get to the location early, kill some time until 15 minutes before.

How should You dress for an interview?
In most cases You will want to look professional, smartly dressed, and businesslike. Remember, first impressions are very important and that visual presentation is how most people gain a first impression of you. Unless You are certain that the interviewer would rather meet You wearing a t-shirt, jeans and training shoes You should strongly consider the advice below:

  • Risky for men:
    • Mismatching suit;
    • Long hair/ponytail;
    • Facial hair.
  • Risky for women:
    • Hair in eyes; wear hair up or back;
    • Too much make-up.
  • Risky for both:
    • Visible body piercing/tattoos;
    • Body odor; too much perfume/cologne.

How should You greet and shake hands with Your interviewer?

  • Greet Your interviewer enthusiastically;
  • Stand up and extend Your hand for the handshake;
  • Medium-to-firm handshake;
  • Warm smile;
  • “Good morning, I’m glad/pleased to meet you”.

How can You make the most of the period of small talk to establish rapport?

  • Try to find common interests;
  • Look around interviewer’s office for clues – awards achieved, souvenirs from abroad, company values (often framed and hanging on the wall).

Should You bring a copy of Your resume to the interview?

Yes! Offer a copy of Your resume or at least have one handy if interviewer has trouble locating his or her copy. (And bring extra copies in case You have more than one interviewer – make sure You also bring them in the relevant language.)

How important is eye contact with the interviewer?

Extremely important!

  • Don’t look up at walls and ceiling for answers;
  • Don’t cast eyes downward;
  • If You have difficulty maintaining eye contact for the duration of the meeting, You could try looking at the interviewer’s nose.

What other nonverbal cues are important in a job interview?

Facial Expressions

Smile! Job seekers who smile sincerely, come across as energetic and cheerful.

Posture

  • Sit up straight;
  • Sit on the edge of Your seat in order to appear enthusiastic.

Gestures

  • Do not wave Your hands around whilst You are talking. If You find this difficult then keep Your hands clasped and in Your lap;
  • Do not fidget, continuously put Your hand through Your hair, or lean on Your hand/s. This will create the impression that You are nervous;
  • Do not rest Your chin on Your hand/s or You will look unenthusiastic, or bored with the meeting.

What kinds of bad habits and inappropriate body language create problems in job interviews?

  • Hums;
  • Speaking too softly;
  • Fading out at end of response;
  • Touching face, mouth, scratching head;
  • Sweating;
  • Smoking;
  • Chewing gum;
  • Twiddling thumbs;
  • Tapping a pencil;
  • Stretching parts of the body;
  • Staring;
  • Cleaning finger nails;
  • Using slang or profanity;
  • Calling the interviewer by his or her first name (unless asked);
  • Touching things on the interviewer’s desk;
  • Twirling in chair.