Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Interview Tips

1. Be on time!
- Take a trip to the venue before the day of your interview to see how long it will take.

- Excuses about public transport being useless or the traffic being heavy, however reasonable, won't prevent your chances being reduced if you are late.
- Remember - You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
- Aim to be early; you can always find a nearby cafe/shop/pub to wait in.
- And if worst comes to worst and you are going to be late, then definitely ring in and let them know.

2. Be prepared!
- Look at the company website and learn something about the industry before you attend your interview.

- Feed the interviewer the opportunity to talk proudly about something positive you have found.

3. Write down and practice possible questions!
- Writing them down and practicing them with someone will make it easier to remember when you get to the interview.

- Use the 'third person' when talking about the job to avoid sounding as though you assume the job is yours.
- It is fine to ask about the package on offer.
- Have questions ready for the interviewer. You could try a few more testing questions such as how they differentiate themselves from their competitors or what they think the toughest/hardest part of the job you applied for is.

4. What are your weaknesses?
- Don't answer with the common "None really, well, I'm a bit of a perfectionist actually!".

- Try to find an area of your experience/skill that is currently lacking. An interviewer will appreciate your honesty - as long as whatever you disclose can be easily remedied.

5. You never get a second chance to make a first impression!
- Smile!

- Dress professionally in simple business attire.
- Don't forget that firm handshake (when you meet at the beginning and again as you leave) and maintain eye contact, without glaring!

6. Be honest!
- There really is no point lying about your background and/or skills. If you get caught, or even manage to get the job and then get found out, you can be sure you won't be around for long!

- Job interviews are about matching needs - if there isn't a good match, then chances are that the job won't work out.

7. Check your CV for possible gaps!
- Make sure you know how you are going to explain time gaps on your CV.

8. Talk about specific achievements!
- Interviewers like to know how you felt about about a particular success. Some will ask for specific examples of things you've done that you're particularly proud of; how you solved problems; how you learned (and improved) from difficult situations.

9. Don't talk too much!
- Don't run away with the interview, communication is a two-way thing.

- Let the interviewer ask the question, and answer as concisely as possible without leaving out important information.
- To avoid rambling when answering situational questions, your answer should have 3 sections: (1) what you did, (2) how you did it, and (3) what the result was.

10. Be enthusiastic and positive!
- Don't criticize previous employers, particularly within the industry.

- Focus on positive achievements and views.

11. Don't give up!
- The fact is that you will not be offered every job, however perfect you think you may be for it.

- Feedback from interviews where you have been turned down can be invaluable for improving future results. Ask politely if they can give you any feedback for the future; there's a job out there for you somewhere.

CV Tips

1. Personal details:
- Include details such as your full name, address, home/mobile number and email address so that the employer is able to reach you for correspondence.

- It is recommended that you include date of birth as age is important for certain positions involving driving and car insurance. These details should be at the start of the cv.
- Marital status, family circumstances, mother’s name etc. are not necessary details.

- Make sure that if you have a driver’s licence, that it is evidently highlighted in your cv along with any points that you may have acquired.

2. Education/Achievements:
- Be sensible when including your educational details. Detail the most recent course studied but not the results of every single exam you’ve done!
- Include any achievements such as academic certificates or awards you may have received.

3. Work Experience:
- List the most recent experience first.
- Include the company name, your start and finishing dates, your job title and follow with a neat bullet-point list of your duties/achievements.
- Be more detailed on jobs that are most relevant to the position you are applying for.

4. Other details:
- You can also include details of extra curricular achievements such as sport, public speaking, etc.
- A short concise list of your hobbies is also a good idea as you may have something in common with the person reading your CV, which will help your application to stand out.

5. Keep it simple!
- No need for fancy paper, photographs, folders and so forth.
- There is no need to ‘pad it out’. Avoid long sentences and paragraphs; 2-3 pages are sufficient in length - anything longer starts to lose the interest of the individual reading it.

6. Spell Check:
- Watch out for typos, spellings, formatting, grammatical errors, etc., and always use a spell check.
- It can also be useful to have somoene else read over it, as they often spot mistakes you may not have noticed.