Job interviews are a critical step in the achievement of a job offer. Your resume might be outstanding and your experience second to none…but if there isn’t chemistry in the job interview, you may miss out on the job. Here are a few more tips and hints on what you should expect when arriving at a job interview and how to make sure that you give it everything you’ve got!
‘Never go into a job interview,’ says Mitchell Posner in ‘Executive Essentials’, ‘without knowing clearly your answers to these questions’…
- An icebreaker question: e.g. So, what do you think of this weather we’re having?
- What was your last job? Why did you leave?
- What did you like about your past jobs? What did you hate?
- Those were your duties. What were your achievements?
- Tell me about yourself (Watch for raised eyebrows.)
- Now I know your best points. What about your shortcomings?
- If you could describe your ideal job, what would it be right now?
- What would be your ideal job in five years from now? Ten years? What are your career goals?
- Why do you think you are an ideal candidate for this job?
- And how much money did you say you wanted?
Different interviewers, different styles
There are in general four different personality styles of interviewers you will encounter and, according to Jeffrey Allen in ‘The Career Trap’, you may need to respond to them in different ways:
Outgoing and direct. These are the ‘people people’. Social and friendly, you can spot them by their non-conservative clothes and usually cluttered desks. Don’t be conservative or reserved. Smile frequently but get to the point fast. These types aren’t much on listening.
Self-contained and direct. These interviewers are reserved and conservative. They are goal- and bottom-line oriented. They talk little, smile less. Their clothes are impeccable, and their desks organised. Don’t joke around. Be all business, but don’t be intimidated.
Self-contained and indirect. These are the thinkers, lone wolves who don’t speak up or socialise. They’ll be wearing understated, practical clothes. They will resent any attempts to draw them out, so don’t try. Answer questions directly and succinctly. Give them time to analyse your answers.
Outgoing and indirect. The ‘helpers’, friendly but in a nice, non-aggressive manner. Take the time to establish rapport but don’t forget to accentuate qualifications. You’re not just here for a friendly chat.
The importance of eye contact
‘One study found that job applicants who engage in more eye contact are seen as more alert, dependable, confident, and responsible. In another study, only applicants who used an above-average amount of eye contact (accompanied by a high-energy level, speech fluency, and voice modulation) were invited back for a second interview.’
Connie Glaser & Barbara Smalley in More Power to You!.
Know the three key questions
Keep in the back of your mind and know the appropriate answers to the three sets of key questions the panel will want to know about you:
- What have been your major achievements? Which of these relate most closely to the position you are seeking?
- How well are you going to be able to perform in the role? What is your potential?
- Why should you be the one we choose? What are your special qualities that set you aside from the rest of the pack?
It could cost you that job!
A poll by online careers site Monster.com.au has revealed the pet hates of employers when it comes to candidates at job interview.
Using a mobile phone during an interview was voted top of the list in inappropriate behaviour. The second biggest faux-pas was swearing, followed by arriving 10 minutes or more late, and making offensive jokes.
Included among more alarming job interview stories revealed were:
- The candidate who threatened to blow up his briefcase with explosives if he wasn’t given the job.
- The jobseeker who turned up to an interview with a burger and fries and proceeded to eat lunch.
- The candidate who brought a personal stereo and listened to music while being interviewed because it helped him relax.
But, says Monster.com.au, all this doesn’t mean that candidates should not be themselves. ‘Showing personality always helps; it says you are a human being, but you need to tailor it for the circumstances’