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Guide to Interviews - Prepare for Your Interview to Get That Job


8/3/2011 12:16:46 PM

By Paul Gless, Sigma IS Recruitment

1. Introduction
Before attending an interview, you first have to sell yourself on a CV. It doesn't stop here, this is when you start to prepare for the interview by fact-finding about the company and researching questions you want answering.

The most important aspect of the interview is not only is the interviewer assessing your suitability for the role, but asking yourself if this is the right company for you, and will you fit in to the company's workplace.

2. Preparing for the Interview
Once you have been successfully selected to interview stage you'll need to think about how to tackle the interview. The more prepared you are the more confident you will be.

Preparation - Who are you? Think about your skills, competencies, qualifications and experience.

How are you perceived? Talk to friendly colleagues, present or recent, about their view of you as a team member, your strengths and ask their opinion of your CV as it shows these

What is your objective? What job function(s) can and should you do and in what sector or environment? Try and get some advice from this perspective as well.

Getting on the interview is not the objective, just part of it.

Who are your targets? It is important for you to know if there are any companies you don't want work for, have already contacted or on the other hand are very interested in working for, and the industry types you want to work in.

This gives a basic idea to work from and if any other jobs come up that may suit you then you have a better chance of being contacted to discuss how you would feel about companies being approached on your behalf. There's no point you being put forward for a position that you will not want to follow-up.

Once you have been offered an interview, what do you need to know about the company? Products, size, locations, style, reputation both as employers and suppliers, and the sort of job they would have for you.

Before the interview itself it may be handy to read the rest of this guide, so you strengthen your good signals and curb the weak ones.

3. Interview Types
There are different types of job interviews you may participate in during the recruitment process. Each interview you attend will be different in many different ways, the information below outlines the more often used processes and gives you some tips on how to handle them.

One-on-one Interview (Most commonly used)
In a one-on-one interview, it has been established that you have the skills and education necessary for the position. The interviewer wants to see if you will fit in with the company, and how your skills will complement the rest of the department. Your goal in a one-on-one interview is to establish rapport with the interviewer and show him or her that your qualification will benefit the company.

Screening Interview
A screening interview is meant to weed out unqualified candidates. Providing facts about your skills is more important than establishing rapport. Interviews will work from an outline of points they want to cover, looking for inconsistencies in your resume and challenging your qualifications. Provide answers to their questions, and never volunteer any additional information. That information could work against you. One type of screening interviews is the telephone interview.

Stress Interviews
Stress interviews are a deliberate attempt to see how you handle yourself. The interviewer may be sarcastic or argumentative, or may keep you waiting. Expect this to happen and, when it does, don't take it personally. Calmly answer each question as it comes. Ask for clarification if you need it and never rush into an answer. The interviewer may also lapse into silence at some point during the questioning. Recognize this as an attempt to unnerve you. Sit silently until the interviewer resumes the questions. If a minute goes by, ask if he or she needs clarification of your last comments.

Lunch Interview
The same rules apply in lunch interviews as in those held at the office. The setting may be more casual, but remember it is a business lunch and you are being watched carefully. Use the lunch interview to develop common ground with your interviewer. Follow his or her lead in both selection of food and etiquette.

Panel or Committee
Interview Committee interviews are a common practise. You will face several members of the company who have a say in whether you are hired. When answering questions from several people, speak directly to the person asking the question; it is not necessary to answer to the group. In some committee interviews, you may be asked to demonstrate your problem solving skills. The committee will outline a situation and ask you to formulate a plan that deals with the problem. You don't have to come up with the perfect answer, they are interested in how you deal with different scenarios, can you think quickly and they will be looking to see your problem solving abilities.

4. Body Language
Interviewers will start to make judgement about you as soon as you enter the room. These first impressions are very powerful in influencing their final decisions, however relevant they are to successful job performance.

How you present yourself

* When walking and standing, keep reasonable erect. When seated do not lean too far forward or backward nor adopt a bolt-upright position. Try to open up your body and only move forward when you want to show interest.

* Give the interviewer as much eye contact as you can - to catch their attention, when you are not speaking to them, when you would like to get into the conversation, but do not stare them out.

* Try to maintain open postures with your hands, arms and body. Do not fold and cross arms, do not clench and unclench fists. Use these parts of your body to express yourself.

* Try not to talk too fast or too slowly. You will be appreciated best if you can divide your time more or less equally between being seen to talk and listen. Make sure you can be heard without deafening the interviewer and are modulating your voice a little from time to time for the sake of emphasis and variety.

* Eye contact is important. Research suggests that if you make contact more than 65% of the time, you could be making the other person feel uncomfortable. Alternatively, if you make eye contact for less than about 50% of the time, you could be seen as untrustworthy.

Develop your Listening Skills
Your listening skills are important. Possibly for as much as half the interview time, you will be required to listen. Ideally a trained interviewer will be encouraging you to talk more than half of the time. Only by listening can you discover what other people want and how you can satisfy their needs. It is vital that you remain an attentive listener throughout your interview. You cannot afford to let your thoughts wander off in to any of your "hidden agendas" - the other things on your mind, which are unrelated to what is going on in front of you.

As a good listener you will:

* Make eye contact
* From time to time nod up and down to show agreement and understanding
* Let the speaker talk without interrupting
* From time to time ask for clarification of what has been said
* Keep your prejudices and emotions under control
* Keep your mind open until the speaker has finished and don't try to evaluate what is being said halfway through the statement

Paul Gless, Sigma IS Recruitment

Sigma IS Recruitment introducing IT professionals to provide IT services to your business and projects.

Get more advice on CV/resume and interviews visit http://sigmais.co.uk/candidates

Check out the latest Career Insider eNewsletter - August 4, 2011.

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