Friday, 27 June 2014

Just another Job Interview

In the past few months I have attended some job interviews. Most were to actually try to get into a different job, some were just for the sport of it.
Here I am writing to say that I do have an opinion. It is up to the interviewee to be ready for the the big day, the big appointment, the big meeting. That is true, for sure! It takes time to get ready for an interview, doing some company research, practising questions and answers, reminding oneself of good manners, practising good speech... figuring out what to wear, how to look, what shoes to wear, what jacket to put on if any, deciding how to get to the right place at the right(!) time...
We all know that the list goes on and on, and each and every one of us has certain things we know we need more time for.

Whilst doing company research (if it is known before hand, of course), we mostly check out their web-page. This is wise and common as most companies do have websites nowadays. Usually they'll have the crucial facts there, often much more. Your mission is to, at least, know the basic, so you are able to explain what the company is. Know the name, location(s), industry, basic goals, any specifics...etc. While we're on this topic, it is also very important to know about the position that you've applied for, know what will be your basic tasks, your duties, work schedule, anything you can find out. If necessary, jot down some notes for yourself.

If you haven't done this until now, then you should most definitely google search the most common interview questions. And while you're at it, also search for tips on how to answer the questions. Even if you think you know what to say, it's good to just see what out there. Very often such online articles are written by people who do recruitment, so they know what they are saying.
I do want to mention some questions you should be ready to answer at any time.
You have to know what are your strengths and weaknesses. If you are not certain of what they are, think of something you're doing now (school/collage/other job/anything) and think what things are easy for you, simple, and what are things that are tougher. You can also take some of those silly online personality tests (they don't even have to be the big, long, broad and extensive ones), in the results they often display what are your personalities pros and cons. It's better than nothing (i.e. better than answering I don't know).
Another important question - where do you see yourself in five years? Now, you do not have to have a detailed plan of your every day within the next five years (that would be very strange, may I add). But you should have some kind of vision of what you think you'll be doing, where will you want to be career wise. Again, say something, anything but I don't know.
To get my point across, there is nothing you "don't know," you should avoid saying that. It comes across as if you're insecure, unsure, unstable, unreliable, ...etc. And nobody wants that kind of person as their employee.
Practise all sorts of questions. You could even role-play an interview with a friend, or any other human being.

As for good manners. The most, MOST important one is to be on time! NO! Not ON time, you MUST be there some minutes before the actual time. Firstly, you have to have some extra minutes just in case you miss that bus, you get lost, you get in traffic, or you forgot something at home.... Leave some spare minutes so you don't have to be in rush, even if something unexpected happens. Second, you just have to be there 10-15 minutes early. It gives you time to catch a breath, to get a look around (if possible), to relax a bit before the tyrants eat you up alive...
As for other manners, you know the basic communication. Don't speak while someone else is speaking, don't yell, shout or get angry. But don't be totally quiet either, they need to hear what you have to say (that's why you're there after all).
That's it, I'd feel embarrassed if I had to say anything more.

We all know very well that the first impression forms a great deal of your character - the one that they will see. You have to look good. Some time ago on a website I read that you have to look about 10% better than the person who is interviewing you. You have to show that you know how to dress appropriately. You really do have to look good! There are some fancy-pancy researches that say what colours leave a better impression, etc, etc, etc. You can go ahead and research it. But in the end of the day you're gonna wear something you already have. Also, wear something you're comfortable in, something that is the right size - not too big, not too small-too tight. In other words, wear something that will not cause unnecessary discomfort. You do have to make sure the clothing is clean, ironed, not worn-out... These are simple things, you don't want to look sloppy.
Also, put jewellery that will not be too flashy, disturbing, or send wrong message (big no, no are any discriminating signs). Stay classy! This one goes out mostly to women, watch your make-up level!

While at the interview you just have to go along with the cliché - be honest! YES! It's been said countless time before and it will be said countless times in the future - be honest. Don't lie, don't make up things, don't say something just because it would sound cool if it's not true. Stand by what you say, don't say one thing and then the total opposite. Show a good character that you have, like a good sense of humour. You don't have to be laughing all the time, but just a pinch of humour here and there will do it. If you're talkative, make sure you don't talk rubbish. If you're a serious person, that too can be well presented in the interview.

Also, the interviewer is not the only one asking questions!!! You have to go with some questions prepared, and think of questions along the way. If you have no questions, it means that you don't care. But you do care! So ask away.

I should also note that in the past few interviews I've had very often (WAY TOO often) the people interviewing me haven't actually read my CV! They get paid to interview me! I spend my time to get ready, to go there, and to spend the time for the actual interview... and they can't even bother to read two pages of clearly laid out information. It is, what, 600 words tops! Is it really so hard??? How do I know this - I mention something that's on my CV as a matter of fact, and they are suddenly surprised and re-asking me. As if I have to lean over and point my finger into the page that is standing right in front of them. I know it's a century where time is money, but if I spend the time to go to the interview, then they should have at least the decency to read what they have.
My point being, at times it is important to mention something you've noted in your CV and you really want them to know.  Just saying.

Remember, your time is limited. (Most of the time) you will not know how many other candidates they are interviewing for the same position, so you have to stand out. There has to be something to your character that they end up thinking THAT guy/gal, yeah she was something. (And when I say - stand out - I don't mean in a bad way, leave a positive impression!)

At the end of the day you want to be remembered as the perfect future employee!

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