Interview Tips and Techniques
Your success will depend on the quality of your preparation – about the company, about the role, and about the kind of issues that are likely to be discussed. Remember, most companies are proud of their accomplishments and you should demonstrate that you’re aware of them. Find out as much background information as you can through browsing their website and speaking to your NRG consultant about the role and organisation.
It’s usually useful to prepare a short response to the question “what do you know about us?” This will allow you to show that you’ve taken the trouble to find out more.
Anticipate some likely interview questions
On the basis of your CV and the job description, you can probably anticipate many of the questions the interviewer is likely to ask. Once again, put yourself in the shoes of the interviewer. What will he or she be looking for?
Typical questions might include:
- Why do you want to work here and what interests you the most about this job?
- What qualifications or experience do you have that would make you a success in this company?
- What positions have you enjoyed most? The least? Why?
- What would you like to be doing five years from now?
- Describe a project that you are proud of?
- What’s your greatest strength/weakness?
- What interests you most about this position?
- What’s important to you in the work that you do?
What to take with you
You should take a copy of your CV, certificates and any references or referrals. Carry everything in just one file, bag or briefcase, otherwise you’ll look cluttered and disorganised.
Making a good ‘first impression’
Your appearance can influence the interviewer’s assessment of your suitability for the job. Being smart, clean and well groomed is a good start. But there are numerous other factors to take into account regarding personal dress and presentation.
Make sure you arrive early for the interview and don’t rely too heavily on the efficiency of public transport or a traffic-free journey. By arriving at least 15 minutes early, you will have a chance to relax, gather your thoughts and possibly read any company literature that is available. Also remember to be pleasant to receptionists and other staff you meet as they will often be asked for their impressions of you.
At the interview
Bear in mind that the interviewer may be just as nervous as you. Your objective is to impress the interviewer by projecting a professional image and demonstrating your suitability for the job.
Greet the interviewer with a smile and a firm handshake and wait until you are offered a chair before sitting. Be aware of your body language. Sit up straight, maintain eye contact and avoid fidgeting. According to research, the interviewer will decide within just four to nine minutes whether to consider you seriously for the job. So making a good first impression is vital.
Show a real interest in the job. Speak clearly and confidently and make sure that everything you say is factual and sincere. During the interview, bear the following guidelines in mind:
Concentrate and listen very carefully to the questions. If you are not sure exactly what is being asked, don’t say “Could you repeat the question?” This could make the interviewer feel that you haven’t been paying attention. Rather, rephrase the key words and ask the interviewer to clarify: “Do you mean…”
- Avoid answering with a simple yes or no. Support your answer with relevant information from your experience and relate everything you say to the job you are applying for.
- Do not speak negatively of other people or companies you have worked for. It makes you look unprofessional.
- Stay calm. Maintain a positive attitude throughout the interview, speak with energy and enthusiasm, and feel free to pause when you are thinking of appropriate replies.
- Keep your answers relevant and to the point.
A good interviewer will do more than just establish your competence: he will explore your compatibility with the company – your attitudes, beliefs, personality, response to pressure and so on.
Usually the interviewer will ask you if you have any questions. The worst response is “Can you tell me a little more about the job?” Be specific and ask questions that have not already been answered in the job description. For instance:
- Why has the job become available?
- What would my initial assignments here be?
- What are the greatest challenges of this role?
- Could you describe a typical day/week?
- What training and promotional opportunities are there?
- Who will I report to and will I get to meet them during the interview process?
At the very least, ask the interviewer when he will be making a final decision and whether he needs any further clarification about your experience.
Leaving the interview
Don’t let your guard down yet. You want the interviewer to remember you positively, so thank them for their time and consideration and tell them how much you enjoyed discussing the job with them.
It’s important to convey that you really are interested in working for the company, because – all other things being equal – the job is likely to go to the more interested candidate.
Tell the interviewer that you look forward to seeing him or her again, shake his hand and leave.