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The purpose of an interview is to get to know the person behind the application form. You cannot just sit down and expect to 'wing it', company research, CV design and interview preparation needs to be done, plus you should prepare yourself mentally for the bombardment of probing questions that you will receive.
During the selection process employers may use several types of interview. The process can be:
1. Carried out by one interviewer once
2. Succession of interviews by different people
3. A panel of people sitting in judgement on the candidates
The aims of an interview from the organisation's point of view, is to:
1. Confirm information given in the application form
2. Provide candidates with further information about the company
3. Evaluate the suitability of candidates
4. Decide upon the most suitable candidate
5. Encourage the candidate to take the job
Let's be clear from the start; interviewing is very subjective.
Selection interviews tend to be very brief - thirty minutes to an hour is not a long time to get to know someone, give them information and make a judgement. You will need to impress potential employers quickly in order to win additional interviews or the job.
Candidates may find these tips useful:
1. When you have an interview, arrive early - at least 15 minutes before the start.
2. Let reception know who you are and ask if you can leave you coat somewhere. The less encumbered you are the better.
3. You will be asked to take a seat and wait. Try and use the time to run through your questions and if you can - try to relax.
4. Read a magazine or chat to the receptionist - she may have been asked by the interviewers to inform them of any negative behaviour, so make a good impression and use the opportunity to gain as much company information as possible.
When you are invited into the office:
Always say "How do you do?" Shake the hand using a firm grip - don't crush the hand. Don't sit down until invited to do so. Never place personal belongings on the interviewer's desk (it is their territory) Sit with your back well into the seat - this will prevent you from leaning away from the person or sliding down the chair. Never accept a drink - accepting one offers the chance of spilling it over yourself. You can always consume a soft drink before the interview. When questioned, always expand on your answers.
During the interview, you can expect the following to happen.
The interviewer starts with a welcome , settles the candidate down and will explain the entire procedure.
They will start with open questions, to help you relax, establish rapport and perhaps get you to lower your natural defences.
Interviewers should follow up candidate replies with 'probe' questions, which force you to answer more deeply, providing more information about you - to them.
They should be prepared to listen carefully to candidate replies: an interview is two-way communication. At least 50% of the time should be given to a candidate. They will also observe your body language. They will be looking for hesitations, nervousness, facial expressions and tones of voice, all can be used in the final evaluation.
But what do they ultimately want to find out about you?
Trained interviews should fit questions around three areas, which are important to them:
1. Can this person do the job? Questions will be about qualifications, experience and achievements.
2. Will this person do the job? Here they are looking at attitude and approach to work. They will want to know how serious you are about their organisation and want to be assured of you not resigning in 3 or 4 months time.
3. Will this person fit in? This is a manageability probe. They are really asking if you are going to be a pain in the neck, cause them hassles, problems, and basically check to see if you're a team player.
At the end of any interview be sure to thank the interviewer for his time and interest in you. Maintain composure until you leave the building, then once outside analyse your thoughts and feelings before you forget them.
Finally, it's important to keep realistic about the interview process, remember that it's a numbers game and you will be lucky to get the first job applied for. Most people don't manage it. But if you use each one as a learning experience, you never fail. You will come away knowing a little more about the game than you realise, which will improve your performance the next time.