Interview Skills - PreparationTuesday, 24 April 2012
Today on Let's Get Working we'll be focusing on part 1 of interview skills. A job interview gives you the chance to show the employer that you are the best person for the job by talking about your skills, qualifications and past experience. You've got the employer's attention, so don't waste it.
Before the Interview
So you've been asked to attend a job interview, but what should you do before and on the day of the interview to make sure everything runs smoothly.
Before attending an interview you need to look clean and tidy. Make sure you have:
- Bathed or showered
- You have combed your hair and had a haircut if necessary
- Wearing professional looking clothes.
What you wear to the interview will tell the employer a lot about you. It may not be what you'll wear during the day to day operation of the job, but you should dress to impress.
At some of the interviews I have attended, I have been more professionally dressed then the interviewer. Each of these employers told me that while I will not be required to dress this way for the job, they did appreciated that I dressed up for the interview.
The following is a guide of what to wear when you want to look professional.
- A solid coloured suit - don't mix colours
- A Long sleeve shirt matching your suit
- A Belt
- A Tie - solid colour or simple pattern. No pictures
- Dark socks & Leather shoes
- No jewellery
- Neat hairstyle
- Suit with pants or a skirt
- Coordinated blouse or button down shirt
- Conservative shoes
- Limited jewellery (no dangling earrings or arms full of bracelets)
- Neat hairstyle
- A Light amount of make-up and perfume
- Clean nails - no bright nail polish
Suits are not required for all industries. If you are unsure of what to wear, it is ok to ask the interviewer beforehand what interview attire is acceptable.
By researching the company you will be able to show the employer that you are serious about working for their company. You can use the information you learn to tell the employer what impresses you about their company, what makes you want to work for them and how your skills can bring value to the employer and their company.
It doesn't look good when you are asked the question, 'What do you know about my company?' and you say, nothing.
Preparation & Planning
There are a few final things you should prepare and plan for before you attend the interview.
- You should print your resume and ensure your portfolio of educational and any required work samples are ready.
- To prevent those awkward pauses when asked a question, you should prepare some answers to the most common questions beforehand. We will go over the types of questions asked in Part 2 of Interview Skills.
- You should look into how you will get to the interview. What mode of transport will you use, what building is the interview in and how you will get there. If you are still unsure it helps to do a trial run the day before and travel there. This means you won't get lost on the day.
During the Interview
Travel - You should plan to arrive at the interview 15-30 minutes before it starts. This will ensure that you are on time and prevent you from being late should something happen to your travel plans.
Greeting - Greet the interviewer, say who you are, shake their hand and wait to be asked to sit. The interviewer may want you to sit in a particular spot, so wait for their direction.
Fidgeting - While you may be nervous during the interview, try to avoid fidgeting. You shouldn't tap your feet on the group, tap your hands on the table or play with items in your hands such as pens or pieces of paper. If you can, it is best to keep your hands still in front of you.
Confidence - Be polite, smile and act confident. The employer will know that you are nervous, but it's best not to show it. The employer is after someone to do the job, so show them that you are confident you can.
Speaking - When speaking to the employer, don't mumble or talk quietly. If the interviewer can't hear what you are saying, then the interviewer might as well be over. If while you're speaking you get tongue tied or forget what you were saying, don't point it out or draw attention to it. Just calmly pause for a moment, think about what you were saying and started again.
Focus - Give the employer your full attention. Don't stare around the room or continually look at the clock. If you show a lack of interest in what the employer is saying or keep starring at the clock, the employer will think you have some place better to be and may decide it isn't worth continuing the interview.
Ask questions - Asking questions at the end of an interview shows that have put thought into the interview beforehand. You need to find out if this is the type of place you want to work for, so make sure it is.
Phone Off - Make sure your phone is turned off, not just on vibrate. You are there to impress the interviewer, not to receive or make phone calls. Whoever it is can wait until after the interview.
Before you go - At the end of the interview make sure you thank the interviewer before you leave.