Your Career, Your Choices

Eight ‘do’s of job interviews

During the summer break some employers found it difficult to put interview panels together. So it’s no wonder that many people are being called to interview now as we all get back to business. Here are ten essential interview tips to help you get that job, writes Sabina Trench, Sli Nua Careers.

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail

Treat your interview preparation as an assignment that must be completed by interview day. Review the job specification in detail, research the company, and prepare your examples ahead of time. You must prepare for interview, ‘winging it’ is not an option.

Get there on time

Plan the journey, and if you can, do a test drive to make sure that you know where you are going, where you can park, or distance from the nearest train/bus station. If you arrive really early, just sit in your car, or a nearby café and pop over about ten minutes before your allotted time.

Dress appropriately

A suit or dress and jacket, very little jewellery and maybe a dash of fragrance is about it. Once you are dressed appropriately for the job, you can concentrate on the really important things, like impressing the panel.

Use your own language

The odd ‘um’ and ‘ah’ is fine in interview. What you don’t want to do is start using words that aren’t part of your usual vocabulary. For example, ‘I instigated the re-imagination of our strategic direction’. Really? What does that actually mean? Keep is simple and in your own words: it’s the only way to go.

Sell yourself

It doesn’t come easily to most of us, but you have to sell yourself as you never have before. Strong statements such as I led, I managed, I started, I developed show your contribution, what you do, your responsibilities. Add in some adverbs such as successfully, efficiently, effectively and you’re adding value to those statements every time. Anyone can manage something, but did you do it well?

Stay positive

Even if you feel that you have lost your way in an answer or in the interview, keep smiling, keep going and it’ll be over soon. A positive attitude is an important quality in any potential employee, and if you can stay positive in the face of difficulty, that will speak for itself.

Entry and exit strategy

In most interviews there is an opportunity at the start and end to really match yourself to the job. The first one comes in the guise of ‘tell us about yourself/CV’ and at the end ‘anything more you would like to add?’ – these are your chances to make your final case. Only focus on the relevant aspects of your CV in your intro, and choose your three stand-out qualities at the end of the interview to seal the deal.

Evaluate and learn

Every interview you do is an opportunity to learn and do better the next time (even if you get the job ). When you leave the interview, write down a list of what went well, what didn’t go so well and why. Use the opportunity to get better the next time, and/or get this job.

Sli Nua Careers (www.SliNuaCareers.com ) have offices in Galway (Patricia Maloney, 091 528883 ), Mayo (Ballinrobe, Claremorris and Castlebar ), Limerick, Sligo, Nava, Cork and Athlone. Their services include CV preparation, interview training, job-searching strategies, public speaking and presentation skills, and career direction. For more details, visit www.slinuacareers.com/galway

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