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tips for a successful interview

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A checklist to success!
No one really enjoys going for interviews. Perhaps because of how infrequently we experience them, it is all too easy to forget how intimidating they can be. And because we’re not used to talking about our careers day to day in a way most interviews require, we find ourselves delving into territory that seems awkwardly unfamiliar. There is some consolation to be had in the fact that these feelings are all completely common and normal however, with a little planning a preparation, there are things you can do to allow you to become more confident and capable of successfully making a brilliant impression at your next job interview.

Know the company

If you’re going through Artisan, your Consultant will have spent some time talking you through both the job description and the company as well as a preparatory session prior to the interview. However, if you’re doing it alone, you will want to make sure you’ve done some research into the company so that you’re aware of their history and what kind of clients they work with.

“You’ll be amazed how many people walk into interviews knowing very little about the company they’re applying to work for”, says Mathew Hehir, Artisan Consultant. “Employers are looking for people who are going to fit into their company culture and that can only be obtained by doing a little research into the company and what kind of work they do. It reinforces that you’re the right person for the role and makes a great impression in the process.”

Invest the time to practice

Some might think going into the interview and ‘winging’ it would be the best way however this may end up presenting you in not the best light. You need to be prepared to answer any question they present eloquently and precisely; “Yes” and “No” responses just don’t cut it in job interviews.

The only way to achieve this is to preempt what questions might be asked and having responses ready to go. Chances are that the interview will revolve around two types of questioning; behavioral questions that focus on your prior experience to qualify your ability and more traditional questioning, such as “what are your strengths and weaknesses”. Going for a response that highlights a past experience is the best way to respond; it allows you to keep the focus on your success as well as reinforce your capability.

Additionally, having your key responses ready and practiced down pat is going to allow your the luxury of walking into your interview feeling even more confident. A quick search on your favourite internet search engine will provide several sites with a list of questions for you to consider and practice with.

Before the interview

Make sure you arrive 5-10 minutes early.
Make sure you’re dressed appropriately for the occasion.
Turn off your mobile phone.
Make sure you smell nice and that your breathe is fresh.
Be professional and polite to everybody – you don’t know who the employer may be getting opinions from and it could just be the receptionist or the people you pass as you’re walking to the interview room.

During the interview

Listen carefully to the questions and take a moment to consider your response before replying. If you don’t understand the question, make sure you ask for clarification. Don’t waffle on with your responses either – keep them precise, to the point and always positive.

Don’t talk negatively about previous employers, no matter what the situation. “Speaking negatively and bitterly about a previous employer or workplace in your interview also rings alarm bells for me”, says Elke Braithwaite, Artisan Consultant. “It suggests that the candidate may be a bit of a pot-stirrer and prone to inciting office politics. Despite your previous experiences, finding something positive to draw from your previous employer is always a winner.”

Be aware of your ‘non-verbal communication’; sit up straight, make eye contact, maintain a smile and don’t fidget.

Most importantly, be confident, enthusiastic and yourself – after all, an interview is as much an interview for the employer to the employee as it is for the employee to the employer. Having said that, don’t be too confident as this may come across as cocky, arrogant and egotistical. You want to ensure that you remain positive, professional and calm the whole time whilst you present why you’re the best person for the job.

“Skill set will get you through the door however, once you’re in, that’s when you’ll have to show your personality”, says Mathew. “No one likes a wet mop!”

“I know of an incident where a potential employee going into a job interview felt it would be acceptable to recline in their chair and pop their feet up on the end of the table”, says Lawrence. “As you can guess, the candidate in question didn’t get that role. In fact, one reason I hear frequently for discounting someone for a role is often that they presented poorly, couldn’t answer questions and just didn’t seem to really care about the job.”

Follow Up

If you’ve gone through an agency, give your Consultant a call straight after the interview in order to give them feedback. They may even have feedback from the employer by this stage too and, fingers crossed, the job could be yours!

If you haven’t gone through an agency, send a quick thank you note to the interviewer; this will let them know you’ve appreciated their time and that you’re still eager on the role.

Do you have an amusing interview story that you would like to share? Email and we’ll put together the best stories for a future article.