The interview is your opportunity to make an unforgettable impression on the company you want to work for and get the job you want. Here are some hints and pointers that will help you make that positive impression:
Always be fully prepared – often it is the one thing that an otherwise very competent candidate is lacking. DO YOUR HOMEWORK! Some of you are wondering what does that mean? Some tips for that include:
- Drive to the location before the interview so that you know how to get there, where there is parking etc.
- Know the full name and title of the individual you are to meet with.
- Learn as much as you can about the company.
- Find out as much as you can about the interviewer and what they look for in a good candidate.
- Know what your goals and objectives are for the future so that you can measure these against what is being offered.
- Prepare questions that are specific to that position and that company.
- Always be professionally dressed. Even in business casual environments a business suit is required for the interview process.
- Arrive on time.
- Bring hard copies of your resume. Often the interviewer will have printed it for themselves but it is always good practice to have it on hand just in case.
- Bring a pen and a note pad in case you want to or need to make any notes.
- Remember this is your opportunity to shine. When greeting the interviewer make eye contact, extend a firm handshake and address your interviewer by last name.
- The interview is your chance to bring forth your strengths and to point out areas of your expertise that are applicable to this position. If you think you might forget some of these at the time, because of nerves, then be sure to list them on your note pad and, with your interviewers permission, refer to them. It would be best if you could remember them in case you do not get the opportunity to refer to your notes. Practice your answers; it will help in your memory.
- If you are interested in the opportunity, indicate that to the prospective employer.
Do’s and Don’ts:
- Be on time or a few minutes ahead of the scheduled time.
- If an application is necessary; fill it out in its entirety. Nothing is more annoying to an interviewer than looking at a blank application if it is part of their process. This, ladies and gentlemen, applies equally to interviews with companies and recruitment firms.
- Remember to smile and present yourself in an energetic and professional manner at all times.
- Never speak negatively about past employers or peers.
- Always maintain eye contact.
- Ask questions that are pertinent to the position and company.
- Point out areas that are a match between your skills and the requirements of the position.
- Be prepared to discuss ways in which you have excelled or situations where you have demonstrated your initiative and ability to be proactive.
- Be enthusiastic and positive.
- Bring an original copy of your resume.
- Always answer with a complete sentence. No “yes” or “no” answers.
- Never smoke or chew gum in an interview.
Arrive prepared to answer questions about:
- Your strengths and weaknesses.
- Why you are interested in that company.
- What you know about the company.
- Why they should hire you.
Arrive prepared to ask questions, such as:
- What would be my day to day responsibilities?
- What is the career path from this position?
- What is the company policy on promoting from within?
- How do I fit this role?
Do not ask questions like:
- How much vacation do you offer?
- Never initiate the salary question. Let your interviewer bring it up at the appropriate time.
- How many sick days are offered?
Questions such as these only leave the impression that you are only interested in how this role and company will serve your needs rather than a give and take of rights, expectations and responsibilities.
When Interviewing with a Recruiting Firm:
This step in the process is often underestimated and mistreated. In the current market more than 70% of available opportunities are handled by recruitment firms. This includes permanent, contract, temporary and project. Please remember when you have a meeting with a recruiter whatever side of your personality you choose to display is the side your recruiter will tell their client about.
If you mistreat your recruiter by being late, not completing their internal forms, being surly and uncooperative in the interview with them or in the time you spend in their reception area they WILL NOT REFER YOUR RESUME to their client. This is not because they want to be mean to you but because you are their reputation. Give this some thought…recruiters do not manufacture anything, Their product is their customer service and YOU.
If you, the candidate, mistreat the recruiter they can only assume you will also mistreat their client. They have worked long and hard to get that client and they will not risk sending someone in who will potentially damage that relationship.
Author: Zag Dutton is President at Career Connections Canada.