This week I’m focusing on job interviews and the dos and don’ts
of an interview situation. Because there are so many things I want to tell you,
I’ll be splitting it up into two posts, so today is all about the best ways to
conduct yourself in an interview; and don’t forget to check back tomorrow for
things to avoid!
-Prepare for common
interview questions. If you’ve been to a few interviews, you will start to
notice a common pattern emerging in some of the questions asked. Most
interviews follow the same basic framework, which means that you can do a lot
of the preparation before the interview. Check out my common interview
questions blog for more help.
-Research the company
and their products. Anne Cheng gives the perfect example on the Microsoft
Jobs blog about how a lack of preparation can be detrimental to a candidate.
When interviewing someone at Microsoft, she asked the candidate which Microsoft
product they liked best, to which the interviewee took a long pause, looked
blankly and asked if they made keyboards. This kind of thing can be easily
avoided by just a few minutes research on the company!
-Dress for the job
role. Make sure you gage the tone of the interview correctly. There’s
nothing wrong with calling up HR to ask about dress code for an interview. Keep
it simple, a smart suit or shirt and tie would be ideal. Boys should avoid
falling into the trap of wearing flashy or ‘amusing’ ties and girls make sure
to avoid showing too much flesh.
There is nothing worse for a first impression than turning up late. You can
always do a test trip a few days early to see exactly how long your journey
will take, and if you’re getting public transport, allow for buses not being on
time and make sure you know which bus or train you’ve got to catch to get there
-Think about your
answers carefully. If the question is a bit complicated, just take a second
to think about your answer before blurting out the first thing in your head. A
short pause before responding is perfectly fine and gives you a chance to relax
and think about the perfect answer, just be careful not to sit there for too
long without saying a word.
-Read the interviewer.
You may think that the sole purpose of an interviewer is to give you an
immensely hard time, but the truth is, they are secretly rooting for you to
succeed. They want to hire the best person for the job and are hoping to find
someone to dazzle them. You can often judge from how an interviewer reacts as
to whether you have given enough detail. If they continue to probe you further
on the same subject, you should elaborate on your answers. If the interview
pushes towards another question, you can wrap up your answer and move on to the
-Show enthusiasm for the company. The quickest way to have your CV
lining their office bin is to have an obvious lack of enthusiasm for the role.
If they ask why you applied, telling them that ‘you just need a job’ won’t cut
it. Make sure you convey a keen interest in the company and the role, as this
will give the interviewer confidence in you.
-Take a spare copy of your CV. It’s always best to be prepared so, on the off
chance that the employer has lost your CV in a pile of papers, or simply
expects you to have it with you; you’ve covered all bases.
-Turn off your mobile.
You turn it off in the cinema, and in exams, so you should definitely turn
it off at an interview. There is nothing more distracting and rather rude about
having your phone on and ringing during an interview, so save yourself the
hassle and turn it off. And no matter how important a call you are expecting might be, it would be very unwise to ask
to take a call during your interview.
Remember to come back tomorrow to check out what NOT to do
in an interview!