Attending an Interview

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    Arrive promptly – better to be 5 minutes early than 10 minutes late.

    Be polite and very friendly/charming to receptionist/ secretary – they are often asked for opinions by interviewers even though they played no part in the proceedings.

    When introduced offer a firm, dry handshake. If you haven’t got one then practice.

    Be friendly, be prepared to smile, take coffee if offered even if you don’t want it, but do not make any wise cracks to break the ice – they will undoubtedly fall flat.

    Do not smoke during the interview, ensure mobile phones are switched off.

    Do not remove your suit jacket and sit down only when offered. Look attentively at the interviewer – eye contact is important.

    Be positive in all your answers. Try to avoid the yes/no type answer. Elaborate but do not waffle and go off the track. Remain relevant, pausing before answering if needed.

    If asked a question that you do not know the answer, do not try and bluff your way through. Be honest and say you do not know the answer. Honesty is the best approach. You will not be penalised for honesty but hot air will cost you dearly.

    Give the interviewer a positive impression of yourself. Ask sensible questions. Relate your own experiences to situations under discussion briefly without too much elaboration.

    Explain reasons for previous job moves and your rationale for applying for the job offered. Explain how getting this job is part of your planning path – not because it offers a nice car and more money than your present role.

    Even if at mid-point of the interview you are losing interest in the job offered do not let this show in any apparent lack of enthusiasm. On reflection 2 days later you may realise that the job is exactly what you really need and by that stage it could be too late. Concentrate on getting the job – it can always be turned down at a later stage.

    Ask to be shown around the office/factory site. This shows a level of interest and also allows you out of the interview room where your personality may be expressed more effectively. This will give you an impression of the working environment, the other employees and the general atmosphere whether positive or negative.

    Save a question until the end. When asked if you have any questions the answer should never be negative.

    Do not put yourself under time pressure by having a pressing social or business engagement after the interview.

    Never look at your watch during the interview.

    Salary and benefits are best not discussed until 2nd interview stage. Raising the subject too early can give the impression that your motivation to change job is financial.

    Do not have alcohol before an interview.

    Leave the interview as positively as you arrived. Last impressions are nearly as important as first impressions. Thank the interviewer for his/her time.

    Finally, analyse your performance critically after the interview. Ask yourself if your answers could have been better delivered or did you get caught out at any stage by the interviewer. Make notes about the interviewers, their names and your overall impression. You may need this for a second interview or other opportunities you may be considering.