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We’ve put together a list of our most frequently asked questions about job interviews. From what clothes to wear to an interview, to how to handle difficult questions, we can help you.
Business coach and author Richard Maun believes that interviewers make up 90% of their mind about a candidate in the first 90 seconds of an interview. Therefore, it is a good idea to dress to impress!
Always try to dress one notch above the position you’ve applied for. For instance, if a shirt and tie is required to be worn every day at the firm you are hoping to join, wear a suit to the interview. Regardless of the company that is interviewing you, never wear trainers, T-shirts or tracksuits. Contact the company in advance to get advice on what to wear if you are unsure.
Remember that certain questions such as ‘What are your strengths and weaknesses?’ are asked in almost every interview, so think of good answers for them and practice saying them. Think of moments where you have shone, both in your personal and professional life.
Do some research on the company and the job you are being interviewed for. Employers will be impressed if you can tell them how your skills fit well with the requirements of the role. Finally, choose appropriate clothing for the interview and plan your route to the venue a day or two in advance. Leave early in case of heavy traffic or bad weather.
If the interviewer asks you to talk about yourself, give a one-minute summary of your career, starting with the present, then your past and finishing with your hopes for the future. When asked how a colleague might describe you, use a fairly recent instance when a colleague has praised you for your work. You may also be asked about your weaknesses, so think of one and the ways in which you can work to address them.
Confident posture and a firm handshake are key to helping you ace an interview. Combined with an even tone of voice, these will convey positive signals to your interviewer. It is important to keep calm and steer clear from defensive body language such as folding your arms. Keep eye contact with members of the interview panel and speak clearly without going too fast. Remain friendly and remember to smile.
Remember that if what you are saying conflicts with how you are saying it, then people will naturally believe the signals from your body language instead of the words you speak.
A competency-based interview covers areas of the job that employers deem important. They need to know whether you can carry out certain tasks competently and will ask you questions based on these tasks. The questions may concentrate on procedures or challenges you may face in the job. If you can solve problems with a cool head, then an employer is bound to be impressed.
Make sure you research the company’s history and the requirements that go with the job role. You are likely to be asked competency-based questions in the interview that give solid anecdotal proof that you have overcome challenging situations. Therefore, prepare yourself by noting down different examples from your past where you have used your problem solving skills, shown excellent leadership qualities and achieved personal goals. You are likely to be asked questions that will involve these areas at some point in the interview.
As an employer, you want to employ people who are qualified or experienced enough to do the job that you are interviewing them for. But anyone who doesn’t fit these criteria will already be removed at the application stage, therefore your main objective in the interview is to ensure that you pick a candidate that has an attitude and personality that fits with your company. To do this you could ask: ‘Every person we are interviewing today has the same qualifications and experience for this role. Why are you different and why should we take you on?’
You can ask interview questions that can give further insights into their personality such as: ‘Give me an example of when you had to face adversity and how did you deal with it?’. Skills-based questions are also useful depending on the role, for example: ‘Sell me this pen.’