Almost there…

So you’ve sent your CV and full cover letter in to a company and they have come back to say they would like to arrange an interview with you. Great news! However the hard work is not quite over yet, so don’t sit  back and think its a done deal just because a meeting has been set up. The hard work is just about to start.

Interviews can be stressful and at times bring out the negatives in a person, instead of the positives. When people get nervous or panic they can sometimes ask the wrong questions, act in an off putting way or become a completely different person. Try and relax, being yourself is very important and will hopefully result in a positive outcome.

Over the years we have experienced, first hand and through our clients, some things that would make you think twice about employing someone. We’ve put together a ‘Do’s and don’ts at interview’ document which we hand out to everyone who is interviewing. Most of the below seems like common sense, but you would be surprised!

DO

  • Turn off your mobile phone before the interview!
  • Try and get as much information as you can with regard to the Company/the position.  Look at the company website if they have one and Google the company name to see what latest news there may be about them. Make sure you know where you are going.
  • Think of any questions you would like to ask the person interviewing you with regard to the Company or position. You can write them down and take them into the interview with you in note form.
  • Smile and offer a firm handshake when you meet the person interviewing you. Limp handshakes will not give the right impression, equally – not a bone crusher either! Practice your handshake with a member of your family or friends.
  • Do wait until you are offered a chair before sitting. Sit upright in your chair and look alert and interested at all time.  Body language accounts for 70% of what you ‘say’.
  • Do remove facial piercings, lip/nose/eyebrow/tongue studs etc for interview. Ear piercings are fine but no more than one earring/stud in each ear.
  • Always try to maintain eye contact with the interviewer — if there is more than one person, include the others when talking.
  • Dress appropriately for any interview — shirt, tie and jacket for the men and smart top and trousers/skirt for women.
  • Tell the interviewer if you are very nervous (if you feel the interview is not going well because of nerves). They will understand and take that into consideration – they will also try to make you feel more relaxed.

DONT

  • Do not smoke just before an interview, smoke will cling to you clothes.
  • Don’t over do the aftershave/perfume – preferably just leave it off. You don’t want to overpower the interviewers — Perfumes/aftershaves can linger long after you leave the room!
  • Don’t worry about pausing to think about a question before you answer.
  • Don’t ‘over answer’ questions and bore the interviewer, try to keep it relevant.
  • Don’t lie about any information you give the interviewer, especially regarding qualifications or salary. Companies check last salary as part of their reference checks.
  • If wearing Nail Polish, make sure it is understated – use clear or natural tones and make sure nail polish is not chipped!!
  • Wear scruffy or dirty clothes/shoes or leave your hair down if it’s long (male).
  • Ladies, don’t wear very short skirts or show a lot of cleavage/wear too much makeup – save it for going out! Conservative/smart is best/safe.
  • Discuss salary and benefits package on your first interview unless the interviewer brings the subject up.
  • Do not ask about their notice period/sickness/maternity benefit – it doesn’t show commitment if you are asking this before you are even offered the position! It can give the wrong impression and causes alarm bells to ring for the interviewer.
  • Bad mouth’ your current/any previous employer, try to be diplomatic.

Always try to make a good first impression as people usually make up their mind about a person within the first 30 seconds of meeting them. (Obviously this works both ways!)

As we live in Guernsey and the Island is so small you may find that you actually know the person who ends up interviewing you. They may be a friend, family friend or friend of a friend. If this happens to be the case still act  professional, the way you would if you did not know the person. You need to maintain a professional attitude during the interview and not become too relaxed, thinking that the job is practically yours, just because you may know or know of an interviewer. More often than not, knowing someone and over confidence can lead to a negative outcome after the interview. Be polite, acknowledge the person you know but then move on very quickly into interview mode. Do not sit talking about the last time you saw them, possibly out and about in town! Its actually a good idea to see how the interviewer acts and follow their lead, but remember you are responsible for your behaviour and if they become relaxed and ‘chatty’ about knowing you, that doesn’t mean you so forget the situation you are in. If there is another person in the interview they may not like what they are seeing or hearing.

Hopefully the guide above will help you a little bit. You’ve got this far, so don’t waste this opportunity!