Free Interview Tips

Free Interview Tips

1. First appearances count:

Always dress to impress and look your best. Immaculate shoes, a clean shave or a freshly pressed suit are easy ways to pick up extra points. Maintain eye contact as much as possible and avoid the obvious pitfalls of slouching, folded arms or hands in pockets.

2. Research:

Learning about the company you are interviewing with is essential, but your research doesn’t have to end here… Who are the company’s main competitors? What are the industry trends? How might this company improve its current product or service offering? Are there any opportunities for revenue growth?

Your level of knowledge will play a large role in determining how much value you can add to a given company (exactly what the interviewer is trying to assess!).

3. Prepare for difficult or common questions such as:


  • Why should I hire you?
  • Why haven’t you found a job yet?
  • How many jobs have you applied for? Why didn’t you apply for more?
  • Why did you leave your previous employment?
  • What did you dislike about your old job?
  • There is a gap between these two employment entries, what did you do in this period?
  • How can you add value to our company?
  • Aside from financial reward, what do you hope to gain from this employment?
  • How would you describe our brand to a person that had never heard of us?
  • What attracts you to this job?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • Tell us about a role you performed badly in
  • What are your strengths?
  • What is your biggest achievement?
  • Describe yourself in three words.
  • How would your friends describe you?
  • What do you get up to in your spare time?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • Where do you see yourself at the height of your career?

4. Know your CV:

Employers will often use your CV as a loose structure for the interview, so be ready to speak extensively about every point you made on it. Be ready to talk about any unexplained gaps in your career history (a common line of question), any specific achievements, and the circumstances surrounding each of your previous jobs. Don’t expect the interviewer to know your CV, don’t be afraid to mention and re-mention the key points you have already highlighted on your CV.

5. Interviews don’t have to be one-way:

Have at least three well-researched questions ready for the employer. The quality of the question will demonstrate interest, level of knowledge and encourage the interviewer to interact with you on a less formal level.

6. Take your time:

Pause and think before answering difficult questions.

7. Be aware of current affairs:

A good way of finding some common ground.

8. Relaxation techniques:

- Begin your preparation well in advance (24 hours before if possible).
- Get a good night sleep.
- Leave yourself a few hours before to go over your interview checklist.
- Get to the interview early.
- Avoid caffeinated drinks.

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel" (Maya Angelou)

BODY LANGUAGE

Body Laguage

It’s not always WHAT you say it’s HOW you say it!

WHAT YOU SAY = 17%

VOICE & TONE = 22%

ENERGY & BODY LANGUAGE = 61%

Your body language is a reflection of your level of confidence, and a candidate with a lack of confidence isn’t one that can be an asset to the company. It’s actually very simple. Your body can betray your words if you aren’t careful. I’m not saying control all you movements and the way your body acts, but you have to pay more attention to the ones that can give away ‘inside information’.

For example:

  • eye-contact:

if you are confident and strong you will most likely keep the eye-contact, but if you lie or you are unsure about your chances you will look away.

  • smile:

a smile can make a big difference especially at the interview, can relax the tensioned atmosphere and it shows the others that you are a warm opened person.
- sit up straight: do not slouch, it shows insecurity

  • hands and legs calm and relaxed:

don’t start playing with your fingers or bounce your leg, just act normal and natural.

Eye Contact
Smile
  • keep distance:

don’t get in the face of your interviewer; I know that you are excited and all but it will become like a threat, just leave some space between you and him/her If you want to see how you react in these kinds of situations just repeat with a friend and ask him to pay attention at your body language; you might be surprised.

Also don’t forget about the tone of your voice. Don’t be monotone and boring, be enthusiastic, motivated, interested, after all your talking about yourself, if you not excited about yourself why should others be?


TECHNIQUES & ADVICE

There are ..2 crucial things that you MUST take into account at an interview:

1) Talk in FIRST person… Sell YOURSELF

What can YOU bring to the company?
Often people will slip into a type of conversation called “second person” when they are really talking about themselves. Use “I” or “my” instead of “you/your” as this simple word shifts the story from being about us to being about the person listening. You run the risk of losing the interviewer’s interest in the story–because they feel spoken at rather than spoken to.
For E.G: “You have to be able to get into work on time and you need to hit your targets”
NO
      “I’m always the first one into work and haven’t missed a sales target yet” YES :)
While this shift in language may not seem like a big deal, becoming a skilled communicator is. If you talk in second or third person, your prospective employer will be waiting for that ‘other’ person to walk through the door.

2) STORYTELLING… Be specific & give examples

Elaborate on answers as a simple Yes or No is not impressive.

Treat the interviewer’s questions as if you were in an exam
- Repeat the question
      - Use full sentences and avoid bullet point answers
            - Use examples & explain your reasons
For e.g: What are your key strengths?
      Bad answer:         Determined… Passionate…A winner
      Good answer:         My key strengths include my determined attitude and passion for
                                        my work; most importantly I strive to win.

Think “ STAR” when giving an example         Getting the weighting right

Situation - Outline of what you faced                         • 15% Setting

Task - What you decided to do                                              the scene

Action - Detailed description of the process         • 70% What you did

Result - The outcome                                                 • 15% Result

For E.G: “Describe a time when you demonstrated creative thinking”
Simple answer:
“It was last summer, summer 2008. It was the GM group. I helped them with their
website. We made it a lot better than it was and people really liked it. They’re still using it.”

Using STAR:
S: I worked at the GM group in Summer 2008 and
T: assisted in the development of their new website.
A:: I conducted an audit of similar sites and presented my findings to the development team, recommending the use of ‘pop-ups’ to advertise forthcoming events. Mindful of industry scepticism regarding their use, I researched available data and prepared visual design ideas. Despite their initial concerns, I persuaded them to allocate funds for an initial trial period.
R: Click-through rates were encouraging & the pop-ups are now a permanent addition to the website.

Be specific… Give examples… You are the STAR: of the story so remember that!

FACTORS THAT CAN COST YOUR JOB

Here are six factors that can help you remain in the unemployment zone:

Prepare, plan, and practice! In today’s tough job market, you MUST do everything you can to give yourself an edge… preparation is the key.

This is important during the interview and on the job. Being nervous can really mess up your communication skills, so being well prepared and practicing what you’re going to say are always your best bet.

No one wants to hire or work with people who think they’re better than everyone else. Be careful with your attitude, even if you think you’re surrounded by incompetent fools. Being confident is good. Being an arrogant jerk is bad.

Your teacher never bought “The dog ate my homework!” and your boss isn’t going to buy “The finance department gave me the wrong figures!” In the grown-up world, you have to take responsibility for what you are responsible for! You’ll never earn respect by blaming others when things go wrong.

Even if you left a job because the boss was an egomaniac who took credit for all of your hard work, verbally abused you in front of others, and poisoned the plant on your desk, don’t say anything bad about him/her during an interview. When asked “Why did you leave your last job?” say something like “My manager and I both agreed that my advancement opportunities were limited there and obtaining another position was the best option for me and my career goals.”

Why do people think you’ll be a lousy employee if you have a lousy handshake? That’s not really logical, is it? Doesn’t matter. It just turns people off and gives them a bad impression of you. So make your handshake firm and confident but not bone-crushing. (It’s not a competition to see who winces first!)

If you DON’T want to be unemployed, don’t let any of those traits apply to you!

QUESTIONS TO ASK AND NOT TO ASK AT AN INTERVIEW

1. How many other people work in the team? What are their job roles?

2. If the job is in a new department, ask about the reason for establishing the department and what the plans for growth are.

3. If the job is an old one, ask who you are replacing and why they have moved on.

4. Ask about appraisals and performance reviews – how often, will they be tied to pay increases or bonuses?

5. How will my performance be measured?

6. Can you describe your ideal employee? This is a great one – use it early on to find out what they are expecting so you can tailor your later responses to suit them!

7. A slightly more subtle approach than the last point would be to ask, “what skills and experience would you say are necessary for someone to succeed in this job?”.

8. Not suitable for senior management really, but asking interviewers what they like about working at the company can be a good way to start a conversation about your new workplace.

9. Likewise, asking your interviewer when they started with the company and why they have stayed with the company? In a polite way – try not to ask this with a grimace on your face! You want to get them talking a little – it strengthens your relationship with them just that little bit more which can make a difference.

10. (If you are being interviewed by the MD / owner) Hypothetical question – if you had to leave, how would you like to see the company be managed?

11. What scope for progress and promotion is there within the company?

12. What kind of work will I be responsible for over the next year?

13. Will I be expected to work late nights or at the weekend?

14. Can you describe a typical day or week in the job?

15. What makes this company stand apart from the competition?

16. In your opinion, what is the most important attribute / achievement / quality you would like to see from me within my trial period?

17. Do you have any questions about my ability to do this job? This one ain’t great most of the time – they would have brought any questions they had already. However, the point you are trying to make with this is to show them your proactive attitude and confidence. This could add a positive to your interview if other areas haven’t been great (lack of experience, etc).

18. Having reviewed my CV and interviewed me, what qualities do you see in me?

19. Are you interviewing more people for this position?

20. Are there any areas you feel I would need to work on in order to become your top choice for the job?

21. Do your employees socialise outside of the workplace? OK, with this one you don’t want to seem like you will be out of the door 4pm Friday and straight to the pub! But it is worth getting an idea of how the office life will be – perhaps ask if they have any company sports teams, etc. Basically ask them to quantify the atmosphere of the office.

22. How would you describe the core responsibilities of the position? Only if this hasn’t been covered – you don’t want to seem stupid!

23. Will the job involve much travelling? If so, how much?

24. When are you looking for someone to start?

25. When can I expect to hear from you?

26. Would you like a list of references or any additional information from me?

27. Does the job involve any form of training? How will this be implemented and monitored?

28. (If there are other people in a similar job role to you) What attributes / traits would you say are necessary for someone to be successful within this job role?

29. Could you explain the company structure to me? This lets them clarify the management and departmental structure within the company. It will also help you get a better idea of how your role will fit into the company.

30. Does the job role have any pressing concerns that you will need me to tackle as soon as I start? This could refer to accounts / clients that need managed because someone left, or it could be asking them for a timeline of priorities if you are setting up a new department.

31. Does the team or job role I’ll be working in have any specific weaknesses right now that you would like to be address? This is a softer version of the previous question really.

32. What software / systems does your company use? Know your industry so you know how to ask this question properly.

33. What are the company’s plans for the future? This can be a great question – it will allow management to boast and you can nod and seem like you are interested. Try to keep this discussion going with some follow up questions about the interviewers answer.

34. What challenges might I face in this position?

35. Have any previous employees failed to perform in this position and what would you say was the reason for that?

36. What misconceptions do people have about the organisation?

37. What are the company’s core business goals?

38. How effectively have these goals been communicated over the past 12 months? These 2 questions are great although they can throw off less organised managers and could work as a negative!

39. How does the company reward or recognise outstanding work and excellence?

40. Will my roles be limited to what has been outlined in my job description or will I be expected to take on other tasks as needed? If so, to what extent do you foresee this being the case?

This is good for you – you need to know if you are going to sign up to be a shoe maker and eventually end up being a belt maker or not!

Questions NOT to Ask in an Interview

question not to ask in interview

If this is a telecommuting job, the job description would have said so. Asking to work from home implies that you dislike working with others, you do not work well under direct supervision, or you have a difficult schedule to work around. Occasionally, employees who have held a position for a long period are allowed to telecommute, but this is not a concession you should ask for on a first interview.

Avoid asking any questions about the company that you could have researched beforehand on the company website. These questions demonstrate that you have not done your research, and imply that you are not interested in the position.

Do not discuss previous commitments before being offered a position. Asking about time off before getting a job offer implies that you are not going to be a fully committed employee.

This question puts employers on the spot and makes you appear impatient. Instead, you could ask for more information on the next step in the hiring process. For example, you can ask, "Do you generally do multiple rounds of interviews with job candidates?" However, if they are interested in you, most employers will give you this information before the end of the interview.

Questions about hours and extra work imply that you are hoping to work as little as possible. A better question would be, "What is a typical workday like?" The answer will likely give you insight into expected work hours.

This question implies that you are not interested in the position for which you are applying, and that you are merely waiting to move on to something better. Instead, you could ask the employer, "What are some of the opportunities for growth at this company?"

Wait until you are offered the position before you begin asking questions about benefits. However, if there is a benefit that you require from a job (such as a particular type of health insurance, a daycare program, etc.), bring it up with human resources rather than the interviewer.

More Questions Not to Ask

  • What is the astrological sign of the company president?
  • Can I see the break room?
  • How late can I be to work without getting fired?
  • How long is lunch?
  • Can I bring my dog to work?
  • Will I have to take a drug test?
  • Does this company monitor Internet usage?
  • How many warnings do you get before you are fired?