A few weeks ago we posted the first part of Gradfeed’s top 11 interview tips aimed at students. If you want to refresh click here.
Otherwise carry on reading Part 2:
- Confidence is key – This ties in with points 2 on looking the part and point 4 on body language, but confidence really can make the difference in an interview, and give you the edge over competing candidates. Now we aren’t talking here about going in all guns blazing, shouting your points across and sitting back and being cocky. It’s a fine line to judge, but the truth is confidence doesn’t necessarily mean loud, which can be a common misconception. Sitting back and taking in the questions, then delivering answers in a self-assured manner is what potential employers are looking for here. In a sales environment especially, having a presence when you are in the interview room is important, but often this can be done calmly without shouting and letting the whole office know. Confidence stems from doing the right preparation, knowledge in your own ability and suitability for the position you are interviewing for.
- Honesty really is the best policy – We get it. It is so tempting to give what you judge is the ideal answer to an interview question, even if it bends the truth slightly. This is the job you want more than anything, and by adding on that extra £10,000 on a monthly sales figure or by over stretching the level of your experience, you know you can land your dream role. However, in the long run chances are you’ll get found out. It may not be until after you’ve started, and you’ll be asked to hit a certain figure or perform a certain duty you said at interview stage you had experience in, and that’s when it’ll come to light that you told a porky. It is here that a level of trust and honesty with your employer breaks down, and it is very difficult to get that back once it has been fractured. It’s best on those tempting answers to be honest, but also add in lines such as ‘ I haven’t got direct experience in that, but I have watched closely and shadowed my boss perform that duty, so I have a good handle on what is expected’. This approach shows willingness to learn, it shows you pay attention and are alert to what others in the working environment are doing. Most importantly it shows that you are an honest, trustworthy and a reliable individual.
- ‘Listen, listen, listen’ – It sounds obvious but the key to delivering a good interview is to use your ears far more often than you use your mouth. The mixture of nerves, excitement and apprehension can often turn those being interviewed into blabbering motor mouths. Those individuals then leave the interview feeling as if they have aced it, as those overriding thoughts are, ‘yeah it went well, I spoke a lot’. Quality and not quantity however is the real gage as to how the interview went. Take stock of the questions being asked and absorb all the words that are coming out of the interviewer’s mouth, so you can structure sensible answers without waffling on in a whirlwind of garbled and often useless information.
- ‘Is there anything you’d like to ask us?’ – We have all heard this before and it usually signals that the interview is coming to an end. ‘Nope, I think everything has been covered’ is the usual response, and the lasting impression with this answer can be that of someone a little flat and who is itching to get out of the interview room. Beforehand have a number of questions prepared to ask the interviewer. Safe questions which signal someone who is intelligent, eager and hungry to learn include; ‘ what would be expected of me in my first 6/12 months?’, ‘what is the most enjoyable aspect of working here?’ , ‘do you offer continuing education and professional training?’ and ‘what is the next step in the process?’. This part of the interview gives you some of the control and allows you to take the steer on where the remainder of the interview goes, so use it to play to your strengths.
- Always follow up – This part of the process is where a recruitment consultant can best advise on how to follow up your interview. Some clients like talking directly to a potential employee or they may wish to go through a recruitment consultant, but sending a follow up email thanking the interviewer for their time and reiterating your desire to secure the role can sway the interviewers decision particularly if you’re neck and neck with the competition after the interview stage. A good recruitment consultant, who knows their client well will tell you how to approach the follow up. If you are going alone, trust your instinct.
- Tidy up your social channels – No matter how strong an application 92% of companies use social media as a hiring tool (Forbes). Hiring managers can find out what you had for breakfast, what you think of your university lecturer, and details of that embarrassing night out you had in your Fresher year with just a few clicks of a button. Use this online transparency to your advantage, and get your personality across, appear human and begin to build your personal brand. Just be aware your thoughts and images are stored in the depths of Google for years to come.