During my two and half years in recruitment, I learned something incredible. A very high percentage of people are extremely poor at interviewing. Be it nerves, lack of preparation, or weak communication skills, I was surprised at how many underwhelming interviews I conducted with candidates. I decided to document the common mistakes that cropped up during an interview and compile a comprehensive piece on how to counter these mistakes. Here you have it folks.
Lack of Preparation
This is common. Lack of preparation becomes quickly obvious when insufficient job position or company knowledge is displayed. When invited to an interview, the very first thing to do is jump on the business website. Read up about the organisation, their culture, goals and values. Make sure you are confident in delivering a good overview. Next up, is to delve deep into the actual role description. This is the meaty part of the preparation, and is imperative. Note the responsibilities of the role. Jot down some points in response to each criterion. This allows you to clearly establish the reasons and evidence as to why you are suitable for the position. It really nuts out your skills and experience in response to the job requirements.
Having a mock interview is a good way to measure your preparedness, and can provide valuable entertainment if conducted with a fun friend playing part of the employer. Research potential interview questions online and have your friend or loved one test you.
Appropriate dress for interview is closed shoes, pants and smart top, business dress or skirt. Avoid high hemlines, low cut tops and thongs. Short nails, natural makeup and groomed facial hair for the men are absolute musts. Might seem like this is stating the obvious, but believe me it’s something a chunky percentage of interviewees forgo; a shower. Bad hygiene could see your interview cut short; no one wants to sit in a pongy room, so a smelly person may struggle. Ensure you set your alarm and give yourself ample time to wash, dress and beautify yourself. Also, an extra 20 minutes will allow you to have some sustenance; nothing more uncomfortable than a grumbling tummy in an interview room!
So, you have made it to the interview and you are sitting in the waiting room. Hopefully you have presented yourself at least 15 minutes early. It demonstrates a keenness on your part, and allows you to gather yourself. It is a good idea to keep your mobile phone in your bag or pocket, as it does not present well to the interviewer if they come to meet you during a candy crush game. Another nifty tip for the ladies is to have your bag on your lap. When you are greeted, you will be able to swing the bag swiftly onto your shoulder and avoid bending down and fumbling to find it. It might not seem significant but it really is; even the smallest of kerfuffle’s can cause the stress levels to rise, fishing for your handbag on the floor while awkwardly trying to shake the interviewers hand can cause even the calmest person to lose their cool.
I do not mention communication lightly. Honing excellent communication skills is not easy for everyone, particularly if like me you are a little socially awkward. It really is important to work on a few basic positive forms of communication to put your interviewer at ease. They may feel as uncomfortable as you do in the company of a perfect stranger; so, make sure to demonstrate traits of a person they would like to hire! Examples of effective communication are smiling, maintaining eye contact and giving a firm handshake. Have you ever had a soggy handshake? It’s awful; I can only compare it to shaking hands with a shrub. It may seem a little geeky but practise your handshake with a friend or family member. Conduct a little role play and demonstrate how you will communicate with your interviewer. An outsider observing may be able to offer you some insight on your approach, and work with you on ways to make it even better!
Keep it Positive
I have had some horrendous interviews with people. I cut one short when the interviewee proclaimed that he left his last job as he wanted to bash his manager. Guys, you may not like your boss; I totally get that. Not many of my managers have passed the Louise test. The thing is though, I have learned to pretend on front of other humans that I do like bosses. And this is something that you should really do too. Under no circumstances should you slander another person’s character in an interview, no matter how much truth there is in what you are saying. Bad mouthing people or businesses is just a big fat no!
The interview is ending, and the train ride home is in sight. You are bidding farewell to your future boss in your head and mentally preparing yourself for a night of Netflix and chill. Then comes that dreaded query; “Do you have any questions about the job?” Rather than sitting there and sweating, endeavour to prepare a couple of questions to ask before the interview. A good one is something along the lines of “What is the ideal type of person that would suit this role?”. It shows interest and reciprocation in communication. It also shows that you were listening and not just going through the interview motions!
What do guys think? Have we forgotten any great interview tips?