Congratulations, you have been selected for an interview! For most of us, our initial responses are, “what do I do?”, “how do I prepare?”, and “what questions will I be asked?”
Interviews can be nerve-wracking experiences, however they need not be. Your consultant at International Tax Search will guide you through the entire process; although there are a number of things you can do yourself to ensure your success.
Research the organisation and the role
Taking the time to learn as much as possible about the company’s services and products, as well as its customers and competitors, will give you an edge during the interview. This knowledge is the foundation on which you will construct answers that demonstrate your ability to perform in the role. Being able to demonstrate this information also highlights your diligent and conscientious approach – fine attributes in any prospective employee.
Know your resume
Often an interview will be based around the experience you have outlined in your resume. Ensure that you are familiar with the contents of your resume, including any gaps in employment. You will come across poorly if you are unable to refer accurately to the resume you submitted and you could give the impression that you have not provided an honest summary of your background and skills. Make sure you look the part – even if the working environment is casual you should be dressed in business attire. This will not only ensure you make a good first impression, but if you know you look good, you will feel more confident.
Show your enthusiasm
Be enthusiastic about the experience and skills you could contribute to the position you are being interviewed for. You can’t expect anyone else to be excited about the role you could play if you aren’t.
Although you do not have your biggest tools for conveying enthusiasm available during a telephone interview – your face and gestures – moving around can help to make you sound engaged, so why not stand up for the call? And even though they can’t see your face, smile! It will come across in your delivery.
Read the Job Description
Before going into your interview, read the job description again a few times so you fully understand what is entailed in the role you are interviewing for. A good exercise is to think of at least two examples of when you have demonstrated the skills and experiences being asked for in the job description.
Listen to the questions you are asked
Answering questions under pressure is difficult, but try to avoid going off on tangents. If you do wander off the point try and refocus your answer as you bring it to a close. If you are not clear about the question you are being asked, do not be afraid to ask for clarification.
Prepare your questions
As the interview is closing, you will often be asked if you have any questions. You should use this part of the interview as an opportunity to demonstrate your research on the company. This is also a chance for you to find out a little more about the role and the company; after all, you want to be sure it is the right position for you.
A good question to use in this part of the interview is “Do you feel that I am a good fit for this role?” Their answer will provide you with an opportunity to address any concerns they may have about your suitability.
Preparation for the big day
Know where you are going, who you are seeing and be there on time. Always make sure that you give yourself plenty of time to get to the agreed location, and if you are unfamiliar with it, do a dry run in advance. You need to factor in the time of the interview with the time of the day (i.e. an interview at 8:30am will need you to take into consideration rush hour traffic). Know where to park. If you are visiting a business park, then this shouldn’t be too much of an issue, however if the interview is in a city centre then this could add time onto your overall journey.
Know the name of the person who will be interviewing you. Nothing gives a worse impression of a potential new employee when they arrive at reception and they have no idea who they are supposed to ask for. Remember your interview begins when you enter the office so be polite and warm if you meet the receptionist. There have been many examples of people not receiving a job offer purely due to the way they interacted with the receptionist.
Interview Tips - The Dos
- DO take a practice run to the location where you are having the interview, or be sure you know exactly where it is and how long it takes to get there.
- DO create a positive first impression by smiling and shaking your interviewer’s hand.
- DO shake hands firmly. No one likes a limp or clammy handshake.
- DO wait until you are offered a chair before sitting. Sit upright and look interested and alert at all times.
- DO show that you are a good listener as well as a good speaker.
- DO look your interviewer in the eye while you talk to them, but DON’T stare.
- DO offer evidence and examples to add weight to your answers.
- DO dress the part for the job, the company, and the industry.
- DO put across your good points in a factual, logical and sincere manner. Highlight your achievements.
- DO stress what you can do for the company, rather than what the company can do for you.
- DO fill out the application form neatly and in full if the employer presents you with one.
- DO be on time. Ideally, try to arrive at least 10 minutes early.
- DO read the corporate information found in their reception area (if there’s time). This can be a rich source of memory-jogging information.
- DON’T enquire about salary, vacations, bonuses, retirement, or other benefits until you have received an offer. Be prepared for a question about your salary requirements, but try and delay salary talk until you have an offer.
- DON’T smoke before an interview.
- DON’T chew gum or eat.
- DON’T waffle, ramble or go off on extreme tangents.
- DON’T lie. Answer questions truthfully, frankly and as succinctly as possible.
- DON’T ever make derogatory comments about your present or former employers.
- DON’T answer phone calls during the interview. In fact, turn off your cell phone and/or MP3 player.
- DON’T answer questions with just a simple “yes” or “no”. Explain wherever possible.
Frequently asked Interview Questions
- What have your achievements been to date?
- What have you failed to achieve to date?
- Why do you want this job?
- What qualities do you think will be required for this job?
- Why do you want to work for this company?
- What do you know about this company?
- How do you measure your own performance?
- What is the most difficult situation you have had to face and how did you tackle it?
- What is your greatest weakness?
- What are your strengths?
- What do you dislike about your present job?
- Give an example of when you have worked under pressure.
- Give an example of when your work was criticised.
Questions to ask the interviewer:
- What will my responsibilities be?
- Where will I fit into the overall organisational structure?
- Who will I report to?
- What do you expect me to achieve in the first six months?
- What level of performance is expected from the role? Who are your customers?
- Where is the company going? Upwards? Expansion plans?
- What are the opportunities for advancement/promotion in this position?
- What training do you provide?
- When will you decide on the appointment?
- What is the next step?