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The Interview

Never lose sight of why you are attending the interview. Remember the interview is a selling situation - and in this scenario, you are both the sales person and the product!! It is your job to convince the client that you are the best person for the job and they should offer you the job. Only if they say yes do you have the option to proceed. If they turn you down - it doesn’t matter what you think about the position on offer.

Hints & Tips

In advance

Essential preparation:

  • Be certain of the time, date and location of the interview.
  • Aim to arrive 5-10 minutes before the interview start time.
  • Do not arrive any earlier; it could be perceived as poor time management!
  • Make sure you know the name (including correct pronunciation) and position, of the person(s) interviewing you.
  • Know where you are going.
  • Do a trial run if you are not sure. Take into account weather, time of day, road works
  • Do your research.
  • Be prepared to answer stock questions, they may be passe but people still ask:
  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • What adjectives describe you?
  • How would those who know you describe you?
  • Another interview favourite that ALWAYS gets asked is:
  • What do you know about us?
  • Clearly you cannot tell an interviewer anything he doesn’t already know about his own company – but doing your research is often perceived as a measure of your interest in the position.

Sources of information to answer this question include:

The company’s own website
Company literature and brochures
Other on-line sources including: www.companies-house.gov.uk, www.dunandbrad.co.uk (Dun and Bradstreet), www.brad.co.uk (for advertising agency/marketing info)

  • Plan and prepare for the interview
  • Do not assume that the interviewer will ask all the right questions to get the best out of you.
  • Think about what impression you want them to have of you?
  • How will you create that impression?
  • What would you like the interviewer to know about you, and what information is essential?
  • If you are not asked directly how will you impart this information?
  • What are your major career achievements and why are they relevant to this situation?
  • What is the benefit to the company in employing you?
  • What do you want to get out of the interview – what is your objective?
  • How are you going to achieve this?
  • Think about what you are eating and drinking
  • Avoid curries and foods containing garlic the night before

On The Day

There is a school of thought that suggests people subconsciously form opinions within 10 seconds of meeting someone. Since you only have one opportunity to make a first impression, you need to get it right.
Wear appropriate attire. A dark coloured business suit, with a white shirt/blouse with a smart tie or appropriate accessories for ladies: always looks sharp. Don’t spoil the image you are trying to create.

For gents don’t fill your pockets with a heavy bulging wallet, mobile phone and diary, they spoil the cut of your suit. DO NOT display a selection of pens in the outside pocket of your suit or the pocket of your shirt. Remove any lapel badges. Being a Blood Donor is indeed commendable but is a badge in keeping with the professional image you are trying to present.
For ladies keep the contents of your handbag to the essential items. A heavy handbag hanging from your shoulder will distort and crease your suit jacket.

  • Ensure your shoes are clean and polished
  • Pay attention to your personal grooming.
  • Consider in advance whether you need a haircut.
  • Gents: Shave on the day – not the night before.
  • Ladies: Be mindful of your make-up, don’t overdo it.
  • Don’t overdo the aftershave/perfume.
  • Use a deodorant – it is not uncommon to perspire in an interview.
  • Don’t wear excessive jewellery.
  • If you have visible body piercings (besides ears) we recommend removing the pins/rings/studs for the interview. Ask for the advice of your Consultant.
  • Decline Tea/Coffee if offered
  • Upon arrival and whilst waiting for your interviewer, if you are offered refreshments, it is probably wise to decline.

The worse case scenario of coffee spilt on a white shirt/blouse just as the interviewer arrives to greet you will not look impressive. At best juggling your drink with your briefcase and/or handbag as you make your way up two flights of stairs will do nothing to settle the nerves. Saying yes and leaving the drink in reception is clearly not the action of a person who knows their own mind, and will not impress the receptionist who made the drink and has to clear up after you – and remember that person might just be asked their opinion!!

Meet and greet.
Try to relax.
Be yourself. It’s no use trying to be something you are not. If you get the job, living up to expectations could be very difficult.
Smile – it’s infectious
Sell yourself to everyone you meet. Remember, the minions may not be the decision-makers, but they could be asked for their opinions.
Offer a firm handshake. There is nothing worse than shaking hands with someone whose handshake is like a wet fish

The Meeting - Basic Do’s and Don’ts.
Sit upright in your seat.
Pay attention and listen to the interviewer
Don’t interrupt. EVER!! Even if you think you know the question. Wait. Do something really intelligent. Demonstrate your listening skills – and get the answer right.
Smile before you answer questions – it relaxes your interviewer, creates warmth and empathy and suggests you are enjoying the meeting.
Be aware of your body language.
Don’t fidget with your pen, your mug, your clipboard, your presenter or anything.
If you fold your hands in front of you DON’T clench your hands so tight your knuckles go white - it’s a sure sign of tension.
Maintain regular eye contact throughout – both when talking and when listening
Speak clearly in a confident voice. Don’t mumble.
DON’T swear - we all do it, but an interview is not the forum for demonstrating the plethora of expletives in your vocabulary (not even if your interviewer does so)
When interviewed by more than one person, address the speaker, but be sure to include others through eye contact.
DON’T look at your watch or the clock on the wall – unless you really have had enough and want to wrap things up quickly.
Switch off your mobile phone.
Take your brag file and use it. If you haven’t got one – get one. If you don’t know what a brag file is phone us and we will explain.
Prepare a list of intelligent questions.
Since we will furnish you with the necessary information you should NOT ask about the remuneration and benefits package at the first interview.

Close the interview. How? Read on.

Closing the interview
If you are interested in the position – tell the interviewer – don’t assume the interviewer knows your thoughts.
Close on the objectives you have set yourself. i.e. getting a second interview or getting the job.
There are a number of different closes you can try, ranging from a soft close to the direct close. Never leave the interview without trying at least one of them. For example:

“Mr Interviewer, based on what we have discussed and the way you have described the job I am very interested in this opportunity. Can you tell me what the next stage process is, and where do we go from here?” or “Mr Interviewer, based on what we have discussed and the way you have described the job I am very interested in this opportunity. Tell me, what reservations do you have about me and my ability to do the job?”
If you use this close, it is important to ask the question properly as written above. DO NOT ask – “do you have any reservations” since this is less likely to illicit an open and honest response. Since you are looking for honest answers, listen, and be prepared to overcome the reservations presented to you.
This can be done as follows:
“I’m pleased you have raised that point, since it is something I have not covered in any detail so far. I have got relevant experience that addresses this particular concern and can demonstrate this using this scenario as an example:…………… “
“Tell me does this satisfy your concern? What other concerns or reservations do you have?”

When you get to the point where the interviewer finally states that he/she has no concerns or reservations.

Close using one of the following:

“Since you have no other reservations does that mean…
a. I have done enough to get a second interview?”
b. I have done enough to convince you to give me the job?”
“That’s great, so what’s stopping you offering me the job here and now?”
The interviewer will usually counter this by stating the need to interview other candidates before a decision can be made. Don’t be fobbed off, you’ve come this far – go for the jugular.

“Based on the candidates you have seen so far, and if you weren’t seeing other people would you be prepared to offer me the job?”
“What else have I got to do to convince you to give me the job?”

After the interview

Phone your Consultant with your feedback
What do you like about the job?
Did you tell the interviewer you were interested and wanted the job
Does the opportunity presented by this role potentially satisfy your career aspirations?
What are your concerns and reservations?
Do you want to take it further
Would you accept the position if you were offered?