How To Say You Worked For Tips On Job Application Job Interviews – 5 Essential Tips For Success

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Job Interviews – 5 Essential Tips For Success

The job market is the most competitive it’s been for many years, with no sign of an imminent improvement. Whether you are currently out of work, or looking to change your job, you are facing stiff competition to secure the job you desire.

I have interviewed job applicants for major companies for most of my working life and you’ll be surprised at seemingly minor mistakes that result in unsuccessful interview outcomes. By preparing effectively for any job interview, you can avoid these mistakes and maximise your chance of being offered the job.

1. Research

Find out all you can about the company and the person who will be interviewing you. Study their website, read press articles, Google your interviewer’s name. The more you can discover the better. We all respond to flattery and being able to demonstrate during the interview that you are interesed enough in them and their organisation to have bothered to research them will give a positive impression of you. Also, remember that the interviewer will ask if you have any questions at the end of the interview. Your research will allow you to ask pertinent questions.

2. Anticipate Awkward Questions

Awkward questions are a dread for most interviewees. It’s probably the main thing that can make you nervous. If you are hit by an awkward question ‘out of the blue’, it’s incredibly difficult to deal with. When I did a lot of interviewing, one of my favourite questions ask at the end of the interview was: “Over your life to date, what 3 things have you achieved that you can now look back on with the most pride?” This question was designed to test a candidates ability to think on their feet and summarise their main strengths, based on empirical evidence. Most candidates struggled badly, but only because the question hit them cold. So anticipate this type of question. What are your main strengths and achievements? Think it through before the interview and consider evidence to support your claims. Think about your weaknesses. What have you done to overcome or mitigate them. If you get a question about weaknesses or failures, give an honest answer, but also finish on a positive by explaining what you have changed or learnt.

3. Appearance

We all know the importance of first impressions. Your interviewer will start to make subconscious judgements about you as soon as they see you – before you have even said hello. These judgements affect how they respond to you. For example, if you look untidy and poorly groomed, this will influence the interviewer’s interpretation of everything you say. If you tell them that you always complete your work to the highest standards, they will at best have doubts about this, or at worst, not believe you. Wear clothes that are appropriate for the organisation and job you are applying for. Make sure your clothes are well presented, your shoes are polished and that your grooming is right. What you are really doing is showing them that you think that they are important enough for you to make an effort. Also, if you wear smart clothes and look your best, it boosts your confidence and you’ll come across with more gravitas.

4. Small-Talk

Don’t underestimate the importance of the little chat that is standard human interaction before we get down to business. The interviewer will have already formed an impression of you from your appearance and body language. That impression is then cemented through the first 90 seconds of dialogue. Have something to talk to them about. Look around in reception whilst your waiting to be collected. You will be sure to see things that you can talk about. Framed awards on the wall, models of their products, a photograph of the opening of their new offices. These are all things you can use to lead the small-talk and create a positive impression. If you can take the effort of keeping the small-talk going from them, you will again positively influence them.

5. Promote The Contribution You Can Provide

All employers are looking for someone who can add value to their organisation. Important areas are your ability to communicate effectively, sell ideas or products and work efficiently, whilst getting on with everyone around you. In profit-driven organisations, you also need to show some commercial accumen. Think of examples where you have developed yourself in these areas and don’t miss chances to promote these skills at every opportunity. For every claim you make about your abilities, think of a real example you can give to validate that claim.

Finally, employers will almost always place interpersonal, or soft-skills, above technical skills. I was always most likely to appoint the ‘best person’ in terms of their personality. On this, I would make no compromises. If that person lacked some technical skills for the job, I would compromise. Because I knew that technical skills are relatively easy to train and that for the right person, that was an investment worth making.

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