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We've split interview advice into two sections (telephone and face to face) however much of the advice is applicable to either scenario so we'd recommend you read both sections.
Get out of that chair! - Try standing up and even walking around a bit during a phone interview. People tend to speak more clearly and confidently when standing.
Lose the distractions - If at all possible, find a nice, comfortable, and quiet place for your phone interview … maybe your house, office (if it’s private), or even a local park. Avoid busy locations like coffee houses and restaurants. Try not to talk while driving in your car. You’ll only get flustered. If the suggested time is not convenient for you to ensure you talk from a good place for you, ask the interviewer to reschedule for a better time.
Don’t forget your CV - Print out a copy of your CV to reference while answering questions. While we wouldn’t advise speaking directly from your resume during the interview, your resume provides a concise cheat sheet for you to ensure you don’t forget any highlights in your experience.
Define your talking points - Just as PR departments draft official talking points around popular or controversial issues, you should also prepare a few sentences around prominent events in your own experience. Think of creative stories that highlight your competencies and innovative ideas you have for the job that you want to make sure the interviewer hears. You should still let the interviewer drive the discussion and direction of topics, but these talking points will help you sneak in some of your own flavour, when it’s applicable.
What’s the job? Research the company, division and job for which you are interviewing. Print out the job description for which you are being considered. If no job description is available think about what your ideal job in the company would be or how you think you could best contribute given your skills and interests. Type up these ideas and print them out. This description will help you frame your answers and maintain your focus throughout the conversation.
Do you have any questions? Almost every interview ends with the interviewer asking, “Do you have any questions for me?” Since you know the question is coming, write down two to three questions you’d like to ask ahead of time.
FACE TO FACE INTERVIEWS
In many ways, the first impression in an interview is the most important one, so make sure that you:
Look good - clean, well dressed, well shaven. A suit is a very good idea - if not, a tie and jacket are virtually a necessity.
Are friendly to EVERYONE you meet - especially the receptionist and anyone who comes to collect you.
Are prepared - make sure that you have some questions about the company prepared - particularly about the technology and the direction of the technology.
Have studied! - for technical interviews, review relevant technologies and go back to basics. Many interviews include theory questions from university days.
Remember - without being pushy:
(a) Sell yourself. (b) Sell your skills. (c) Sell your potential.
People you meet will imagine working with you and how you will fit into the team. This is why it is important to make a positive and enthusiastic impression in the first 5 minutes.
Research the company: its policies, products and financial standing. Understand the details of the position for which you are being interviewed.
Get a contact name and telephone number and also check the route and journey time.
Decide what you are going to wear several days in advance - this allows plenty of time for pressing, polishing etc. Dress should be smart and 'conform'.
Be familiar with what you have written on your application form/CV - take a copy with you, and be prepared to support the statements on your CV with examples.
Arrive at the company location in good time and report to the interview at least 10 minutes before the appointment. If you have any delay, telephone the company and advise them.
It is essential that you are courteous and professional from the moment you arrive. Check with the receptionist about the correct pronunciation of the interviewer's name and status.
Entrance into the interview must create the right impression - head up, straight back, smiling face and exuding energy. Appear interested. Look the interviewer in the eye and shake hands firmly.
Once seated, sit straight, maintain eye contact and try to avoid fidgeting. Understand the context of the interviewer - ie find out their job title and function (they may tell you this without needing to ask questions).
If the interview is going well, do not allow your body to relax too much - remain alert and interested in everything that is said.
Be positive. For the purposes of the interview, this is the only job you want. Vague expressions of interest are pointless.
Respond continually to points being made. Present all answers clearly and thoughtfully. Avoid digressing. Do not talk too much.
Keep your poise at all times.
You are there because of your application/CV. Don't go into great depth about issues/accomplishments not related to the position.
Never run down or make snide comments about your present/previous employers/colleagues.
Avoid arguments over detail and never be offensive. Be firm and persuasive but never lose your temper.
Make suggestions as to how the work could be tackled but do not be dictatorial.
Obtain a good understanding of what the job entails before discussing salary.
If it has not already been made clear by the end of the interview, ask if there is anything lacking in your knowledge/experience which could be a problem.
Interview questions generally fall into four main categories. Be prepared to give answers about the following:
(a) Work experience (b) Education (c) Family and home life (d) Current activities, interests and hobbies
Main reasons why people fail interviews are:
(a) Failure to be friendly/communicate openly. (b) Unsuitable appearance by way of clothing/grooming (c) Inability to express views clearly (d) Failure to project self objectively and realistically in the context of the role (e) Failure to show self confidence/enthusiasm (f) Over criticism of former employers/ colleagues (g) Too much evidence of fickleness in job-hopping
Remember – don’t be defensive. Even if it seems the interviewers are being tough on you, they want you to succeed.