Interview techniques

8 things you should NEVER do in an interview.

(a slightly tongue in cheek look at the common mistakes made in any interview)

1 - Arrive unprepared

Nothing looks worse than someone who knows nothing about the company. If you have to ask the interview panel to remind you of what the position was then you’re in trouble.

Tip:You don’t have to know the names of every member of the company, but make an effort to get to know some keys names, read some recent articles and check out their website. If you can, talk to someone who already works there so you can get a feel for what the company is about.

2 – Dress inappropriately

Arriving in skin tight jeans and the latest handbag won’t do, nor will other inappropriate attire, such as mini skirts, combats, cords, or tracksuits etc. You may look good for heading out on a Saturday night but you won’t be taken seriously in the corporate world.

Tip : You don’t have to spend a fortune to look good, a simple suit with some simple accessorising and careful makeup with a good pair of shoes for the ladies and for the men, a basic suit with a clean, ironed shirt and tie. Simple, but so effective in giving the essential first impression.

3 - Give a limp handshake.

The one your mum’s friends give you or that slimy guy in accounting. A handshake says a lot about a person.

Tip: If you give a firm, strong handshake (without cutting off the blood supply) then that’s the type of person that you come across as. If you give a weak, wet one then the same applies. Even if you don’t feel strong and confident, play a role, act it out. Practise it a few times in the week coming up to the interview and it will come more naturally.

4 – Look at the floor.

Even if you give the best handshake in the world but seem to find the floor more interesting, you’ve lost your audience.

Tip:Every time you’re asked a question meet the gaze of each person on the panel in turn. You don’t have to be at a tennis match, frantically meeting each set of eyes for a couple of seconds, but do hold the attention of the people who are looking at you.

5- Lie

You will be caught out. Interviewers are experts and will see through you.

Tip: Be honest. That doesn’t mean to say you need to tell them that the 10 month sabbatical was about finding yourself at the bottom of a beer glass, or that the 2 month holiday was spent in an Ashram in India, you don’t need to disclose personal information. Do say that you needed time out to reassess your life and re-prioritise. This then allowed you to come back to your career with a renewed sense of who you are and where your passions lie, this led you to look for a position with their company.

6 – Have no interest in the job.

A friend of mine told me recently how, as she was conducting an interview she asked the applicant about her availability as the role required weekend work. (This had been stated on the advertisement). The girl stopped, thought for a while and then informed her she’d be away for Oxigen, a family holiday, the obligatory pre back to college holiday, and a weekend away with the girls. So “I’m like free for a Saturday in August”. This doesn’t go down well with employers.

Tip: They’re paying you so be flexible and work to their agenda.

7 – Falsify your cv.

Another version of lying, you will be caught out. They will check up on your references, and if your area is a small one then your reputation could be affected.

Tip: Tell the truth! You can be fancy with it for e.g “I spent a period of my contract working with other team members to enhance communication and a good working environment within the team” – roughly translated from – I was part of the social committee.

8 – Forget the names of the people who are interviewing you

Saying “sorry what was your name again?” doesn’t bode well for a good interview.

Tip: Make associations to make it easier to remember your interviewer’s names.

Good luck!

Ellen


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