8 Tips To Making A Good Impression At Interview

 By Ben Wright

So you’ve put in all the hard work of getting your CV up to scratch, you’ve applied for roles and have managed to secure an interview.

How well do you think you’ll perform at interview?

It’s a difficult process for anyone at any level, and I’ll try my best to guide you through some of the likely questions and situations you might find yourself having to deal with.

  1. First impressions

The obvious one – first impressions do count! You have no idea how true this is. You need to smile and make the right amount of eye contact, so keep your gaze just a few seconds longer than usual, without looking like a bit of a weirdo.

  1. Questions and answers

Let the interview panel lead the interview but remember that you don’t have to wait until the end of the interview to ask questions. While they’re telling you all about the job and the company, questions from you at this point will emphasise your interest in the position. They may start with the question “Tell us about yourself and your experience, and why you think you would be the best candidate for the job”. This is where it helps to have your pitch handy as a brief introduction to who you are and what you can do.

  1. Preparation

Before the interview you should consider how you handle situations like interviews. How will you answer a question like “What are your salary expectations”? A difficult one if you don’t know whether you are over or under selling yourself. Figure out what your strengths and weaknesses are – you need to be able to say what you’re good at with confidence.

  1. Your reasons for wanting the job

Ask yourself why you want this job because you’ll likely be asked this on the day. Only you know the answer and you need to make it a good one. Just because you need a job isn’t a good enough reason for someone to hire you. Ask yourself what you actually know about the company. Are you interested in a long-term career or is this simply a stopgap for you? They might ask you where you see yourself in 6 months or 5 years’ time – how will you answer this. Easy if you see yourself long-term with the company, but not so easy to answer if you don’t.

  1. Dress Code

I can’t stress this enough – make sure that you dress professionally. Casual is not good and gives the wrong impression. Of course, this will entirely depend on what type of job you are applying for, but for a professional career position, get it right and rock that killer suit.

  1. Be enthusiastic!

You’ve been invited for interview because they believe you can do the job. It’s just down to you on the day to show that you can do it better than anyone else. Even if you don’t tick all the boxes for the job criteria, I’ll bet you have something just as good or even better to offer. The interview panel don’t know this yet, so you have to tell them. Don’t be negative about a past (or present) employer, working conditions etc., as this will give a really bad impression. Try to show that you are flexible and willing to take on responsibility.

  1. Timing is critical

Whatever happens don’t be late!  Arrive 10 minutes prior – and if you’re too early then take a walk around the block.  Just don’t leave it until 5 minutes before the interview is due to start, because the interview room might be some distance away from the reception area you have reported to.

  1. The evening before the interview

I’m not going to say try to relax the evening before because you won’t, but get some sleep! If you really want the job you’ll be pretty nervous… that’s natural – and that’s the best advice anyone can give, to just be natural and be yourself. That’s the person they’re looking for. Good Luck!

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How to shine at interview

By Kate Broadley

KateFINALA job interview gives you a chance to shine. Remember, what you say and do will either move you forward in your career or knock you out of contention. Seriously …it doesn’t take much to make an impression – good or bad. If you haven’t taken the time to dress appropriately or if you say the “wrong” thing, you have probably blown your chances before you even say a word…

My advice is take the time to prepare for your interview and don’t think you can wing it, I have certainly seen many people make this mistake. Make sure you know what’s on your resume, you would be surprised at the number of people who don’t outline why they are qualified for the job. Be able to talk about why you are interested in the company, and practice staying calm and focused. No matter how good you think you are, I am yet to find anyone who actually enjoys the experience. It’s important to remember that the image the interviewer has of you when they first meet you is the one that is going to last.

Know the Facts

I’ve been surprised when applicants weren’t able to tell me their dates of employment or what they actually did on a day-to-day basis in their job. Make sure you review your work history prior to interview – and ensure what you say matches what’s on your resume. Take the time to research the organisation and the job you’re applying for.

What You Don’t Say

What you don’t say can – and will – be used against you in a job interview. If you come to an interview chewing gum or drinking coffee, you will already have one strike against you. Not being dressed appropriately or having scuffed shoes will give you a second strike. Talking or texting on your cell phone or listening to an iPod while waiting to be called for the interview may be your final strike and you could have ruined your opportunity, before you have even said a word.

Verbal Communication

Your verbal communication is so important. Please don’t use slang and make sure you speak clearly. Remember, if you need to think about a response to an interview question, that’s fine. It’s better to think before you talk than to stumble over your words. Most importantly practice does make perfect, so practice answering some interview questions so you’re comfortable responding to the basics.

Listen

It can be easy to get distracted during a job interview. It’s stressful and you’re in the hot seat when it comes to having to respond to questions. Do your best to listen to what the interviewer is asking, it will be easier to frame appropriate responses.

 Non-Verbal Communication

What you don’t say during an interview is as important as what you do say. What’s important is to appear professional and attentive throughout the interview.

So with that said, I hope your next interview is a positive experience, remember, even if you are not successful, you can learn from the experience.

Core Values

Do you know what your employer’s core values are?

Linda ParkerIn society today so much emphasis is placed on customer service, value for money, teamwork, professionalism, quality etc. My question is, how many interviews have you attended where a company’s core values have even been brought up in discussion, either directly or indirectly?

When coming to my interview here at Eden Ritchie many years ago I had searched the company website and wrote down (it’s nearly impossible to memorise when interview nerves kick in) the core values and mission statement, as I realised that surely these must be a significant part of the key criteria in them choosing a new team member.

As a business owner or hiring manager it can be a really simple tool to use in the interview process, as surely you will want staff to align with the organisation’s core values in order for them to fit, and for your company to fit their own personal values and goals.  It really doesn’t matter what the core values are, you can design questions around them to test and assess.

Likewise, as a candidate going for a job interview it really doesn’t take much time or effort to go to a company website and search out this information.

Sometimes going back to basics can bring the most surprising results!

How much information is too much information

Nikki HardingIt’s the age old question, do I disclose everything about myself in an interview, warts and all, or do I cover over any indiscretions in my personality or my career that may hamper my chances of obtaining my ideal job.

So lets look at the pro’s & con’s.

The purpose of an interview, whether it’s with a client directly or a recruitment consultant is to ascertain your suitability for a specific position, so it’s our job to ascertain your technical skill set first and foremost – can you actually do the job?

But more importantly it seems in our current climate it’s ‘can you do the job well’?

Will you fit with the current team? What does your personality say about you?

More often than not you are extremely well behaved in an interview when you are vying for that coveted role with the sensational company, making sure to answer questions as accurately as possible, smiling, and generally being polite. But how about in the real world, are you as polite? Are you as accommodating? That’s what we have to systematically ”unpeel” in an interview, how do you handle certain situations, are you a diamond in the rough? Or are you just rough?

When an external consultant is engaged to source the very best candidates that the market has to offer, these are the kind of subtle differences that get you across the line, what your personality traits are really like and how that can enhance the client’s business.

So what should you disclose? Provide real life examples, whether situations turned out well or not, proves you are an open communicator, you have learnt and grown as an individual, that you are adaptable to change and confident enough that you are still desirable as a candidate of choice.

It’s not about being perfect; it’s about being the best you can be, and the honesty surrounding that makes you the perfect candidate and an asset to any business.

OWN THE INTERVIEW!

In today’s market, it is essential that you have an impeccable CV to secure an interview. But how do you capitalise on that C.V. when you are sitting across from your prospective employer?

Let me ask you a question:

Q: How many times have you received feedback from a recruiter that the client secured a stronger candidate, but thank you for your time and effort; we will contact you when we have another position that matches your profile?

A: Often tom

Or this – 

Q: “I’m sorry we will not be moving forward with your application. The client was not confident in your ability to bring a professional approach to the role and was put off that you didn’t look them in the eye OR shake their hand with confidence”?

A: Just as often

If you are securing interviews but never securing the role, maybe something as simple as the above examples are holding you back.

With the amount of candidates in the market today, it is essential that you are prepared for your interview and are aware of all the aspects that will make you stand out from other applicants.

So, to be successful in securing a job in this market here are a few of my tips:

  • Do your history on the organisation and the panel members.
  • Give demonstrated examples of where you have completed a similar project or role.
  • Detail your specific duties within those projects/roles.
  • Point out transferable skills you offer.
  • Talk about the challenges you faced and how you overcame them.
  • Ensure confident and continual eye contact with the panel members.
  • Speak clearly and confidently and as if you are aiming for the back of the room.
  • Ask questions about the project and challenges they are facing?
  • Ask what sort of candidate they are looking for?

Here are some things that I see candidates do that may prevent them from securing a role:

  • Being under prepared and not having a thorough understanding of the organisation or panel members.
  • Under dressing.
  • Over dressing – wearing strong colours is not always good. Stick to light easy on the eye colours. We are not saying don’t be yourself but do consider the panel.
  • Giving vague answers about your experience.
  • Answering questions as if the panel members know everything about you from your CV – they don’t always know your CV and they also want to hear YOU talk about YOU and how YOU can help THEM.
  • Badmouthing past employers.
  • Leaving your mobile on.
  • Talking too much.
  • Looking around the room for answers.
  • Not thanking interviewers for there time.

Interviewing is simple, if you prepare and do your homework!

If you want to know more about interviewing, CV preparation or a general chat about the market and how the team at Eden Ritchie can help, give us a call on 3230 0033 or check out our website www.edenritchie.com.au