Posted on 29/06/2016 by Simon Bruce
Yes, yes, I have heard this all before, you say - but if you have heard it before and you have got that request for an interview, do re-check that you are well prepared and give yourself the best chance of getting that offer letter to start your new job! Don't stop all the effort too early.
We all know, or should know the final steps of preparation, getting there in good time, even making the journey on a day before if you can get the time off to do this, so you know exactly where the building is located. If using public transport, will the services be changed in any way on your interview day, or parking facilities changed due to some special event in the area? Have you placed the telephone number and address of your interviewer in your mobile telephone, just in case something happens during your journey. All these points should be well known to you, so what else can you do to retain your best chance of success?
You will hopefully have completed some research on the company. Thanks to the internet this is now really easy. Depending on the company, you may be able to find press releases and annual accounts for the company and also the statement of the Chairman on their last financial year. Showing your interviewer that you have read this and are aware of some company details not only shows you are interested and well informed about his company but that you are also motivated, a self starter, having completed this research yourself.
Do any of your friends work there or know people who do? Complete some searches on social media and local newspapers. Do all this some days before the interview date so you can reflect on what you have read and see if you can link your work experience to what the company is aiming to achieve. For example, if they are planning to expand to another country in the year ahead you can mention you speak other languages. Have all this in note form with you as you enter the building and don't forget to turn off your 'phone before you enter the interview! One company director told us of a computer programmer, who came into the interview room with headphones on his head and was listening to music. Remember as always, first impressions DO matter.
In the process of creating your CV and your letter for the job, you should have identified in your own mind what are the key job skills that you think they will see in you that will wis the interview request. Just because you have the interview don't discard this list just yet! The interviewer(s) may be seeing many candidates, one after the other, so decide in advance how you are going to summarise what you do and how you are going to explain this - choose three skills you consider are the most important for the job. Be ready to explain how you used these skills when responding to questions about your work experience. Put some headings on a piece of paper to remind yourself of specific events in your current or previous jobs where these skills helped to solve problems or allowed the company to raise income, or lower costs, or how your flexibility and experience meant you could also complete other tasks. These should be real examples, not too detailed and they should show how this is of benefit to the new company.
Even if you have spoken to contacts in the company, prepare some questions that relate to working in the company. Really imagine you are working there, starting tomorrow, what do you want to know? This not only shows you are interested in the job but that you are assuming you are going to get the offer! Positive thinking works. Prepare these questions in written form, saying during the interview - I have prepared some brief questions and I would like to discuss them with you.
Many will tell you that this is an event where you are in effect selling a product and the product is you. As any salesperson will know you should not hesitate to ask for the order, ask them to sign your order form. In this case it is the creation of and the receipt of the offer letter in your name, that you want! You want to find out, if you can, what is the interviewer thinking as you both approach the end of the interview.
You may not know how much time has been allocated for the interview or you may know exactly. You may have spoken to another candidate, who was waiting in reception and so you do know the time of the next interview! This is useful information, so as you approach the end of the interview, do not be afraid to ask the interviewer how they feel about your application. Ask them if you have provided sufficient information for them to make a choice, and ask politely if they can give you an indication as to how they feel. In salesperson jargon this is known as a trial close. You are trying to judge the "buyers" view of your product, the product is you, and try to see if they are going to go ahead with you. They will probably that say they have more people to see but they might say, all is good but they have a concern on one point. If that happens, often due to a misunderstanding, then this gives you a really important opportunity to clarify the detail, making sure they understand and then you are "back in the race".
You should have your CV with you so if the interviewer does not have a copy with them, you can give them your copy. Do not forget also to send an email when you get home to thank them for the interview, outlining in short summary points the key topics you discussed and why you consider these not only make you the ideal candidate but also say you are really keen to start.
Do complete research on local details, perhaps visit the area close to the office when people are leaving work at the end of the a day and see if there is a dress code. Even so do make a special effort and dress formally for your interview, no casual clothes. Plan ahead so you are not running a marathon the day before or even attending an all night party or up late working overtime on your current work or project on the day before! This sounds obvious but it does happen.
Then all you have to do is complete the well planned actions that you have prepared in the run up to the interview day. If you are applying for multiple jobs it is best, if you can, to arrange interviews on different days - it is very tiring and also hard sometimes to remember what you said and where!
Make each interview feel it is the one you want. If you have multiple job offers a) congratulations b) then you can decide, and not before, which offer you are going to accept...... it may also give you power to negotiate salary, maybe. Either way you have taken the next step on your CV, by planning your interview, just as you would or should prepare for a meeting in your job: research, plan, focus and be there early and relax a little - the interviewer is also human and they want to make sure they hire the right person, for the sake of their career! Make their choice easy and may we be among the first to congratulate you on your new job! Well done.