Friday 3 June 2011

Interviews: maximising your impact (part 1)

1. Preliminary


• Find out as much about the company as you can. Get hold of annual reports (available in large libraries or directly from the company itself), research the company on the internet. If you have applied through a recruitment consultancy (such as Harvey Nash) most of this research will have been done for you. The type of information you might want to research: nature of the business, number of people, revenue of company, revenue forecast, number/location of offices, general dedication to career development.

• Try to judge what the strategic and operational objectives of your prospective employer are, how this role contributes to their achievement and what you may bring to fulfil these objectives.

• Sign up for Google News alerts to keep up with latest developments in the company.

• Allow plenty of time to travel to the interview location - plan to arrive 15 minutes early. Always wear smart business attire (even if the company allows casual dress). Make sure you are clear on who is interviewing you and what the interview process is. How many interviews will you have? What are the interviewers' names/job titles? How will these people contribute to the decision making process? Will there be any tests? If you are working with a recruitment consultancy (such as Harvey Nash) most of this research will have been done for you. Bring along a spare copy of your CV.


• Upon arrival, if you have brought a coat/umbrella try to find somewhere to put them before you meet the interviewer. Sit down, look relaxed (even if you're not!).

• Upon first meeting your interviewer make sure you shake his/her hand firmly - make eye contact, smile. Be prepared to make polite conversation - 'Did you find us OK?' - always try to answer these questions with more than just Yes/No answers. Perhaps you might want to comment on the attractiveness of the office environment or the ease by which you got there.

• In the interview room, play safe with your etiquette. Don't take your jacket off without asking, sit down after or at the same time as the interviewer.

• Pay close attention to your physical communication throughout the interview. This means good eye contact (i.e. looking at the interviewer for over 70% of the time - if you have more than one interviewer always try to address all of them with your answers). Don't cross your arms (it looks very 'defensive'), don't slump in the seat, smile.

• Don’t be flippant, keep control of your sense of humour, at least at the first stage and treat the beginning of the interview with the seriousness it deserves.

• When meeting senior prospective employers who are not UK nationals, ensure you know the etiquette and protocols that ensure you are not offensive. If you show that you have the knowledge and apply the etiquettes, you will give yourself the edge over your rival candidates.


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