At Platinum Plus Recruitment we are not only here to provide expert career advice and match the right candidate to the client, we also assist with the interview preparation. Effective interviewing skills are essential as you locate a new job opportunity. The interview is the most vital event in landing your dream career, brushing up on these skills will prove invaluable.
- Before the interview
- At the interview
- After the interview
- What not to do in an interview
Before the interview
Sound preparation is essential. It may sound like common sense but many people, especially first-jobbers, make the fatal mistake of not doing their homework before walking into an interview.
- Research the organisation – look at its website and read its latest annual report, if available Research the travel sector – take a look at industry association websites and magazines to get a feel for the latest developments.
- Prepare answers to the standard questions that form the basis of most interviews.
- Be ready with a few questions for the interviewer. This will show that you’re keen and on the ball.
- Check the format of the interview and find out who will be interviewing you – it could throw you if you unexpectedly have to face an interview panel of six people.
- Make sure you dress appropriately.
- Re-read your CV and application letter and take additional copies.
- Plan your journey and check for any potential delays.
At the interview
You must make a good impression in the crucial first few moments, so be sure not to damage your chances before you begin:
- Get to your interview at least ten minutes earlier. If you are going to be unavoidably delayed, make sure you let your interviewer know.
- Always switch off your mobile phone before you enter the recruiter’s building.
- Some interviewers try to provoke a reaction, often drawing candidates into an argument, or simply turning them into the proverbial rabbit in the headlights. Expect interviewers to throw a few trick questions your way.
Some common ones include:
- What are your weaknesses?
- What would your colleagues say are your weaknesses?
- Describe a situation when your work was criticised.
- Remember, success here depends more on not getting flustered and thinking on your feet than having the right answer. Above all, be honest – and give reasons for your past behavior or responses. Companies want to hire humans, not robots.
The style of interviews varies dramatically, but here are a few key points to remember:
- Be friendly and courteous to everyone you meet from the receptionist onwards – you never know who might have a say in your appointment.
- Use positive body language.
- When answering questions, relate parts of the job description to relevant experience on your CV.
- Make the most of your research and quote it where appropriate.
- If you face a panel interview, make sure you talk to everyone rather than directing your answers at one person.
- Find out as much as you can about the job. For example, who would the employee report to; why is the situation vacant; and what are the promotion prospects?
- Never mention salary unless prompted to do so – and even then try not to agree to specific numbers without being given time to think.
- Always let the interviewer finish speaking before giving your response.
- When the interview is over, remember to ask when you can expect to hear back and what the next stage will entail.
After the interview
- Take stock of your overall interview performance, learn from the experience and prepare for the next step.
- Try to remember the questions and how you answered them to see if you could improve in future.
- If you feel it’s appropriate, email the interviewer to say thank you for the interview, but be careful not to be too pushy for a response.
- Remember to use any criticism constructively to improve your chances next time.
- Please have a think about the following questions:
- What appeals to you about the company?
- What appeals to you about the role?
- What are your strengths for this position?
Please remember to relate your answers to the company/role you are applying for and the relevant work experience you already have. It is important the company thinks you are a good match and that they can offer you what you are looking for or aiming towards. If the company does not feel they can offer you what you’re looking for, or vice versa, then you won’t be the right match for the company or role, so keep this in mind when thinking of answers.
What not to do in an interview
There are many common errors that can easily be made at interviews that one doesn’t realise. It doesn’t take long for a hiring manager to reject a candidate, especially if there are many more to be interviewed. Around half of the employers know if a candidate is a good fit for the position. Hopefully you can avoid these interview downfalls and obtain the career you are looking for! Its best to keep in mind the ultimate goal is to get the job offer! Focus is key.
Here are the top 10 tips on what not to do:
- Not talking in good faith regarding a current or previous employer. Often candidates can speak negatively about their current employer which looks very unprofessional.
- Not researching the company thoroughly. Clients often ask what you know about the company – research is key!
- Your body language can have a significant impact on how you are perceived. Avoid slouching at interviews and make eye contact. Sitting hunched forward or lounging, looking too relaxed isn’t a good look.
- Turning up late is HUGE no no, seems obvious however this often happens. It’s absolutely essential to account for delays, accidents and road works, look for parking in advance, perhaps do a practice run to the office.
- Don’t ask what you really want to know i.e. salary and benefits. This can be discussed once a job offer is being made.
- Dress down – no scrubs to interviews, wear a professional, tailored and clean suit to an interview, top button done up, tie straight.
- Inappropriate jokes are not ideal, remaining professional and focused is key, remember this is the time to sell yourself and do your absolute best.
- No flip flops, no chewing gum, no swearing, no weak hand shake, no contiguous fidgeting.
- Make sure your mobile is on silent, not even on vibrate.
- Be honest! Often one can get caught out by ‘bending the truth’ i.e. dishonesty regarding a qualification, how long you worked for a company, certain skills. This will catch you up…
Interviewing for a job is a an important opportunity to build your career and change your life for the better. You may only get one chance, avoid these common mistakes and be confident in a professional way.
Should you require any further information or assistance in locating your next career, please do not hesitate to contact us [email protected] or call our dedicated recruitment consultants on 020 8393 9925.