How To Ace A Job Interview

It's something we all have to do, yet so few of us are actually aware of the basic rules of the interview. No longer. 

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1 Prepare - Do research about people who have worked there, on products they have in the marketplace, any PR coverage they may have had, and Google the executives. Find out where they have come from, how long they have been in their position and what makes them tick.

2 Practise - Go through expected questions, like, "Why should we employ you?" and "What are your weaknesses?" Do not say you don't have any weaknesses. Pick real, non-disastrous ones and show how you are making progress. Prepare for other challenging questions about your expertise and how you handle conflict and other issues.

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3 Look good - Make sure your physical appearance is up to scratch. You'll be amazed by the amount of people who forget to iron their shirts. If you have to err on the side of caution, be conservative, even if it's a media or ad company.

4 Smile - Introduce yourself with a firm handshake and a sincere smile. A lot of interviewers make up their minds in the first five minutes, so it is essential you start very confidently and hit the ground running.

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5 Be conscious of your body language - Make sure you shake hands correctly (firm and assertive), concentrate on standing confidently and don't avoid eye contact. Be calm and confident, not arrogant. Jonny Breeze, MD of Yellow Cat Recruitment, explains: “Maintain good eye contact throughout. Interviewers will be able to pick up on any negative signals. Good posture helps.”

6 Adapt - Seven Suphi, author of Authentic Catalyst, recommends that when speaking to your seniors you should “adopt a lower tonality and slow down the pace at which you speak. Also, amplify your gestures”.

7 Ask questions - An interview is a two-way conversation that you ought to enjoy and approach with a positive frame of mind. Ask about the structure and history of the team. You must assess them fully to ensure it is the right job opportunity for you. This is important in the current climate of cautious optimism where both the employer and the interviewee should be selective.

8 And remember - There will be a lot of very qualified candidates, so make sure you stand out with demeanour, personality and research. Start strongly and end with an upbeat note. People tend to remember the first and last five minutes more than the middle.

 

HOW TO DRESS FOR INTERVIEWS

By Peter Jones, BBC Dragon and founder of Peterjonescollection.tv

1 | The clothes you wear say exactly what sort of person you are. I’m involved in varying types of business — including IT companies, where you don’t have to wear a suit, shirt and tie every day — but I still believe the way you dress is you setting your stall out.

2 | Your shoes have got to be absolutely spotless. So many people just put their shoes on as a last-minute thing. They look at the rest of their body and think “it’s alright”, but it’s the shoes that instantly let you down.

3 | Assess the business environment that you’re about to enter, and dress appropriately. You don’t want to be understated or overstated — you want to be classically on par.

4 | What to avoid? Dirty fingernails. There’s nothing worse than seeing somebody in an interview writing notes, and they’ve got half the garden under their nails — unless you’re going for a job as a mechanic. And creases on your double cuffs. No excuse. It’s worth spending time to make them right.

5 | I’m a big advocate of stripy socks in the workplace. Somebody sitting there wearing stripy socks — it just says something about their character that’s a little bit edgy, a little bit cheeky, and I like that. I think that we’ve all got to have an edge to ourselves.