- Choose a clean pair of pants, jeans or shorts with a clean, ironed shirt and covered shoes.
- For women, your makeup and nail polish should be in an understated day time style.
- Hair should be clean and tidy and men should be clean-shaven or have a neatly trimmed beard.
- Err towards conservative styles and avoid fashion statements. You can’t be sure that the interviewer will share your fashion sense.
- Perfume and cologne should not be overpowering and jewellery should be kept to a minimum
Before you go to the interview, make sure that you have done your homework on the company first. Your Labourpower Candidate Manager will assist you with your preparation but you should always review the company’s website and any other reference material you can find.
Ensure that you have confirmed:
- The exact time and location of the interview.
- Bus/train times/parking locations – ensure you have worked out how long it will take you to get there and allow some time for delays
- The interviewer's correct title and pronunciation of his or her full name.
The interviewer will be assessing your strengths and weaknesses but will also be probing your personal attributes such as attitude, aptitude, stability, motivation and maturity.
Some interview do's and don'ts to be aware of:
- Arrive on time or a few minutes early. The appointment is for a specified time which you are expected to make. Late arrival for a job interview is never excusable and you should also avoid arriving too early – go and have a coffee and collect your thoughts if you are too early.
- If you get the job you will become part of the team, so be polite and professional with everyone you encounter before and after your interview, whether it is the receptionist or the interviewer's assistant.
- Greet the interviewer by his or her title and surname.
- Have a firm handshake and maintain good posture and eye contact. This will ensure that you appear relaxed and confident
- Wait until you are offered a chair before sitting. Sit upright in your chair and look alert and interested at all times.
- While you are concentrating on what you have to say, ensure that you also listen carefully.
- Make sure that you convey your strong points to the interviewer in a concise, factual and sincere manner. Avoid waffle and make sure that you are answering the question that was asked.
- Try to give specific examples which will illustrate the strong points you believe you have to offer
- Always conduct yourself as if you are determined to get the job you are discussing. Never close the door on an opportunity. It is preferable to be able to choose from a variety of offers - rather than only one.
- Remember to smile and be yourself. It is important to you that the job and the company are right for you, so there is no point acting like somebody else in your interview
- Avoid simple ''yes'' or ''no'' answers. Explain yourself whenever possible. Describe those good points about yourself that are relevant to the position in question.
- Never lie. Always answer the questions truthfully, frankly and as close to the point as possible.
- Avoid making derogatory remarks about your present or former employers. This can convey a negative impression of you.
- Try not to be too informal – even if the interviewer has an informal style. Avoid talking too much about personal circumstances and under no circumstances should you swear or use inappropriate slang.
- Don’t enquire about salary, holidays, bonuses etc. at the initial interview. You should, however, know your market value and be prepared to specify your required salary or range.
Questions that may be asked could include:
- What do you think this position involves?
- Why did you choose a career in banking/finance/IT/accounting?
- What technical experience do you have that is relevant to this position?
- What appeals to you about working for our company?
- Why should the company hire you?
- Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
- When was your last salary review?
- What style of management gets the best from you? Give me an example
- What have you learned from some of the jobs you have held? Give me an example
- What was the best job you ever had and why?
- Can you give me an example that demonstrates initiative in your career?
- What are your major weaknesses and what are your strengths? What have you done to overcome your weaknesses
- What do you think determines a person's progress in a good company?
- Are you willing to relocate?
- What does ''teamwork'' mean to you?
- Tell me about a time when you have encountered conflict in the workplace
Avoid the pitfalls
Throughout the interview, the interviewer will be assessing your negative traits as well as your positive ones. The following are some negative traits that are frequently identified during the course of an interview and which in most cases will lead to rejection:
- Poor grooming
- Inability to answer questions succinctly - poor diction or grammar
- Not listening to the question that was asked – overselling yourself by answering what you think the interviewer wants to hear rather than sticking to the point
- Overbearing, aggressive, conceited or ''know it all'' attitude
- No evidence of career planning – lack of purpose or goals
- Lack of interest and enthusiasm – displaying passivity and indifference
- Nervousness or lack of confidence – nervous fidgeting
- Remuneration appears to be the main motivator
- Derogatory remarks about previous employers
- Failure to maintain eye contact with the interviewer
- Limp handshake
- Poor posture
- Unprepared for the interview – lack of research on the company displaying an inability to ask intelligent questions
Questions to ask the interviewer
Remember that every interview is a two way street. The interviewer is trying to determine whether you are the right person for their job and their team. Likewise, you need to assess whether this potential employer will provide the opportunity for career development and/or fulfilment that you seek. You are also both trying to ascertain whether the culture of the company is suited to you.
Besides this, the questions you ask will convey your interest and enthusiasm for the company and the role, while the interviewer will be impressed by your articulation of intelligent questions.
Some questions you might ask include:
- What is the main focus of the position?
- Why has the position become available?
- Describe the culture of the company?
- What kinds of people have previously been successful in the company?
- What are the career development prospects within this role?
- What induction/training programmes are available?
- Will the company support extra curricular studies?
- What plans does the company have for future development?
- Which are the company's most successful products or services?
- What is the next step from here?
Closing the Interview
If you are interested in the position ask what the next stage in the interview process will be. If the interviewer offers the position to you and you want it, accept on the spot. If you need some time to think it over, be courteous and tactful in asking for that time and specify a date by which you will provide your answer.
Don’t be discouraged if you are not offered the job on the spot. The interviewer will most likely need to consult with colleagues or interview other candidates (or both) before making a decision. In most situations a second interview is required. This may be with the interviewer’s manager or with other members of the team.
Thank the interviewer for the time they have spent with you
After the Interview
Lastly, and most importantly, call your Labourpower Candidate Manager immediately after the interview to explain what happened and to give your impressions of the company and the position in question. The Candidate Manager will want to speak with you before the interviewer calls.