A friend of a friend rang me last night for some advice, she had applied for a job and been called for interview today but decided last night the job just wasn't for her and was wondering what she should do about the interview today. From past experience as the HR person receiving this news it’s always always always better to phone and let them know first thing the morning of the interviews. I have been at the receiving end of texts from candidates, emails and “missed” calls and to be honest those were a bonus because if I scheduled 5 interviews for a day, chances are 2 wouldn’t show on the day and would never be heard of again.
This led me to thinking about some interview tips I generally give when I get calls from friends or family looking for some help. I should point out that these calls are generally under the misguided belief that I work for a recruitment agency which as Rebecca has ranted about in the past is a common mistake people make.
1. Research – I know everyone says this and you might laugh it off and say “ya ya, I always come across better to people when I wing it” – DON’T WING IT!!! Before the interview - at least 24 hours before as opposed to 10 minutes before - do some research. Look up the company’s website, learn three things about them, how many employees they have, what they specialize in, something about their product base or client base. Be able to explain in your own words what they do. It doesn’t matter how basic the explanation or how simple the information you have learned – the fact that you went to the effort to find out some information really does go a long way in an interview.
2. Know your dates – the day before run through your CV, know your dates especially – there is nothing worse than someone sitting in front of you reeling off different dates to what is on their CV. Don’t lie, it will come back to haunt you – several times while recruiting we have received a CV from a candidate who has forgotten they already applied 4 years ago so we have them on file and their CV is completely different now, different dates and places of employment but the same person. It might work once or twice but you will get caught out eventually. (Paul Mullan has some interesting thoughts about Effective Hunting and recording logs)
3. Know the job spec – Speaks for itself really, know what the employer wants, put their requirements and skills into your own words and be able to explain them back to the employer so that it shows you understand their needs.
4. Have examples ready – Be able to give examples in your current job or a past role or even college where you have demonstrated the skills and requirements they are looking for in the role. The interviewer again sees you are prepared, sees you are interested and sees you are qualified to do the role (and it fits with their Competancy Based Interview).
5. Don’t fidget – When you arrive at the offices of the employer, even though you are nervous don’t fidget. Don’t sit on your hands to stop yourself from fidgeting either. Don’t cross your arms because its bad body language – sit with your hands loosely on your lap or on the table in front of you. Don’t lounge in the seat – I know you are probably sitting there saying, who in their right mind would go into an interview and lounge – believe me I have seen it, they do! It’s a misguided belief that it shows you are so confident and relaxed but it just makes you look cocky! If you want water, ask for it, if you need a minute to gather yourself ask for it – don’t be afraid of the interviewer, remember they are just people like you or me at the end of the day!
No doubt you all have many more tips to share so feel free to pop them into the comment box below.