You are looking for a job, but never forget that if you have been invited to a job interview, it is because your interviewer also has a need to satisfy: to fill a vacant position within his company.
Therefore the two parties present are both in need of something, and it is self-evident that a tone of interactive dialogue should be established, during which you absolutely must appear dynamic and motivated.
So here are a few tips on what to do/not do during a job interview and a general idea of some of the pitfalls to be avoided.
- Be punctual: even arrive a few minutes early, which will allow you to be ready to meet your interviewer on time if you are asked to fill in a form beforehand. If despite all the precautions you have taken and due to unforeseen circumstances you do arrive late, apologise politely giving the reason for your involuntary lateness, but be brief and don’t involve yourself in long explanations that will only serve to diminish your case.
- If you have to fill in a form, do it carefully. Be thorough and precise. Don’t leave out or forget any sections and if you are not sure what to put, don’t hesitate to ask the person who gave you the form to fill in or to ask for their advice.
- It is possible and even likely that you will be asked to wait a little while before you can meet your interviewer.
- Avoid twitching nervously and then leaping from your seat to rush towards them when they appear.
- Stay calmly seated and wait for them to speak to you before standing up and approaching them.
- Don’t rush towards them with your hand outstretched but wait for them to take the initiative of offering you their hand.
- Shake your interviewer’s hand firmly and greet them politely, using their surname if you know it.
- Numerous behavioural studies have shown that the way of shaking someone by the hand says a lot about what one is trying to hide. Remember this and thus shake your interviewer’s hand firmly without brutally crushing it. If your interviewer is a woman, remember that many women wear rings, which makes an overly vigorous handshake particularly painful.
Also bear in mind the following facts:
- Too long a handshake betrays a possessive and dominant personality.
- Too quick a handshake leaves an impression of a timid or fearful character.
- Your interviewer will look first at your face. Make sure you smile at them when you greet them. You will give them a positive impression and show that you are glad to meet them and that this interview is very important to you.
- Let your interviewer lead you to where the interview is to take place unless they invite you to go in front of them.
- Stay on your feet and wait till you are offered a chair before you sit down.
- Your interviewer will probably indicate the seat in which you are to sit but if they offer you the choice, sit where you will be able to look at your interviewer easily without having to twist your neck.
- During the whole interview, keep smiling and look your interviewer in the face.
- Be attentive and show your interest in what your interviewer says to you.
- When you are speaking to your interviewer or when they are speaking to you, always look then in the eyes. This obviously does not mean that you should look at them fixedly or stare at them, which could make them uncomfortable, nor should you give them a challenging look, which could make them think that you are arrogant, or the opposite, unsure of yourself.
- If you have to face several interviewers, you should look at each one in turn beginning with the one who has spoken to you.
- Don’t look away from your interviewer before they have completely finished asking a question or before they have finished what they are saying. If you look away after the first few words your interviewer may think that you are not listening or that you are not interested in what they are saying.
- When you are replying to a question you have been asked, look at each person in turn and when you have finished answering look once more at the person who asked you the question.
- Looking your interviewer in the face or looking away are effective ways of punctuating your speech, of emphasising certain words or pausing for a moment to think.
- Also think about the movements of your face and what they express to your interviewer. Frowning or pursing your lips when your interviewer asks you a tricky question or makes a suggestion that you do not like can display a negative attitude.
- Always speak calmly.
- Answer the questions precisely, in concrete terms and with sincerity and answer all the questions you are asked, including the trickiest ones. Avoid being evasive or hesitant, which will give the impression that you have something to hide or that you lack confidence.
- Follow the rhythm established by the interviewer but make sure that you ask all the questions that you want to have answered.
Talk about yourself frankly and honestly but without false modesty. Highlight your assets, your strong points and what your skills could bring to the company. Refer to the position to be filled and also highlight your own motivations.
Only you can convince your potential employer that they would be making a good choice by taking you on.
- o Your interviewer will perhaps bring up questions about society, politics or economics and will perhaps ask for your opinion. Never forget that certain subjects can give rise to arguments: so answer sincerely without overstating your case.
The salary, bonuses, additional benefits, holidays, etc … are important topics but are often delicate and difficult. In a first interview these points can often be left aside.
So only bring them up if you are certain that your interviewer is genuinely interested in your candidature or if they introduce the subject themselves.
Take care to know your value on the market and be ready to let your interviewer know what you would be looking for.
- In all circumstances be polite and pleasant. Never get agitated and stay in control of your reactions.
- Don’t smoke, even if you are offered a cigarette.
- Don’t lie
- Never denigrate your current employer, your previous employers, your colleagues, etc …
- Don’t denigrate yourself.
- Don’t leave out humour and try to mix a little humour into the conversation.
- Behave at all times as if you have decided to accept the job being offered. It is always better to have several possibilities than to have to fall back on only one solution.
- Always turn off your mobile phone before a job interview.
The end of the interview:
- Ask your interviewer what is the next stage of their recruitment procedure.
- Your are never obliged to decide immediately, and if you want to take a little time to think and to step back a little from the interview you have just had, ask your interviewer politely when would be a suitable time to contact them again to give your definite answer.
- Naturally you should remember to thank your interviewer for the time they have devoted to you and the welcome they have extended to you.
- If you feel that you have not definitely convinced your interviewer, hide your disappointment or your feeling of discouragement: it is entirely possible that your interviewer is trying to test your reaction to adversity or, quite simply, they have to consult their colleagues first or they have other candidates to see.
- Don’t forget to shake your interviewer’s hand again when you leave. Address them by name once more and look them in the eyes.