Congratulations! You’ve achieved your next career development stage and have secured an interview for your dream career. But once the elation dies down, you need to start preparing for that all-important meeting. This week, I will share with you some tips and techniques to help you on your way.
There are many different types of interview. These can consist of:
Face-to-face: Group, Panel, Individual, Informal chats
Virtual: Skype, Telephone
Sometimes you may be told in advance what format your interview is going to take, especially if there is more than one round to the interview process. Some larger companies start with an initial telephone interview, then, if you are successful, you will be put forward to a face-to-face second stage. However, you may not know until you arrive what the format will be. Therefore, you must be prepared for whatever is thrown at you.
With a face-to-face interview, body language is extremely important. You need to come across as impressionable, enthusiastic, confident and outgoing. And that’s before you even start talking!
The Write Career recently conducted a survey. The one area that continually scored highly was personality, before industry knowledge and qualifications. Employers need to be able to see how well you would integrate as part of a team, and will be able to establish this relatively quickly. You may have the best qualifications and industry knowledge out of your peers, but if your face doesn’t fit, then these may be deemed irrelevant. Harsh, but a reality.
These are probably the most difficult, because the interviewer and interviewee are not in the same room. Telephone interviews can be especially tricky, since both parties cannot see each other. The key to preparing for a telephone interview is to practise questions as you would for a face-to-face interview, but imagine you are presenting. Because interviewers cannot see your body language, your verbal communication methods must be enhanced, to ensure you come across as professional and enthusiastic. Therefore, you need to command a strong presence, be articulate and confident. Really over-emphasise your communication. Practising presenting is a really effective way of doing this; stand up, walk around the room, use hand gestures. Of course, you obviously can’t put these methods into practice when you are actually carrying out a virtual interview, but it will enable you to find your voice before your meeting. Prospective employers will then be able to determine your personality, skills, and if they think you will fit in with their team.
You may think because prospective employers cannot see you, that it is acceptable to have your notes in front of you. This is not recommended. Employers can hear! A few pages rustling in the background is extremely off-putting, and gives the impression that you have not prepared.