Interview Tips

Innovative’s 10 Tips for Interview Success

The first 30 seconds of a job interview is the most important – so if you want to be a cut above the rest you need to be on the ball. An interview is all about the three Ps. You need to prepare, you need to practice, and then, on the day, you need to perform.

Step 1: First impressions count.
Greet your interviewer with a smile and firm handshake. Give eye contact. Be upbeat, friendly and relaxed. Do not bring anything negative into the interview and most of all “Be Yourself”! Try to make small talk during the walk from the reception area to the interview room. You have to sell yourself before you can sell anything else and the first 30 seconds are when the interviewer subconsciously makes decisions about whether they like you or not and whether you will fit into the team.

Step 2: Be prepared!
Re-read your resume and the job posting just before the interview. Bring an extra copy with you as well as a portfolio or note pad to take notes. Do your research thoroughly: Look at the company Web site and understand their products and services. You may be asked about the salary/pay you are after so make sure you are prepared for that as well. Prepare to answer this question by saying what you earned at your last position and would be flexible and consider any offer. Do not ask the salary/pay question first and never ask about benefits, health, vacation, holiday pay, etc. during your first interview. Your recruiter can provide all this info to you.

Step 3: Don’t waffle.
Answer questions properly – even if you need a few moments of silence to collect your thoughts. It’s better to say you need a minute to think about your answer rather than speak instantly and regret it afterwards.

Step 4: Why should they hire you?
Most job postings will list qualities they’re looking for – a team worker, a good communicator – so it’s up to you to think of examples of how you can demonstrate these skills. Be ready to talk about your knowledge, experience, abilities and skills. Have at least three strong points about yourself that you can relate to the company and job on offer. Sometimes they will ask about weaknesses so prepare a statement but turn it into a positive by saying you could learn or grow in this area.

Step 5: Be positive!
Your interviewer will be thinking about what it would be like to work with you, so the last thing they’ll want to hear is you talking about your boss or current colleagues behind their back. Interviewers like to see someone who enjoys a challenge and is enthusiastic.   

Step 6:  Remember your body language.
It is not what you say, but how you say it. During the interview, do not fold your arms and lean back or look to the floor! Sit upright and try to maintain good eye contact. Use your hands and lean forward when making a point. Many people cannot think and control their body language at the same time, which is why you need to prepare.

Step 7: Expect the unexpected!
Your interviewer may try to catch you off guard. 90% of employers ask ‘killer’ questions in interviews. It is impossible to plan for every difficult question, such as “How would your colleagues describe you?” but try to appear relaxed and in control. Ask the interviewer to repeat the question if necessary but do not evade it.

Step 8: Develop rapport.
Show energy, a sense of humor and smile. It’s infectious, being positive and enthusiastic. If given the opportunity you can ask your interviewer questions about themselves and any issues the business is facing. Keep questions simple and do not ask about pay or benefits during the first round or interviews. Let them bring the pay or salary question up first. Pay and benefits can be discussed just before or during the job offer process.

Step 9: Clarify anything you are unsure of.
If you are not certain what is meant by a particular question, ask for clarification. At the end, ask the interviewer if there is anything else he or she needs to know about. Do not be afraid to ask when you are likely to hear if you have been successful or not. It is excellent to ask after the interview or when appropriate if you have the skills they are seeking. Let the interviewer know you are very interested in their position and if hired they would not be disappointed or that you would do a good job for them, or if given this opportunity you would more than meet their expectations. However, you want to word it…you need to ask for the job. Also ask when they will make a decision.

Step 10: Remember your manners.
It is better to choose than to be chosen. Tell the interviewer why you are interested in the company and job opportunity. Ask them for a business card and follow it up by sending a “thank-you” e-mail or letter, saying how much you enjoyed meeting them and how interested you are. Take the opportunity to detail the key advantages you bring in this thank you note.

7 Things You Should Never Do During an Interview

With the job market extremely tight, even the small stuff counts, especially when you’re on a job interview. That’s why it’s so important not to say or do the wrong things since that first impression could end up being the stone. With that in mind, here are seven deadly sins of job interviewing.

1. Don’t Be Late To the Interview
Even if your car broke down or the subway derailed, do
everything you can to get to that job interview on time. If you have a legitimate excuse it’s still hard to bounce back, People are suspicious because they hear the same excuses all the time.  On the flip side, you don’t want to show up too early and risk appearing desperate, but you do want to be there at least five minutes early or at the very least on time.

2. Don’t Show Up Unprepared
It seems simple, but countless people go on job interviews knowing very little about the company they are interviewing with when all it would take is a simple Google search to find out. As a result, they end up asking obvious questions, which signal to the interviewer that they are too lazy to prepare. Don’t ask if the company is public or private, how long it’s been in business and where they do their manufacturing. Do your homework.

3. Don’t Ask About Salary, Benefits, Perks
Your initial interview with a company shouldn’t be about what the company can do for you, but what you can do for the company. Which means the interview isn’t the time to ask about the severance package, vacation time or health plan. Instead you should be selling yourself as to why the company can’t live without you. Your interest should be about the job and what your responsibilities will be.

4. Don’t Focus on Future Roles Instead of the Job At Hand
The job interview is not the time or place to ask about advancement opportunities or how to become the CEO. You need to be interested in the job you are actually interviewing for. Sure, a company wants to see that you are ambitious, but they also want assurances you are committed to the job you’re being hired for.

5. Don’t Turn the Weakness Question into a Positive
To put it bluntly, interviewers are not idiots. So, when they ask you about a weakness and you say you work too hard or you are too much of a perfectionist, chances are they are more apt to roll their eyes than be blown away. Instead, be honest and come up with a weakness that can be improved on and won’t ruin your chances of getting a job. For instance, if you are interviewing for a project management position, it wouldn’t be wise to say you have poor organizational skills, but it’s ok to say you want to learn more shortcuts in Excel. Talk about the skills you don’t have that will add value but aren’t required for the job.

6. Don’t Lie
Many people think its ok to exaggerate their experience or fib about a firing on a job interview but lying can be a surefire way not to get hired. Even if you get through the interview process with your half-truths, chances are you won’t be equipped to handle the job you were hired to do. Not to mention the more you lie the more likely you are to slip up.

7. Don’t Ask If There’s Any Reason You Shouldn’t Be Hired
Well meaning, career experts will tell you to close your interview by asking if there is any reason you wouldn’t be hired. While that question can give you an idea of where you stand and afford you the opportunity to address any concerns, there’s no guarantee the interviewer is going to be truthful with you or has even processed your information enough to even think about that.  All you are doing is prompting them to think about what’s wrong with you.