The interview itself
The interview is a sales situation and a big part of it being successful for you depends on your ability to sell yourself as a potential employee. Be prepared to market your skills and experiences as they relate to the position described. Describe your qualifications in terms of the particular set of skills and attributes the employer is looking for.
It is also an opportunity for the interviewer to search out your strengths and weaknesses. They will evaluate you on your qualifications, skills and aptitudes, ability and motivation. To do all this successfully, it is important to communicate effectively and remember the first 20 seconds are vital.
Speak clearly and enthusiastically about your experience and skills. Be professional, bright and personable – don't be afraid to let your personality shine through.
Listen carefully – you certainly want to be able to answer the question that was just asked of you.
Be positive... avoid being critical of your past position or employer, even if it is warranted. If you are asked about a demotion or sudden change in job, don't be defensive: briefly state the facts and what you learned from the experience.
During the interview
Smile and make eye contact during the course of the interview.
There is a school of thought that believes only half the interview's decision is based on what you say – the rest is down to behaviour.
Don't be afraid of short pauses. If you need a few seconds to think of an answer – take it. The interviewer may need time to consider their next question. Do not feel it is necessary to fill every second with conversation.
Positive things that an employer will be looking for in an interview:
- Good communication skills
- Willingness to work hard
- Professional appearance
Negative things that an employer will be looking for in an interview:
- Poor appearance
- Poor communication skills
- Lack of confidence
- Negative attitudes
- Abrupt replies
- High-pressure selling
After your interview
When the interview has finished make a note of all questions asked for future reference.
Show confidence and interest, regardless of how you think the interview went. You may not think it has gone very well but your interviewer may think you are great!
Finally, again no matter how you think the interview went, be sure to thank the interviewer for their time.
First interviews are about getting a feel for a candidate and allow recruiters to make a short list.
Second interviews usually involve people you will be working closely with, your boss, colleagues etc. Second interviews are typically much tougher. The interviewers probe in a more in-depth fashion and you may be asked some tough questions.
For this reason, it is critical you prepare for a second interview as well as the first.
Remember you are now up against tough opposition. Many candidates become over confident, thinking that once they have passed the first interview they are flying. However this is a mistake.
Think about industry issues, technical questions if applicable, salary expectations and even what you would do if you were offered the job on the spot!
Try and find out who will be interviewing you as this may give you an insight into the sort of questions you may be asked.
And finally, whatever interview you have,