Top 10 Interview Tips

Sweaty palms? Rapid heart beat? Unable to eat? Do you look your best? Worried you are going to make a fool of yourself? Am I talking about a first date with someone you have fancied for ages? No I'm talking about job interviews. Well at least that is how I always felt about them. Perhaps you are one of the few cool people I know who sails through an interview without a problem. For the rest of us a few tips are likely to come in handy…..

If your child has reached the stage where they are now looking for their first job or applying for a place at university then the interview is crucial stage. Many children (or young adults!) will already be familiar with the interview process if they have previously applied for weekend or holiday jobs. For others this is likely to be their first interview. Even those who have been to an interview before are likely to find this a step up.

Often the best candidate in terms of qualifications and skills will be overlooked unless they come across well at interview. If someone is turned down for a few jobs it can soon start to erode their confidence, therefore it is important to help your child prepare well for any interviews they are due to attend.

What do employers look for?

It doesn't matter if someone turns up for an interview armed with every qualification known to man, if the employer doesn't think they will fit in with their current staff, be enthusiastic and hard working then there is no chance of getting the job.

The ideal candidate for almost any job is someone who is friendly, confident (without being arrogant), well dressed and articulate.

Here are ten tips to help be successful at interview:

1. Get the employer to like you

This is the key that unlocks the door. If the employer likes you, you leap to the front of the queue. There is no magic required. If you can smile, be attentive (make eye contact without staring), showing an interest (by asking relevant questions) and look the part then you will make a good impression.

2. What to wear? Look smart!

This will depend on the type of position you are being interviewed for. In almost all instances it is difficult to create a bad impression by looking too smart. When I was leaving school and doing my first round of interviews I confused looking ready for a good night out with looking smart! This gave the message that I couldn't wait for work to finish so that I could be out clubbing. Therefore ask yourself do I look professional? Tone down make up and jewellery if needs be.

3. Answering questions

Remain focused when answering a question. Keep your answers succinct and on topic. If you don't know the answer to a question, then say so. Whoever is interviewing you is likely be an expert and will be able to spot a bluff immediately. If there are a number of questions you cannot answer then this is something to learn from and perhaps suggests better preparation is called for.

4. Don't fall out with the interviewer

Avoid making controversial statements and steer clear of any disagreements. If you find you disagree with what the interviewer is saying then there is no need to challenge them. If you find you don't like them this is likely to mean that the position they are offering is not suitable for you. After all it is just as important that you feel you can build a rapport with your manager as it is that they feel you will be a good addition to their staff.

5. Be Prepared

It always pays to have done some homework before the interview. The best place to start is the company website. Find out all you can about the company. This will help you prepare questions to ask. It will also cover you for the stock interview question put to all candidates of "What do you know about the company?" The more you know the more interested you appear in the job. This gives the potential employer the impression that you will be keen to learn.

6. Be Positive

Nobody wants to employ someone who is miserable. A miserable person who moans about the job and blames others can have a detrimental affect on the team they are working with. Therefore keep to highlighting positive aspects about yourself. Avoid criticising your school, teachers or any previous employers. Highlight activities where you have proved you can be a reliable part of a team. This could be a school sports team or drama group etc.

7. Find out if the job is right for you

Don't forget that you are also interviewing the company and you have to make sure the job is right for you as well. Therefore you should also be prepared to ask specific questions about the job you will be doing, any training you will receive and what the career prospects are. This also shows interest in the position. Make sure you find out what you are letting yourself in for. There is nothing worse than a shock on your first day as your new boss says "What do you mean, you didn't know the job also included cleaning out the executive toilets"?!?

8. It goes without saying!

Turn up on time. In fact turn up 10 minutes early. If a receptionist is busy or unable to locate the interviewer then it may appear that you were late even when you were on time.

9. References

If you have written references or even a glowing school report then take these with you. As the interview reaches its conclusion, offer to show these to the interviewer. Any small points like this can work in your favour and clinch the job for you.

10. Don't oversell

I have also sat on the other side of the table and interviewed my share of quivering wrecks. One of the biggest turn offs I found was if someone oversold themselves and made it sound like they were way overqualified for the job. This may sound good, but an employer wants someone who sees their job as a bit of a challenge rather than something that will bore them after a week or two.

I know I said there would be ten tips, but I'm on a bit of a roll and I think these last two are important. Look on them as a bonus for reading this far!

11. The employer wants to give you the job!

If you suffer from a lack of confidence when attending interviews then always remember that the interviewer wants to give you the job. Interviewing takes up time, so they do not want to reject you and start searching all over again. On top of this the interviewer also wants to find an excellent candidate. Therefore if you are that excellent candidate, outshining all previous applicants then the interviewer will be delighted. The likelihood is that he or she will have selected you for interview in the first place and by being the outstanding applicant you have proved to them what sound judgement they have, helping to make them feel good.

12. Learn form any mistakes

If you do not get the job after an interview it is a good idea to run through the interview with someone and try to help them to identify any areas where you could have done better. There will be other opportunities in time and any failed interviews should be looked upon as part of a learning process. Don't forget that performing well at interview is a skill and it can be learnt and improved with help and practice.

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