Please take the time to read this if you are going to an interview. Some may find the following suggestions a little obvious, however as with many things it is often wise to revisit the basics every once in a while. After all, if you fall down on these basic principles you won’t get past the starting line.
Each and every one of us will approach an interview in our own unique style; what is common to everyone is a certain uneasiness. In order to give you the best possible chance of arriving feeling confident, Onyx Recruitment will give you a thorough briefing, ideally face to face, just before the interview. Knowledge is power and the more you know about the company’s products, culture and requirements, the better chance you have of success.
We will provide you with directions, route plans and estimated travel times. But please ensure that you allow yourself sufficient time so that you arrive calm and collected.
We will tell you all we can about the role and the organisation. However, with so much information readily available on the internet we strongly recommend you allow time to research the organisation and marketplace in more detail.
Prepare a list of questions that you would like answered about the company and the role you are going for. Remember that an interview is a two-way process.
Review the “interview questions” guide provided by Onyx Recruitment and prepare answers to as many questions as possible by actually writing down your responses.
First impressions count, so make the right one. Wearing suitable business dress even in a ‘dress down’ environment is important at interview.
Don’t ignore the receptionist; they might later be asked what they thought of you. Additionally, they may be able to provide you with some interesting background about the company, the building or even the person you are about to meet.
There is nothing better than a limp handshake to make a negative impression. Monitoring body language is now an accepted part of assessing a candidate so from the very first moment you must give a confident air.
Make eye contact and appear interested. This can make you look strong, confident and attentive. If you are nervous, try to relax. Something as simple as smiling can be all it takes to put both sides at ease. Remember the interviewer has been and will be in your position again at some point in their career and it is very unusual for them to try to make you feel uncomfortable on purpose. Don’t enter the discussion with the negative thought that they will be constantly trying to catch you out. They are simply keen to find out if you would be a good fit for the role and their team.
Try not to totally dominate the meeting or interrupt the interviewer. People with an excellent knowledge of a particular area have a tendency to over-elaborate; don’t! Give concise and accurate answers and give brief examples wherever possible to back up what you are saying. If the interviewer has any doubts about your ability or is keen to see how you have put something into practice, they can always ask you to elaborate further.
During the interview
If you have done your preparation thoroughly there shouldn’t be any nasty surprises. You should already have a good understanding of the organisation and the role. However, from time to time there can be unforeseen changes, questions or scenarios that you haven’t planned for. If this is the case, relax, think about your answer and then discuss it with the interviewer. Do not start talking just to fill an awkward silence. Whatever you say cannot be “stricken from the record” later!
Hopefully, the interviewer will ask you why you think you are right for the job. This is your big moment. It is a “sales” situation and you must blow your own trumpet! Nobody can guess that you are a brilliant organiser / clever with budgets / an excellent motivator unless you tell them and give them some evidence! Be enthusiastic but factual in describing your skills and abilities.
Describe experience and personal strengths that you know from your research are relevant to the role in question and give short examples of achievements in these areas.
If it is obvious that the interview is drawing to a close and you feel there are some important areas of your past experience that have not been explored, then steer the conversation back to them. In some situations, the interviewer will not be experienced and may not even have asked you why you are relevant for the job, assuming instead that they already know the answer.
Just one word of caution though, as already mentioned, don’t become a bore and over-elaborate just because you know the subject!
Before you leave, tell them you want the job
After all, isn’t this why you went along in the first place? A keen candidate is much more likely to be offered the role than one who shows little interest. Tell them you want the job and ask if there is anything in your background or experience that they are unsure about. It is much easier to clear up any potential misunderstanding and to persuade them that you are the right person for the job while you are still face to face with them.
Always try to leave one or two questions in reserve. Traditionally at the end of the meeting, you will be asked if you have any more questions and you will then have something left in your arsenal should you decide you need it. However, if you can avoid discussing holiday entitlement, sick pay and other benefits at the first interview this is normally wise.
If after the interview you think of something you wished you had asked, your consultant at Onyx Recruitment can always ask for you.
Following the interview
It is important that you contact your consultant at Onyx Recruitment as soon as you are able to after leaving the interview. This is so that any questions you have are still fresh in your mind, but more importantly, so that we get your initial “gut reaction” which we consider to be vital, rather than getting the more considered and watered down version of events some hours later.
Clients are also keen to receive your feedback as soon as possible. It shows confidence and good decision-making ability.
Although Onyx Recruitment will follow up the interview on your behalf, there is nothing to stop you dropping a short letter to the interviewer to thank them for their time and to reiterate your interest in the opportunity.
If you are offered the role; well done! However, if you are not successful this time or decide it is not the role for you, we will provide you with detailed feedback and look forward to continuing to assist you in your search for a new position. Good luck!