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Interview Tips

So the CV got you in the door, but that’s just the start of it. The face to face interview is where you 'clinch the deal'. Interviewing well can sometimes be more important than actual relevant career experience. Often, the person who interviews best is offered the position over the person with the more relevant career experience.

Remember, once you’re in the door, your CV has done its job, now it’s over to you. Your CV will have meant you are on at least equal footing with other applicants and the employer will be satisfied that you have the relevant experience to be invited forward for interview. Now is the time to make yourself stand out as being head and shoulders above the competition.

This is your big chance to really promote yourself, so it pays to prepare.

Doing the homework

  • Before entering the interview door make sure you know the background to the company, their key activities and detail about the job in question
  • Access the company’s website
  • Request company marketing literature
  • Research the company’s market sector and competition on the internet
  • Use your research to make sure you have a list of questions to ask the interviewer
    (Refer to the ‘Interview Questions’ page of this website for some ideas)

Preparing for the day

  • Do a dummy run to ensure you know exactly where you are going for the interview
  • Prepare answers to the classic / standard interview questions
  • Make sure you know your own C.V.

On the day

  • If you don’t arrive early, you’re late. Allow plenty of time for parking and signing in at reception etc
  • Aim to arrive at least 15 minutes before your interview time. This will allow you time to relax rather than rushing, and will make a good impression with the employer
  • Greet the interviewer with a firm handshake, a positive smile and good eye contact
  • Don’t worry! It’s easy to be your own worst enemy by clamming up and being nervous. Remember, you’re talking about something you’re an expert on, you. Be yourself, talk confidently about your experience and skills and enjoy the interview

Look the part

  • You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. If you look the part, there is an initial assumption you can do the job
  • Dress professionally. A dark business suit works well, with a co-ordinating shirt and tie for men and a shirt or formal top for women
  • Keep jewellery to an absolute minimum. Ideally just wedding ring and watch
  • Do not chew gum during the interview or whilst waiting
  • Do not smoke before the interview. You want the interviewer to be bowled over with how smart you are, not overpowered with the smell of cigarettes

Tips for a good CV

A professional CV can occasionally itself secure you a job especially if you are applying for temporary work. At the very least a good CV will ensure you promote yourself to your best advantage and help secure interviews.

Here are our tips on putting your CV together...

  • Keep it to between two and four A4 pages
  • Use an easy to read font
  • Make the layout clear, simple and uncluttered
  • Put your skills and qualifications on the front page
  • Put your most recent job first
  • Make your strengths; qualifications and experience stand out by using bullet points
  • If you decide to add training courses only include relevant courses
  • Be honest. Inconsistency or lies will come to the surface sooner or later
  • Don’t leave gaps in dates between jobs
  • State your job title/discipline in a brief summary giving your core skills and work profile
  • Don’t try to be clever or humorous and use business language
  • There is no need to say why you left your last job and don’t mention personality clashes
  • Don’t give details of primary education
  • Try to avoid abbreviations and buzz words
  • Only include hobbies/interests if you really think it will improve your chances of getting the role
  • Enclose an enthusiastic cover note

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