"Whatever fears or misgivings you may have about going for an interview, it does represent the normal way for you to sell yourself to an employer."
From the interviewer’s point of view your job interview is an opportunity to explore more fully what has already been learned about you from your CV, job application form, letter of application or other recommendation. From these documents the interviewer will have some insight into your social skills, work motivation, keenness for the job, and likely long-term commitment.
Remember, your objective is to be offered the job by convincing the interviewer that you are capable of doing it better than any of the other candidates. To do this, some preparation is necessary.
It is important to find out as much as possible about the company and the particular job being applied for. Few employers can resist the candidate who has more than a superficial knowledge of the organisation and who has taken the trouble to find out about it. The type of information you should try to get hold of includes: -
Although you will probably not use all the information during the interview, the fact that you have it will boost your confidence greatly and the odd comment which shows you know about the company is bound to impress the interviewers.
Make sue you know where the interview is being held and how to get there. Allow plenty of time for traffic jams and public transport running late. Most people do not like to be kept waiting and it creates a bad impression if you do not turn up on time. If you are unavoidably late, try to telephone and let the company know that you will be late and why you have been delayed.
It's important to pay attention to personal grooming since appearances do count. Dirty shoes, unkempt hair and grubby clothes can create an unfavourable first impression which is difficult to overcome.
Be sure you know the name of the person you are about to see and his/her position in the organisation.
A job interview may last 15 minutes, an hour or even longer. You will be asked many questions – some straightforward factual ones and others more complicated – as the interviewer tries to find out about your aptitudes towards life and work.
How you get on at the actual interview is critical as jobs are offered largely on the strength of a good performance.
If you have the experience and ability to do the job, you must not let your interview let you down. Even if all the candidates could do the job equally well, some of them will give the impression that they will be unsuitable. What impression you wish to give is up to yourself.
Be prepared to answer at least some of these questions.
Areas such as these will be investigated with the aim of finding out if you would be the most suitable person for the job.
Contrary to what you might think, most interviewers are not trying to trip you up or trap you. He or she merely wishes to be convinced that you are the person for the job. It is up to you to put your abilities, experience and achievements over in a positive way to the interviewer and to convince him/her that you are the most suitable candidate for the job.
Be professional and business like.
Do ask about the job. Intelligent questions about the job not only make a good impression but can provide you with information you need to help you decide whether the post is an appropriate one for you.
Towards the end of an interview you are likely to be given the chance to ask questions yourself. Provided they have not already been dealt with, it is reasonable to ask about some of the following:-
At the end of the interview thank the interviewer(s) and leave confidently. Do not overstay your welcome.
At the end of the interview you may not be told whether you have got the job. Other candidates may still have to be interviewed or other people in the firm may have to be consulted before making a final decision.
However well the interview went, do not assume that the job is yours until you have an offer in writing. You should continue with your job search until you receive a firm offer.
If you have not heard from the employer within a fortnight it is reasonable to contact the company to find out the position.
If you are offered the job, immediately confirm in writing that you accept.
Remember it is not the end of the world if you are unsuccessful. Look on it as good experience, since the more interviews you go to the better your performance will become. Try to be objective, analyse what went wrong and learn by your mistakes.
Panel (or Board) interviews can be somewhat disconcerting: it is almost impossible to establish rapport with several interviewers in a short space of time.
The points made earlier about dress and grooming, and about how you move and sit, are even more important for panel interviews than for those conducted by a single interviewer - there are more eyes observing you.
It is particularly important to speak clearly and loudly enough for all the panel members to hear what you say. Direct an answer primarily to the person who asked the question, but look at the others from time to time and be alert to any reactions from them (nods of approval etc).
Try not to answer questions with YES or NO or other single words. Always expand your answers into at least a few sentences.
Do not draw attention to any of your weaknesses (e.g., age, physical shortcomings, lack of qualifications, long time out of work) by making constant reference to it or by apologising. Be prepared to cope with questions on weak or sensitive areas.
Be ready with answers which show up your strong points, especially those which are relevant to this particular job e.g. ‘I get on well with other people’ or I work well with figures’. Try to give practical examples where possible. And do not criticise present or past employers.
Most importantly! LISTEN to what you are being asked and THINK before you answer.
Finally, here are some of the questions employers frequently ask, and the reason why they ask them.
(To see if you have learned anything about the company before applying)
(Your answer reveals some of your interests and aptitudes)
(To see abilities and interests which your work or school record did not reveal)
(An honest answer is a great help to an employer, but be careful not to brag)
(Shows if you can recognise your own faults – but do not overdo it)
(This is your chance to show your drive, ambition and ultimate goal)
(If you are not certain, say “Any fair salary is fine, to start”)
(Many jobs require travel – think about it before you are asked)
(This gives you a chance to show that you have abilities useful to your potential employer)
(In case you had problems there)
(To bring out any qualities that would make you a good employee)
(To show you are a constructive person who has accomplishments)
(Most employers prefer a person who has selected a job to one who drifted into it)
(This should relate to the job for which you are applying; but do not show limited ambition by setting your sights too low)
(To see if you are a well-rounded person, with varied interests)
Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment (DETI)
Registry of Companies, Credit Unions and Industrial & Provident Societies,
1st Floor, Waterfront Plaza,
8 Laganbank Road,
Belfast BT1 3BS
Tel: 0845 604 88 88
The Department provides basic information on all NI companies, both public and private. Records are available for public inspection. The information you can obtain includes the registered office of the company, name of the directors and secretary, how many shares have been issued etc.