This week, I have compiled a list of regular questions our coaches get asked by candidates, and the answers we typically give, writes Mary O’Brien-Killeen, Career Coach, Slí Nua Careers.
Q: What clothes should I wear to my interview?
A: Even if it’s online, you should dress to impress. Even if the job will not require you to wear ‘good’ clothes every day, you should still dress well for the interview. You need to show you are taking the matter seriously.
Q: I get nervous before interviews, any advice on how to settle my nerves?
A: Nerves are inevitable. You’re venturing outside your comfort zone. A few things to think about – don’t expect to be word perfect, that’s impossible; you’re an adult, go in there and engage in an adult conversation, you’re not a 16 year-old chasing your first summer job; if you’re usually a hand mover when you talk, stay that way, don’t try to suppress your natural instincts; and, most of all, the most effective antidote to nerves is preparation: know your stuff about the company and yourself, do a mock interview or two and get ready for what will unfold.
Q: I walk into the interview room and the interviewer doesn’t interact much with me, should I go and greet them and sit down or wait for them to direct me?
A: You should do whatever feels natural – in this case, I think you should say hello and sit down. You’re not a subordinate. It seems natural to me to take a seat.
Q: I’m applying for a job but there is no salary listed. I’m just out of college. Is it appropriate for me to ask what the salary is?
A: In a first interview, I would tend not to mention it and focus primarily on proving that you are the right candidate for the role. However, you need to discuss salary if called to a second interview or if you’re offered the job. On that point, the key moment in a job offer is receiving the contract. That’s where all the relevant detail should be contained.
Q: I get asked a difficult question for which I haven’t an immediate answer. How should I approach answering it?
A: Don’t bluff it. Don’t try thinking out loud. Say something about how “I don’t have that answer to hand, but if I were faced with that scenario on the job, I would double check everything before taking action”. That’s the best you can do in this instance.
Q: I did an interview but didn’t get the job. I feel like I’m a more suitable candidate than the person hired. What can I do about this?
A: Some employers, such as public bodies, have clearly defined appeals procedures. You may have grounds for an appeal. You can also ask for feedback – be aware that not all employers will provide it and they are unlikely to give any that will put them in a tricky position. It can be very frustrating when you feel you are a better candidate. You might also wish to look at those areas where the successful candidate is strong, just in case these highlight steps you need to take strengthen your candidature for future interviews by doing further studies or gaining more diverse experience within your existing company.
Slí Nua Careers (www.SliNuaCareers.com ) offer a full online service. Their services include CV preparation, interview training, public speaking and presentation skills, and career direction. For more details, visit www.slinuacareers.com