career tips

"Information's pretty thin stuff unless mixed with experience"
- Clarence Day

A job interview is an interactive process, where communication and selling are the principal skills you’ll need. Try and remember that the interviewer is looking to answer two questions at the end of the interview. Firstly, will the candidate do the job? And secondly, can the candidate do the job? They have a vacant position they are trying to fill and are not trying to catch you out or embarrass you.

Interviewing can be a very stressful experience, so here are some friendly Quiglies pointers to help you through successfully.

Preparing For An Interview

It seems like a simple suggestion, but interviewers are continually surprised by the number of candidates who don’t prepare and have little or no information about the company they are hoping to join. When it comes to your outfit, dress in a smart business suit (or jacket and tie) and a clean, ironed shirt/blouse. Don’t wear casual clothes even if you know it’s the company policy.

  • Ensure that you know the exact location and time of interview, the interviewer’s full name, the correct pronunciation and title held.
  • Do some background research on the company by browsing through their website.
  • Refresh your memory on the facts and figures of your current or former employer as interviewers tend to ask you about where you’ve previously worked.
  • Make sure you can talk easily about your achievements and skills and how and where they could fit in.
  • Know your areas of weakness and prepare yourself to handle difficult questions.
  • Prepare your sales pitch which describes how you’ve used the skills and experience already acquired.
  • Consider a few questions you can ask and remember that an interview is a ‘two-way street’. The interviewer will try to determine through questioning if you have the right qualifications for the job. You must determine through questioning whether the company will provide the opportunity for growth and development that you’re looking for.

Probing Questions You Might Ask

  • A detailed description of the position?
  • Reason the position is available?
  • Culture of the company?
  • Anticipated induction and training programme?
  • What sort of people have done well at this company?
  • Advanced training programmes available for those who demonstrate outstanding ability?
  • Company growth plans?
  • Best-selling products or services?
  • The next step?

Be Prepared to Answer Questions Like...

  • Why did you choose your career?
  • Why would you like to work for our company?
  • What do you want to be doing in your career five years from now? Come across as having direction and ambition, but don't say "sitting in your chair".
  • Tell me about yourself - prepare a short, succinct paragraph highlighting your achievements. Don't giggle and say, "Oh, where can I begin".
  • Why do you want to leave your current job? - three reasons to try and avoid are: - more money, sexual harassment and a personality clash.
  • When was your last salary review?
  • What style of management gets the best from you?
  • What interests you about our product/service?
  • What have you learned from some of the jobs you have held?
  • Which job did you enjoy the most and why?
  • What have you done that shows initiative in your career?
  • What are your major weaknesses and what are your strengths?
  • What do you think determines a person’s progress in a good company?
  • Are you willing to relocate?
  • What are your hobbies?
  • What does ‘teamwork’ mean to you?

Negative Factors to Watch for

The interviewer will be evaluating your negative as well as your positive attributes. Listed below are negative factors frequently evaluated during an interview and those, which most often lead to rejection:

  • Poor personal appearance and lack of preparation.
  • Overbearing, aggressive, conceited, ‘know-it-all’ attitude.
  • Inability to express thoughts clearly – poor diction or grammar.
  • Lack of planning for career – no purpose or goals.
  • Lack of interest and enthusiasm – passive and indifferent.
  • Lack of confidence – nervousness.
  • Over-emphasis on money – interested only in remuneration.
  • Evasive – makes excuses for unfavourable factors in record.
  • Lack of tact/maturity/courtesy.
  • Condemnation of past employers.
  • Failure to look the interviewer in the eye.

Interviewing Do's and Don'ts

  • DO plan to arrive on time or a few minutes early. Late arrival for a job interview is never excusable.
  • DO greet the interviewer by their surname, if you are not sure of the pronunciation, ask the interviewer to repeat it.
  • DO shake hands firmly.
  • DO wait until you are offered a chair before sitting. Sit upright in your chair, look alert and interested at all times. Be a good listener as well as a good talker. Smile!
  • DO look a prospective employer in the eye when talking.
  • DO follow the interviewer’s leads but try to obtain a full description of the position and duties expected early so that you can relay your appropriate background and skills.
  • DO make sure that your good points get across to the interviewer in a factual, sincere manner. Keep in mind that only you can sell yourself and make the interviewer aware of the potential benefits that you can offer to the organization.
  • DO always conduct yourself as if you are determined to get the job you are discussing. Never close the door on opportunity. It is better to be in the position where you can choose from a number of jobs rather than only one.
  • DON’T smoke even if the interviewer smokes and offers you a cigarette.
  • DON’T answer questions with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Explain whenever possible. Describe those things about yourself, which relate to the position.
  • DON'T take a cellular phone into the interview.
  • DON'T come across as conceited or overconfident.
  • DON'T chew gum.
  • DON'T accept coffee if offered. If your throat is dry, rather ask for water, as the coffee may still be hot and undrinkable when the interview is over.
  • DON'T forget to take a pen and paper with you to the interview in case the interviewer wants to give you details of a second interview, or to jot down a couple of notes if you need to.
  • DON’T LIE. Answer questions truthfully, frankly and as to the point as possible.
  • DON’T make derogatory remarks about your present or former employers.
  • DON’T ‘over-answer’ questions. The interviewer may steer the conversation into politics or economics. These topics can be controversial, it is best to answer the questions honestly, and trying not to say more than is necessary.
  • DON’T enquire about SALARY, HOLIDAYS, and BONUSES etc. at the initial interview unless you are positive the interviewer is interested in hiring you. However, you should know your market value and be prepared to specify your required salary or range. This is discussed with your consultant before the interview and will be on your CV. Reconfirm this with the consultant before the interview.