Perfecting your interview skills
A CANDIDATE'S GUIDE TO INTERVIEWING
The interview process is the method by which candidates and potential employers get to evaluate each other and make the key decision can a mutually beneficial relation-ship be established?
Surprisingly, however, all too often candidates pay little attention to preparing for this crucial event. The following is a guide to help make your interview a successful one.
We hope you find this guide useful, but should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your Eutopia Consultant or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
COMPANY & INTERVIEWER PREPARATION
One of the easiest ways of impressing a potential employer during the interview process is to have done your research and then demonstrated this during the meeting. Your Eutopia Consultant will be able to provide some background on the client company and the interviewers- but you should also conduct your own independent research. As a bare minimum, we would recommend viewing the client's web site and sales literature, looking up the interviewers on LinkedIn and Google. This professional and proactive approach will pay dividends during the interview process.
Given that you initially have about 3 seconds to make a favourable impression, you need to make sure that you always dress smartly for interviews. Whilst you do not always need to go to an interview wearing a suit (we will advise you on suitable attire), you should always dress professionally. When there is little to distinguish be-tween two candidates, it is small things like this that can make the difference.
Always check the time, date and place of the interview - and figure out your route ahead of time. Try to factor in arriving at least 15-20 minutes early - to account for unexpected delays. You can always find a coffee shop near to the Client site to wait and relax.
Make sure that some time is allocated to making sure you are absolutely as up to date as possible with regards to the skills demanded by the client. All too often a candidate will come out of an interview having realised their skills in a particular area are rather rustier than they originally thought. Your Eutopia Consultant should have provided enough information on what skills and experience the interviewer is likely to cover during the meeting - allowing you time to refresh your skills or memory in these areas.
Having got to the interview on time and prepared for the meeting, now is the task of actually getting the job.
Focus on making a good first impression - solid handshake, good eye contact and a confident greeting. Most interviews then follow a similar format:
• an introduction
• an overview of the company and the job role
• a set of questions relating to your background and suitability
• a chance for you to question the interviewer.
In terms of approach, we believe that it is very important to maintain a degree of balance in your personal projection. Either a lack of self-belief OR over-confidence are both regular stumbling blocks. Keep your communication style concise and friendly as well as honest and positive. The more energy you inject into the interview, the more you'll ignite the enthusiasm of the interviewer (particularly important on video conference or telephone interviews).
Do remember, though, that interviews are all about the right mix of listening (understanding) and speaking (selling yourself). Listen carefully to the questions being asked by the interviewer - and, if the interviewer asks a question you don't understand, then don't be embarrassed - simply get them to explain what information they're looking for. If they ask a question which you don't know the answer to (or for experience that you don't have), be honest and tell them.
TURN NEGATIVES AROUND
Interviewers prefer honesty than long rambling answers. Good interviewees will be able to turn potential negatives around by comparing experiences they don't have with experiences that they do possess (for example, 1 don't have specific experience (of X), but it does sound like something else that I did once (Y) - and this is how I did it"). Often, employers are not looking for an individual that ticks all the boxes - but for an individual that has the innate competencies and attributes to do the job.
This all comes back to your pre-interview preparation. Think about a small handful of successful or difficult projects you've worked on -what your role and contribution was, and what you learned about yourself. Good interviewers will use a technique called Competency Based Interviewing - and will be experts in probing, exploring and assessing what makes you tick, what makes you succeed in certain situations - as well as what makes you fail.
THE FOLLOW UP
However, DO ASK questions (even if you have to make a few up for the sake of it). This will show your level of interest in the company and the role - and, again, could be the clincher in being asked back for second interview, or even getting the job.
Our advice is to never discuss salary or contract rates with the Client - unless they broach the subject. It is our role as your agent to negotiate on your behalf- a role we are well placed to fill, acting as a buffer to the sensitivities of pay negotiations.
As a final step, we recommend wrapping up the meeting by summarising what you've heard, reaffirming your level of interest in the role and by asking if they require any further information and what the next steps might be.
Piease then confirm with us how you believe the meeting had gone - we'll be doing the same with the client - and await the decision.
We're confident that if you follow these simple guidelines, you'll find your interviewing skills improve. A list of sample interview questions are contained at the front of this guide. However, should you need any advice on any of the contents of this e-Briefing, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Good luck from all of us at Eutopia.
SAMPLE QUESTIONS TO ASK A CLIENT
SAMPLE QUESTIONS THE CLIENT MAY ASK
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