When looking for a job, the interview is the decisive element of the whole process.
Knowing how to read an advertisement is the first step, and preparing a good curriculum vitae is necessary in order to be called for an interview. However, the real passport of the whole process is the first interview – the first effective performance you will have to “win the position”. This is why we will dedicate this section to the first interview in the selection process.
It is not always the case, but in general, after the first round of interviews, there can be a second round, there’s a psychological evaluation and finally, the job offer.
In this section we will provide you with a few tips in order for you to face a work interview in a positive way: how to get prepared, how to dress, the type of interview questions to expect, and advice about the things you can ask and everything you SHOULDN’T ask during the interview.
We don’t want to change you; our only purpose is to provide you with information in order for you to improve your personal marketing.
Remember the importance of the first impression:
THERE IS NO SECOND CHANCE TO GIVE A FIRST IMPRESSION
Your main ally is preparing for the interview. The preparation includes your apparel; gaining an idea of what questions may be asked in the interview and how you will respond to these; and research on your future employer.
Dressed To Succeed
The clothes you wear will talk about the way you are – keep this in mind when you choose your wardrobe. Buy formal suits, not flashy, of neutral colours and that stay in vogue for a while. You should stand out for your capabilities and not for the flashy clothes you wear. Don’t dress in a way that people will remember your clothing and not you. Elegance includes soberness and good taste. Shoes should be well-polished and comfortable.
Women may appreciate this helpful video from Reiss:
Men will likely find the following video useful:
Knowing How To Listen
In an interview, you should talk, and you will normally speak for 70% to 80% of the time during the encounter. But when the interviewer speaks, you should listen, understand as much as possible what is said and if something is not clear ask again until you totally understand what you are told. If you do not fully understand the question you will be unable provide the answer the interviewer will be looking for.
Remember that people communicate with words and others with signs: the tone with which the words are said, the gestures that go with them and attitudes. For example: During an interview you are explaining your last job and your interviewer begins closing his notepad and takes out a presentation card. He says nothing and listens to you carefully… With his attitude of “closing” the notepad he is telling you that the time is over, that the interview is finished. If you notice such an action you should respond to this by trying to wrap up what you are saying.
- Answer the question being asked. Seems obvious, but sometimes, people answer what they THINK is the question being asked. …
- Your body language should show you are engaged. Lean slightly forward. …
- Take notes during the interview. …
- Tie your answers back to things that were said earlier.
How To Communicate
In addition to knowing how to listen, it is very important to know how to communicate. Communication is a lot more than words.
Speak using correct English. People commonly use expressions that are a product of the deformation of language to people they are familiar with or when they are in an informal environment. Don’t treat your interviewer in a familiar way – you should speak in proper English throughout the interview. Also don’t adopt elaborated or excessively technical language – use a simple and concrete language that can be understood by people across the board. If it is necessary to use technical terms which the interviewer is unlikely to be familiar with you should give a brief explanation of this.
Look directly at the interviewer’s eyes, frankly, with no fear and without giving the sensation that “you are taking an x-ray of your interviewer”. Don’t look around when you are exposed to a difficult question. Don’t get distracted looking at something else that may call your attention.
Don’t reinforce the things you say with gestures, such as blinking, giving a sensation of complicity to your manifestations. Or a slap on the arm of your interviewer. Very few people make graceful gestures. There are communicators who are real artists in accompanying what they say with gestures, but these are few and far between.
Sit straight, not on the edge of the chair. Every now and then, you can change your posture looking for more comfort, but not constantly. Don’t balance yourself or move your feet too much. Be elegant also in your posture. Rehearse if you are not sure about this aspect.
Are you really interested on the position? If so, you should transmit it, not in words, but in attitude. Feel and think that you are the new collaborator, not one more participant of the search. If you have a genuine personal belief of being the adequate person for the position, it will be much easier to convince others of this.
Presenting Yourself As The Perfect Candidate
Managing yourself properly during an interview is not easy and can be stressful even for trained people. It is important to consider that the interviewer will also be anxious for the interviews to be successful, since the whole purpose of this process is to find a good candidate for their search.
In order to increase your chances of impressing the interviewer, you should try to determine exactly what the interviewer is looking for in a candidate, and try to present yourself as the perfect match for this profile. We are not telling you to lie, we are merely suggesting that you focus on your areas of knowledge, expertise and work experiences which are related to the skills and experiences required for the position.
Whenever you go to an interview, think only of your experiences which relate to the job profile, and in this way you will only talk about what is important on this occasion. In order to prepare for this you will need to get as much information as possible about the position you are applying for.
Some interview techniques are based on analysing previous experiences in order to detect behavioural competence. For that, it is very important for you to remember anecdotes and real facts in relation to behaviour which would be expected within the new role. If you have not had similar experiences to those being referred to in an interview question, you can show interest on the topic and suggest ideas about how you would learn more about the subject: a formal course, a distance course, reading the last book that has been published about the topic, etc.
To help you present yourself as the ideal candidate the following questions can act as a guide:
- What experience do I have which match the desired candidate profile?
- What other abilities do I have besides my experience?
- How can I present these attributes in the interview?
With the information available to you, what aspects do you think will interest your future employer in a special way?
Thinking of responses to these types of questions will help you focus in the interview and give you an advantage over other candidates.