Interviews ? Little details that can let you down.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Interviews – Little details that can let you down.

A comment on some less obvious issues relating to jobs and career change activity.

A good salesperson will begin their presentations by selling themselves before they start selling their services. So how do they sell themselves to the client?

They establish a rapport verbally and non-verbally in the opening minutes by;

  • Giving a firm handshake
  • Establishing eye contact and smiling
  • Using the interviewer's name and giving undivided attention
  • Showing calmness and confidence
  • Looking the part and being well-groomed

To sell yourself, you must identify with your interviewer before you can sell yourself. Aim to get the interviewer to like you before you start selling your work skills and achievements.  Remember that an employer is buying more than a product - people buy people first. 

Sell Yourself First:

Sell own personality and attempt to establish a rapport - especially in the early stages.

Sell your worth, skills and experience and show confidence and enthusiasm.

Looks for buying signals, outline where you can present solutions to problems.


What an Interviewer/Employer will like:

  • Manner:                       Polite, sincere, alert
  • Sales:                          Presentation: clear, concise, well prepared
  • Timekeeping:              Punctuality, no time wasting
  • Knowledge:                 Own skills and employer’s company and products
  • Sensitivity to Needs:   Listening, not trying to sell where there is no need
  • Appearance:               Smart, fresh, clean, appropriate dress

Why are Preparation and Practice Necessary?

Our minds work very fast and are often way ahead of our ability to articulate.  At an interview, the brain races ahead, filling all the gaps while we are still groping for the right words.

Interviews are fraught with tensions on both sides, to some degree you may even feel that you are the underdog in the encounter and may become annoyed with yourself if not at your best.  There is a great deal at stake: the chance to prove yourself and, of course, that all important job.

The impressions you make in those first few moments can outweigh all of a superb record.  Practice means rehearsing, first by yourself and later by role-playing with others, friends or professionals, as much as possible.

Try to anticipate and simulate the real encounters ahead.  You may feel a little foolish in practising like this sometimes, especially if you are doing so on your own, but it will all add to your sharpness when those all important 'for real' interviews come along.

The Interview:

To almost everyone, an interview is an ordeal.  For the executive with so much at stake, to present himself as an ideal applicant in roughly one hour, facing a potential employer can be a nightmare.  For the entry-level people, the first interview can be terrifying.

It need not be.  Practice will help you to feel at ease and in control, so that only what is best and what is required comes across.  This takes time, care and expertise.                           

Preparation and Practice are Essential. 

1.  Know your own product:  Study your C.V.

·      Recap on your achievements and skills

·      Compare all your skills and abilities with any specified requirements

·     Think through relevant work issues you dealt with in the past.  Recall every detail in sequence.  In other words, refresh your memory in advance, don’t wait until you are asked and then start trying to recall a past event.


2.  Research the company:  Company details.

·      The Structure, - Products, - Activities, - Directors, etc.


3.  Prepare your own questions:

Prepare about 4/6 questions about the company and the market but not about terms of employment or remuneration. Most company websites have all the information you may need.


Planning and Preparation:

‘Must Do’s’ before an interview.  All painfully obvious but are overlooked again and again.


Confirm the Interview:

  • Check the time.
  •  Ask who will interview you.
  • Obtain a job description.

Plan how to get there:

  • Ensure you are going to the right location if the company has multiple offices.
  • Choose your transport and check travel times.

Dress the Part:

  • Remember that you are a professional about to conduct a business meeting. Appearances and first impressions count.
  • If in doubt about your clothes, err on the side of conservatism.
  • Check with people you know well, ask them what impression you really create!
  • Make the most of your appearance.

Arrive on time:

  • Allow yourself time to cool down and freshen up.
  • Browse around the waiting room: there may be useful literature available.
  • Run through your selling points again.
  • In some cases be prepared to fill in an application form.
  • Avoid idle conversation with others; concentrate on what you are going to say.


Face to Face:

  • The interviewer is on home territory so wait for him/her to introduce themselves.
  • Smile - eye contact is essential.
  • Use the interviewer's name occasionally.

When going to an interview, remember to take with you:

  • Several copies of your C.V.
  • Possibly an application form.
  • Copy of the job specification, if available.
  • A list of questions you need to be answered.

Carry them in an easily opened folder within your briefcase so you can retrieve them easily without fuss.


At the Interview:


  • Turn off your mobile before entering the premises
  • Greet interviewer with warm and firm handshake
  • Maintain good eye contact throughout
  • Sit properly - relaxed but not slouched
  • Tell the truth and listen carefully to what’s said
  • Answer the question you are asked, clearly
  • Dress smartly and conservatively
  • Smile



  • Fold your arms or interrupt the interviewer
  • Criticise past employers or colleagues
  • Be personal or familiar
  • Ask about salary
  • Swear - even mildly
  • Smoke before an interview.  Mints don’t work.



Never, ever ARGUE. When you think you are arguing with an idiot ….. SO DO THEY!

Assertiveness and Body Language:

Again I stress the importance of being aware of your body language and mindful of posture, eye contact, gestures, appearance and breathing, etc. If you are nervous, hold something in your hands, for example, your glasses or perhaps a biro.  It will stop you fidgeting. Modulate your tone.  Smile. Give plenty of smiles throughout the interview.  Nobody wants a dull, old bore on their staff.

If your interviewer jokes, laugh nicely but do not try to joke back. Respond to small talk with a little small talk but do not take the lead and ramble on about a subject you alone have any interest.

Be brief, be to the point, be factual, be pleasant, state only facts and do not offer opinions unless asked, and do not forget;


The answers to virtually all the questions you may be asked are all within your own bank of information. Your achievements and your skills are all in your C.V.

Use this Information in all your Answers.

Good Luck


Colm Cavey

Top Tips by PCC, or better known as the Jobdoctor, provides professionally delivered, supportive and most importantly, successful career change and redeployment assistance to clients from all sectors of Industry. Inquiries are welcome and treated in strict confidence.

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