So at last you have that letter in your hand inviting you to an interview – more likely these days you’ve just received an email. You are elated at first – isn’t it great they want to see you!
Oh it is great, but then you start to think about what is ahead. How are you going to make the most of it?
Hmm, it can make you quite nervous can’t it thinking about how you are going to handle it? Well, that is quite normal – just like the best actors, most of us suffer from performance nerves when we are going for interviews. But just like those actors, if you have done your preparation, your research and your practice, you’ll be fine.
It is really important to take time out to prepare. Most employers will be interviewing multiple people for each job. At least one other person besides you is likely to be able to meet the employer’s requirements. They will have the right experience, be presentable in appearance and sociable enough to navigate through the interview without serious mishaps.
The real trick is to distinguish yourself, by appearing more acceptable for the job than is absolutely necessary. One of the best ways to do this is first to do some research and then ask questions during the interview.
You should research the organization well beforehand. Don’t get caught out showing ignorance about what they do, or where the organization is positioned among its peers.
You can look at their website and you can even ask for corporate literature or information. Both the Internet and library searches of newspapers may be helpful.
If the business is local and public, consider stopping by before the interview. You may be able to walk around or take a guided tour. If it is further away, they may be happy for you to talk to one of their managers by phone ahead of the interview. Asking to do so shows that you have a real interest in them and you are not just up for anything.
The amount of research you do will, of course, depend on the job and salary you hope to get. But, if possible, do find out as much as you can about the job itself.
If you are seeking an opportunity in an organization you know well, you may be able to start a casual conversation with someone in the department the job is in. They may have inside information on why the job is vacant, or what exactly the interviewer is looking for. But handle this carefully!
Interviewers will usually be impressed if you show you know pertinent facts about their company during the interview. And it is always a good idea to make that question you ask at the end (you are almost always invited to ask questions) relevant to that organization and the job in particular. Again it shows a real interest in them and their job. The interviewers will feel that you are actively interested in the position, and it will reinforce the feeling that you are very knowledgeable in your field.
When the candidate asks well informed questions this subtly raises the interview relationship from one where you alone are being judged, to one where you are on an equal footing with the interviewer. While this is purely psychological, it is a powerful tool in interviewing and again can mark you out.
Watch out for more here about interview technique over the next few days.
- Writing your CV! Part 1 The Basics (leavingthepublicsector.net)
- Writing your CV! Part 2 Making Choices (leavingthepublicsector.net)
- Writing your CV! Part 3 Pondering on CVs; language,confidentiality, competencies and referees! (leavingthepublicsector.net)
Wendy Mason works as a personal and business coach, consultant and blogger. She has managed or advised on many different kinds of transition and she has worked with all kinds of people going through personal change. If you would like her help, email her at email@example.com or ring ++44(0)2084610114 or ++44(0)7867681439