Interview Technique

What it is....

Whereas a good CV will get you an interview, it is your performance in the interview which will get you the job. The following will help you to nail your interview at the first time of asking.

Before you go

  • Re-read your C.V. and covering letter along with your job application.
  • Familiarise yourself with the job description.
  • Think about your skills and how they fit the job requirements.
  • Research the company or institution - find out important information in key areas such as:
    • Structure
    • Market position
    • Management style
    • Size
    • Income streams
    • Core businesses
    • Major competitors
  • Prepare a few open questions
  • Prepare a strong 30 - 60 second pitch which echoes your personal profile
  • Think about how you could improve.
  • Think about what tasks have given you the most problems.
  • Practice with dummy interviews - try to make them as realistic as possible.
  • Test the route out before you go.
  • Check for bus or train delays or for traffic hold-ups.
  • Dress smartly and appropriately.
  • Arrive 10 minutes early - no earlier.
  • Turn off your mobile phone before you go into the interview.
  • Don’t worry if you feel a bit nervous - it’s natural and shows that you are taking the interview seriously.

What you should wear
For both men and women

  • A two piece suit is ideal for most occasions.
  • Even if you are going for a job where you wouldn’t normally wear a suit.
  • Wear conservative colours.
  • Wear a quality of outfit which is appropriate to the job you are applying for.
  • Make sure that everything is clean and well pressed.

For men

  • A two piece suit in black, dark blue or grey.
  • Wear plain long sleeved shirts - even in summer.
  • Avoid bright or character ties
  • Dark socks
  • Black leather lace up or slip on shoes
  • Black belt
  • Traditional watch
  • Minimal jewelry
  • No ear-rings or other piercings.

For women

  • Trousers are fine
  • Any skirt should end at the knee when standing
  • No slits
  • Blouse underneath jacket
  • Minimal jewelry
  • Comfortable business-like footwear - no extremes
  • Plain tights
  • Small handbag

First impressions

  • Most people form an opinion of you inside the first 3 minutes.
  • For a first impression:
    • About 70% depends on your body language and image.
    • About 20% depends on your tone of voice.
    • Only 10% depends on what you say.
  • Be polite to everyone - from the first receptionist onwards.
    • Many employers will ask their office staff for their impressions.
  • Give a firm handshake.
    • Practise if you don't often shake hands with people.
  • Make sure that your hands are not clammy.
  • Make and maintain eye contact.
  • Smile
  • Greet the interviewer by name but NOT their first name.
  • If you don’t know the correct pronunciation check it with the receptionist before you go in.
  • Wait to be offered a chair before you sit.
  • Have a few light conversation openers already prepared - it will make you both at ease.
  • Ask for a glass or water - you will be speaking a lot and it is also useful to take a sip to give you a bit of thinking time.

In the interview

  • Look for opportunities to be proactive and ask your own questions.
  • Give the interviewer your full attention.Wait for the interviewer to finish speaking before you ask your question.
  • Make sure that you understand everything that has been said - if not clarify before asking.
  • Maintain eye contact during the interview - do not begin to look around the room.
  • Smile and relax.
  • Don’t fidget.
  • Stay alert.
  • Mirror the interviewers techniques e.g. laugh when he laughs.
  • Don’t speak in a monotone - use a range of tones.
  • Keep a confident and honest attitude throughout the interview.
  • Aim for clarity, brevity and honesty when answering your questions - don’t ramble.
  • If the interviewer is unprepared then take control, raise questions and make points whilst selling yourself.

Questions which might be asked

  • What experience do you have that will benefit the job?
  • What is your greatest strength/weakness?
    • Show that you have identified a strength and are utilizing it or a weakness and are working on it.
  • Tell me about yourself.
    • This is a good opportunity to reveal your strengths that you included in your personal profile.
  • What are your biggest accomplishments?
  • Can you work well under pressure?
    • This is job related.
  • Where do you see yourself in 3 - 5 years time?
  • How do you handle criticism?
    • Portray the attitude that all criticism has a benefit
  • What can you do for us that somebody else can’t?
    • Show unique skills/experience
  • Describe a difficult problem that you have had to deal with.
    • Explain your approach, result and how a bad outcome was averted.
  • How do you handle stress?
    • How you avoid it and how you deal with it e.g. gym, sport.
  • How do you take direction?
  • Do you prefer working alone or with others?
    • Show how you work well in both.
  • Why do you want the job?
  • What qualities do you think are necessary for the job?
  • How would you describe yourself?
  • How could you improve yourself?
  • What motivates you?
  • What are your career goals?
  • Are you competitive?
  • How did you progress in your last job?
  • Describe a typical day at your last job.
  • Why should we hire you?
  • Do you consider yourself to be a natural leader?
  • What interests you most about the job?

Questions you might want to ask

  • What would the key tasks and responsibilities be?
  • What support and guidance would there be?
  • What would the reporting line be?
  • What training would there be?
  • What are the future strategies for the department or company?

You might think that many of the points highlighted are common sense and for the most part you would be right. However we have compiled a list of dos and don’ts. Although the following is by no means an exhaustive list it is worth going through them to make sure that you remember them.

Dos

  • Practise interviews before the real thing.
  • Brush your teeth before the interview.
  • A trial run to the interview location.
  • Turn up for the interview 10 minutes early.
  • Turn off your mobile phone on arrival.
  • Bring several copies of you c.v. to the interview.
  • Greet the interviewer by name (check pronunciation if you are unsure)
  • Make eye contact.
  • Smile at all times.
  • Remain calm.
  • Show enthusiasm.
  • Have high energy.
  • Always adopt a professional and business like manner.
  • Listen intently.
  • Speak in a clear voice.
  • Use positive language.
  • Ask relevant questions.
  • Stress your achievements.
  • Show off your research of the company.
  • Conduct yourself like you are determined to get the job.
  • Show what you can do for the company.
  • Finish the interview by saying how much you want the job.
  • Get business cards from all interviewers.
  • Take notes straight away.
  • Write thank you letters within 24 hours to each interviewer.

Don’ts

  • Be late.
  • Turn up inappropriately dressed.
  • Bring food
  • Smell of strong odors (garlic, cigarettes, strong perfume etc)
  • Sit before being asked.
  • Fidget
  • Chew gum.
  • Smoke.
  • Be too familiar and use first names.
  • Indicate that you are desperate for a job.
  • Get into discussions about your personal life.
  • Use negative phrases.
  • Tell jokes.
  • Use pause words like ‘um’ and ‘er’.
  • Talk about controversial topics.
  • Say anything negative about your former employers.
  • Lie.
  • Answer questions just with yes and no.
  • Respond to an unexpected question with an extended pause.
  • Ask what the company can do for you.
  • Look at your watch.
  • Have nothing to say.
  • Give a sob story.
  • Submit a messy application form.
  • Give vague answers to questions.
  • Swear.
  • Fail to listen to a question.
  • Annoy the interviewer by asking a question that has already been answered.
  • Give superfluous information.
  • Ask about salary until after the offer has been made.
  • Fail to follow up within a few days.

Wize Tips

  • Research the company
  • Practice with dummy interviews
  • Do a trial run to the interview venue
  • Dress appropriately
  • Don’t be late
  • Take extra cv’s to interview
  • Firm handshake with dry hands
  • Maintain eye contact
  • Smile
  • Be relaxed
  • Show that you want the job
  • Answer questions fully, succinctly and honestly
  • Ask questions
  • Send thank you letters
  • Follow up