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graduate

special

how to succeed in

Your job

interview

W

ith the effects of the recession still biting the UK’s employment market, successful job interviews are more important than ever. Sofia Prisco talked to body langauge expert Karen Williams and life coach Garry Lane to give you the best tips

Research

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Research is key to a successful interview. Try and find out as much information as possible about the interview, the job and the company. By finding out how to get there, who will be conducting the interview and the format of the interview you won’t have any surprises or find yourself unprepared. You must show the interviewer that you are eager. You can demonstrate this by doing background research on the company. You could look at the company’s successes in the past for example. It’s a good idea to get to know the job description of the post that you are applying, i.e. the duties expected, conditions of work and where you will work. Background research can enable you to be more interactive with the interview, and may give you the edge that you need in this competitive market. Karen Williams, owner of UK website Selfdiscovery.co.uk explains the importance of researching before an interview: “An interviewer can instantly recognise how much research an applicant has done. A keen and eager candidate will have researched as much as they can and as a result will be able to engage and interact with the interviewer. Research allows the applicant to convince the interviewer that they are best person for the job, which is their ultimate goal.”

Why are you leaving your current job? Why do you want this job? What are your strengths and weaknesses? What do you see yourself doing in 2/5/10 years time? How would your friends/ colleagues describe you?

Practice

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Karen Williams highlights the importance of practicing your interview technique beforehand: “Even if you only practice what you will do and say in the interview once, this is better than going into room and throwing yourself in at the deep end. If you do enough research, give yourself time to prepare, then you can near enough write a script as to how the interview will play out. Practicing your responses to the interviewers questions will make you look more confident and sure of yourself and what you are saying, even if you feel like you aren’t. The key is to maintain a calm, collected and confident persona even if you are petrified within.” It would be useful to record your practices so that you can listen back to your responses and can establish where you need to improve your answers. It is also good to prepare for questions that the interviewer may ask you, but you should also prepare some of your own questions to ask. This will enable you to demonstrate how interested you are. Here are some questions that you should practice answering and also some questions that you may find useful to ask the interviewer when you are given the opportunity. >>>

“The

key is to maintain calm, collected and confident.”

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April 2011

Could you tell me about the way the job has been performed in the past? And, what improvements you’d like to see happen? There are a lot of companies that have had to make redundancies of late. How has this company been able to maintain the workforce and continue to hire new employees? How would you describe the culture or spirit in this company? What are the challenges I would face in this position over the next three months?

www.moneyworks.com

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On the day...

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Firstly make sure that you have a really good nights’ sleep. The last thing you need is to be tired for your interview. You wont be able to think clearly and believe it or not, the interviewer will more than likely be able to pinpoint why. They have interviewed many hundreds of people and know the signs. Make sure you wake up with enough time to have a good filling breakfast that will sustain you ‘til the interview is over. You are better off waking up too early rather than too late. You want to give yourself enough time toget ready. If you wake up late with no time for a shower or hair and makeup you wont feel at your best and as a result will feel less confident. Karen expresses how crucial it is to arrive on time: “To arrive late to an interview is possibly the worst first impression you could give to a prospective employer. You will look unreliable, unprofessional and uninterested which is the complete opposite of the impression you are trying to make.”

Appearance

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Appearance is the most important interview tip that you could take on board. Your appearance will be the first thing that the interviewer notices about you, unless you have spoken on the telephone or via email previous to the interview. It is the opportunity to make a good impression, and as body language expert Garry Lane explains, it is also often the impression that lasts the longest. “It takes roughly about three seconds for someone to evaluate you when they meet you for the first time. This is why appearance is so imperative to the success of your interview. In the first three seconds you can have given them the impression that you are precisely what they want in an employee; presentable, reliable and conscientious.” Always ensure that your clothes are suitably smart for an interview.

“Appearance is so imperative to the success of your interview”

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April 2011

Also remember that smaller points such as hair and shoes are very important in making a good impression. Garry Lane continues: “Remember that the way you act within the first few minutes of meeting your interviewer is also very important. They will be making judgements and forming opinions about you and so what you say and how you act is very important. If they haven’t already addressed you by name, introduce yourself with a smiling friendly face. Once they have given you the go head to enter the room, hold your head high and confidently walk towards them or the chair that they have ushered you towards. Maybe take a bottle of water with you, in case of a dry throat.”

Last impressions

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“While you may think that the interview is done now, there is nothing more you can do here, you’re wrong. While the first few seconds are important, the last impression that you leave the interviewer will probably be how they remember you because it will be the last contact they have with you. “Therefore it’s important to leave a good impression as the interview draws to a close”, explains Karen Williams. “Make sure you thank the interviewer for their time and reassert your interest in the position. “

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