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So you got an interview from that job you wanted? Well done - you're one step away to getting the dream job.
So here are my tips if you're going to interviews!
Before the interview:
1. RESEARCH! RESEARCH! RESEARCH! It is really important that you know the company/brand/facts you are being interviewed for, because there is nothing more embarrassing than being put on the stop and having no idea what the company is about. Even small facts like when it first opened, who the company is run by, is it associated with other companies/brands, what the company's aims/targets are. Although your interviewer may run pass some facts about the company during your interview, but if you know some facts before hand, it will improve your chances of passing the interview. I cannot stress enough about this first fact. RESEARCH!
2. Know where you're going, time of interview, and have travel arrangements planned in advance. There is nothing worst than turing up to your interview late. Very bad impression.
3. If you are unwell, or you are unable to attend the interview because of personal/family issues on the day of the interview. Make sure you ring the company and let the know beforehand/first thing in the morning and let them know that you will not be able to attend your interview and see if it can be arranged for another day.
4. PLAN your outfit. This is a big one. Men would dress in a suit, shirt, tie and polished shoes. With the tie I would keep it as simple as possible. So a one color tie, black or a navy tie would be the best option. If your a planning to wear a pattern tie, make sure it is not a pattern that is in-your-face, dramatic, cartoon ties. So don't wear that Homer Simpson or I love girls tie to your interview. If you need to wear a belt, go for a classic belt like black or brown, and make sure the buckle is plain, try not to go for visible branded buckles. Also for men, don't wear brand new shoes, unless you have time to try and break into them before the interview. A simple, but not too strong after shave for smell, and make sure your hair is combed, gelled, and neatly presented. So not wacky colors, punky spikes, or shaving weird patterns on your hair. A watch is a nice touch to a suit as well. But just don't go overboard with rings, one is fine. With necklaces, as long as its hidden (it should be anyway!)
Women This is a big one. Dresses, skirts, trousers. Its up to you. If you are planning to wear a skirt or a dress, make sure it does not go any higher than your knees (pencil skirts are a great option) so NO MINISKIRTS.
Also I would make sure your skirt/dress is as flattering as possible, the right size, because there is nothing worst than turning up to your interview looking like a over-stuffed sausage. Not attractive.
The tops make sure it is not low cut, and no showing those breasts WILL NOT get you the interview, so don't even think about it. So cover those breasts up, a buttoned blouse is the best option.
Make up - KEEP IT NATURAL. So don't use bright eye shadows, bright lipsticks, dramatic false eye lashes, neon pink blushers. Otherwise you will look like you are auditioning to be in the circus not going to a job interview.
High heels, GO FOR ONES YOU CAN WALK IN. Tripping over in shoes you can't walk in is not a good look. Go for mid-heels or kitten heels. Flats can make you look stumpy when wearing a suit, unless you're very tall. Heels will make you look smarter and make you look more presentable. Last thing with heels, your company is not a night club so leave the killer heels at home. They look amazing, but just not for your interview.
Use a fresh, sweet, floral, perfume for a finishing touch.
Handbag - go for classic black. So leave the leopard/zebra/baby pink bag at home.
Hair - wash it. Greasy hair is not attractive nor a good look. You can have it up or down depending on how comfortable you feel, but if you are going for a hospitality/waitress/cafe job - tie it in a plait or a bun because these kind of jobs will expect you to have your hair up and away from your face.
Nail Varnish - If its a retail, office job. Wear something like black, red or french manicure. So no dramatic patterns, bright pinks, yellows, orange. Again, if it is a hospitality job wear a clear nail varnish or no color at all. Because in all hospitality jobs you will not be allowed to wear nail varnish.
Another point is that these outfit tips are most interview, but now I'm going to give you a tip on if you are applying for a retail job.
If you are applying for a retail job like Crew Clothing, Jack Wills, Paul Smith, Superdry any retail brands like these, the mistake that people make is that they will think for a Jack Wills interview if you wear a t-shirt with Jack Wills on the front, and Jack Wills Track suit bottoms and think they will get the job. YOU WON'T. You will look desperate. Also you look too casual, look like you have just rolled out of bed, and you would not wear track suits to any interview, so don't do it for a well known retail brand or any retail brand really.
Coming from someone who has worked at Jack Wills, what I wore was black trousers, black blazer, black mid high heeled shoes and a Jack Wills shirt because you are advertising the brand and respecting the company at the same time.
5. Make sure your CV is the one you presented in your application (if they ask you to bring it, if they don't mention to bring a CV, bring one just incase) If there are any changes, i.e. change of address, email, phone number, correct it or let your interviewer know on the day of the interview.
Day of the interview:
1. Breath and relax. Drink water if needed. Try and avoid drinks like coffee, tea, fizzy drinks. Fizzy drinks will make you bloat and you really do not want to burp half way through your interview.
2. Eat something! Healthy - good for your brain!
3. If you are waiting, read something relevant to the company, don't get distracted by music, magazines/books not related to your company. More research - the better! Or even go through what you could say throughout the interview.
4. Don't forget to brush your teeth and chew mint gum (just not during your interview) white pearls are nice to look at! And so will your teeth.
5. SMILE. It costs nothing. Smile and say hello to the people around the room. It helps! Especially to your interviewer!
6. Shake hands on arrival.
7. Body language can tell. So use the correct body language and sit in an upright position, legs closed/crossed. No slouching or folding arms.
8. Make eye contact when speaking to your interviewer.
9. Make sure you have some questions. You look very interested in the company, the more questions the better!
8. Smile and say 'Thank you for your time.'
Well done you got through the interview. All you got to do is wait and find out if you got the job now. So good luck and hope you get it!
I have a100% success rate in interviews. Admittedly it's for a vast array of jobs but I'm still very good at them. I only attend interviews for jobs I feel I can get and its all down to confidence, charm and knowing people because they are just like me. When I'm in the hot seat I think only that the person or persons in the other seat or seats is thinking like me and just as cynical or insecure in the interview situation.
Please take my list of tips and thoughts with a huge pinch of salt. It is the weekend after all! Some of the suggestions are serious and some are silly, most are me going off on one, something I don't do at interviews.
#1 Don't be late!
Simple really. If you're late for an interview then you will be late for work if employed, what your interviewer is thinking. Phone ahead and make up an excuse why you will be late, and make it a good one. If you're on the train say there was a cable on the line, sure to earn you sympathy at the other end. If you go by car or bus then a jam will do it.
#2 Read the job advert
If it says any of the following they want a bird, even though they cant discriminate.
To cover maternity lead
Nimble fingers required
Must be able to multi task
Work around school hours
They want a bloke for these
Heavy lifting required
Must like shifts
HGV license required
Must be able to work bank holidays
Don't believe pre-printed adverts on the windows of employment agencies that say 9am-5pm. Only believe the recently penned ones as they are genuine jobs coming in. Job adverts lie big time. Sometimes big firms give people interviews just to fill the ethnic and gender quotas and you have zero chance.
#3 You will be discriminated against.
#4 Good looking people
If you're female and cute and the interviewer is male and under-30 and straight then you will probably get the job. Female attractiveness counts in the tertiary sector (office jobs) when it comes to employment and 43% of women who have worked for a male boss as a secretary or PA have admitted flirting with their boss (or far worse) to get on at work. Flirting is a big part of the game and men are suckers for pretty girls and vice versa, a trophy secretary/ PA very common. Bosses of both sexes don't want to drag 'big girls' around to meet important clients in most jobs. Vanity sells, why all these high powered female city workers bang in sex discrimination claims when their looks no longer win them clients. Being attractive matters in many jobs.
#5 Tall and thin people
Tall and athletic people get better jobs and careers, simple as. Middle-class kids are on average one inch taller than working-class kids and height is seen as a sign of breeding and so perceived to express intelligence and authority. Interestingly, shorter working-class men do better in life than very tall working-class men though - who obviously do worse than all sizes of middle-class men. So diminutive girls and boys clearly need to wear heels at interviews. How do you think all those tiny male movie stars get the leading roles? There's more lifts in movie casting auditions that the Empire State Building! Obese people are less likely to be employed for many reasons, health at the top of the list. You're supposed to get fat at work on their coin, not at home, cab drivers the number one offenders of that. Fat equals sloth to employers. Many women with low self-esteem on sink estates have kids and then put on weight to avoid employment and responsibility. Make sure you look reasonably healthy for your interview as the boss will think like the customers and business he or she are chasing that big people are lazy. One-in-three obese people will have major health problems, especially diabetes. Healthy is longevity and so no sicktime.
#6 Dress Code
Psychologists say it's the first 30 seconds that decide your interview chances, your first words and the way you look and relax the clincher in that opening minute at the crease. Dress nice for an important job and dress down for a boring job. Never dress casual. 'I don't give a f*ck'! facial hair and un-tucked in clothing is a big no-no. Clean shoes are a must as it's a detail employer's look at to judge how fastidious you will b eat work..
Be confident to fit your attire and the job you're going for and try and talk to the person interviewing like you would a stranger in the station rather then your superior. Remember that they too may be nervous, a distinct advantage if your not. Don't be too cocky and confident as no one likes a bore that will challenge the boss's authority. Just be nice and so they know you will fit in the office or shop floor, being humble at the right times a real deal clincher to boost their egos.
50% of all graduates end up in jobs that have little to do with their degrees, often inferior to, especially female graduates. University for most kids is still three years of fun and they will go through clearing to get that three years, what ever the course going, which seems rather idiotic if you consider the debt burden now. Who wants to study for three years and go home to their parent's house every night whilst the parties rage in other towns? Employers often went to proper red brick universities and so the degree becomes less important. They are employing you, the person, not so much what you did or didn't learn and so want someone who has experienced life away from home and so can make independent decisions. Work is mostly about responsibility and decision making. I know employers who will throw application forms in the bin purely by the university the degree is taken in because the kids didn't leave home, the trash soon full of the old Poly degrees, just the redbricks remaining on their desks. They want to employ you, not because you did media studies for three years but because you can work on your own initiative.
#9 Google them!
If the job is really important to you then Google the firm and boss. Little titbits on the company's success or the boss's interest on the internet may give you the edge. If you can strike up a conversation away from the job vacancy at the right time it may clinch the deal. If you're both relaxed in the interviewee's office then they will surmise you will be relaxed working together. Look around the office for clues on what they like, say footy team stuff or certificates of achievement. It works a treat and the longer your interview the shorter the poor sucker's interviews are in the waiting room.
#10 Equal pay
All this nonsense about women earning 18% less than men is because women want babies and men want promotion, simple as, usually because they have a family to provide for, feminist not likening the idea much that most women quite like being 'modern women' and so don't want careers. Blokes work long hours to pay for their kids and women work short hours to look after them. Women do not have to have babies but tend to chose to have them, be it they want to play happy families or they don't like full-time work, a statistic that is much higher then females will own up to. Single men at 30 earn the same as single women at 30 in the same jobs. Fact. Gay men actually earn more than single white men. Fact. Men tend not to take career breaks so are time served and paid for that loyalty. Women over 50 that don't have kids earn as much as men over 40 with kids. Single black women in London are paid higher then single working-class white women in London. The wage gap only widens big time when the women have kids and the man is married. Women employers are just as likely not to employ child baring age females as male employers are as they both know the woman will soon have kids and they will have to pay for it someway that's detrimental to their firm or organisations profits. Some women even start work just to get pregnant so to enjoy the six months of maternity pay firms have to legally pay. My point is if you are female you have to persuade the interviewer your not going to get 'up the stick' and want loads of time off in the future from a company investing in you. Ironically, if you are a gorgeous female, and so a prime candidate for admiring males to impregnate you so you need those 6 months, if the boss is a straight male and under 30 you will still get the job. Sex and confidence sells! No interviewer or boss knows if you can do the job just from the interview. Like on Dragons den they chose people to work and invest in they can get on with and like and maybe easier to exploit down the line to make more money.
I have been to a couple of interviews in my life for jobs and I only have temporary ones.
1. You got offered a job - well done! You will either receive a phone call, e-mail or letter giving you details of where your interview will take place, what day and what time. If you cannot attend the day or time of interview ring up the manager straight away and arrange another day or time.
2. Make sure you arrive early - arriving late isn't showing a good impression! So you need to find a easy way to travel whether it's walking, car, getting a lift or taking a bus or train, and don't miss the bus or train.
3. Men : wear a black suit, wear a tie make sure it is a plain one, nothing with bright colors or anything eye catching, white or blue shirt and black shoes.
Women : wear something that does not show clevage or underwear showing, also don't wear brand new heels as tripping over won't make as good impression, also don't wear loads of make-up and don't wear a strong perfume.
Women can wear anything from black dresses or black and white - but make sure the black and white dress is formal, white shirt and black trousers or pencil skirt (knee length) and a black blazer or smart jacket if you wish. Shoes can be anything from black pumps, boots, it's best to wear small high heeled shoes, no sky-scrapers!
Nail varnish either don't wear it or have a good manicure.
For men and girls don't wear trainers and don't wear jeans. too casual and these aren't the sort of things you would wear for an office, manager job etc.
4. You may become nervous - which is very likely and you may begin to sweat especially on your hands and this can be bad news as you will need to shake hands with the manager, just try and relax, take deep breaths and drink water. If your hands do sweat wash your hands, and make sure you dry them.
5. Go to the toilet before interview, cause moving around a lot or having a wet patch on your outfit won't look great. Also while you are in the toilet don't forget to check if your hair and make-up looks OK, you can already re-touch before you go to the interview.
6. Make sure there is no dirt, pet hair on outfit keep tidy as possible.
7. Don't chew gum during the interview, do this before you get there or brush your teeth.
8. Keep polite and formal as possible, and answer the questions in full detail as possible rather than giving short answers or just saying yes and no.
Also don't tell lies either cause you could get caught out.
9. If you have any questions, ASK! It's better to know than never, and if you get the job don't wait till the first day to ask the question/s.
10. Good luck and wish you all the best!
Unemployment is booming right now - about the only thing that is, eh? - so competition for those jobs is high. I know lots of people are getting frustrated with their inability to get interviews, or if they get interviews, to get the job. So I thought I'd share a few of my tips from the other side of the interview table. I run a small company (10 staff) with my other half and organise all the recruitment, so here's my advice from my personal point of view, in three sections.
1) Why do companies....? (all about the things you think recruiters do to torment you)
2) It would be jolly good if you....(how to get an interview/job)
3) It's best if you don't....(how not to get an interview/job). Of course...you don't do these, do you?.
1) Why do companies....?
a) not get back to me quickly? Sorry about that. Sometimes it takes me a long time to get through all the CVs. It may take a while for us to find a date when all the people involved in interviewing can get together. Sometimes I just get really busy - HR is only a tiny part of my job - and can't get to you any quicker. I'm not deliberately torturing you. Honest. At least I will get back to you, even if just by email to say no thanks. If you are getting annoyed at companies who don't reply at all, bear in mind it may be some little bod already working 70 hour weeks and with a pile of 200 CV glaring at them, and it just can't get done. Nothing personal.
b) not give me a chance? The old 'can't get a job till I get experience and can't get experience till I get a job' blinder. If this is your problem all I can advise is the same old same old - do work experience, do voluntary work, do anything you can to get a bit of experience under your belt. And think laterally here - it doesn't have to be the exact job you are hoping to do. Is there something similar? Something else using part of the skills? A completely different role but in related company/industry type? Just get your toe in the door somewhere, work hard, make an impression, get a good reference, and it WILL help you towards finding a job.
2) It would be jolly good if you....
a) send exactly what is asked for with your application. If a cover letter is required, then an email stating 'Please find my CV attached' isn't it. If I've asked for it to be hand-delivered from the back of an elephant, do it. Otherwise you've shown me you can't follow simple instructions and I don't want you.
b) turn up on time for the interview. If you can't, make sure it's for a good reason (water main leak closed down all the roads) and not a dumb one (didn't bother to look at a map and work out where to park in advance), and have the courtesy to call and let us know what's happening.
c) remember we are human. Do the 'imagine your interviewer naked' if you must, but don't blame me if you are off for food for a couple of days. We hate interviewing. It is a pain in the butt. It takes so much time. It's hard to choose the right person. When you come in to the office we have been praying to Buddha, Krishna, Jesus and Elvis that you will be the person we need. We are SO on your side.
d) don't let nerves ruin your chances. Easier said than done, but remember item c). Take a deep breath. Think before you answer. Pause. It's fine to ask us for the question again, or ask us to re-phrase it. We know you aren't stupid, you are just nervous, and we'll give you every chance we can. You have to tell us the information, we can't guess that you spent 2 years running a playgroup's finances, or that you did a marketing campaign at college, or that you supervised three people, or any of the things you should be bragging about. Please tell us.
e) make a good first impression. Dressed smartly, give us a smile, shake our hands. Sit up reasonable straight (one young man literally lay across the desk in a state of teenage enui collapse, not impressive). Wear a bra (seriously). Smell good, in a soap and water way, rather than stinky perfume or aftershave. Use soap. And plenty of deoderant. Your clothes don't need to be new or trendy, just clean, pressed and appropriate.
3) It's best if you don't...
a) send us anything in text speak. Emails saying 'pls find CV attchd, thks' are even worse than the one mentioned before.
b) lie too much in your CV or at interview. Fair play, we all tweak it a bit to make ourselves look better. We know the game. But outright lies will be found out and you've just wasted our time. If you need a visa, make sure you have it. If you say you are competent in using a certain software, you'd better be. If you say you can type, two finger stabbing at a snail's pace isn't what we are expecting.
c) behave badly before the interview. As well as the usual advice to mind your manners with the receptionist (I have known someone not get a job because of rudeness here) remember to be careful outside the office. One interview morning I was walking along the street near our offices, when a man on a bench did a massive *snort snort hawk* and spat a huge lump of phlem on the pavement in front of me. I had to screech to a halt and swerve round it to avoid treading in it. Guess who came in for an interview. Guess who didn't get the job.
d) harrass me. I know you want to know how your application is going. Did we get it? Are you getting an interview? Have we shortlisted yet? Did you get the job? One polite query on whether we received your application is ok. Keep ringing me and leaving messages and emailing me and just getting on my nerves and expecting me to drop everything to pander to you, out of all 50 applicants, will get you the nickname of 'that bloody woman' (as in, 'that bloody woman' is on the phone again) and get you put in the 'no' pile.
e) Have any errors in your CV. If you can't be bothered to get that right, you won't bother to get your work right. Spell check. Grammar check. Make sure your dates make sense. Don't use funny fonts/colours or layouts, it doesn't make you look creative, it makes you look unprofessional. Don't declare that since the age of 10 you've had a burning ambition to be a TV presenter if you are applying for a job as an accountant. Really basic stuff like that.
It's hard right now. But some people shoot themselves in the foot in their applications. Be professional in your approach - even if it's for one shift a week at McDonalds.
We regularly get over 50 applicants for every job. Of those, at least two thirds are immediately discarded for the reasons above. That leaves us to select for interview on your skills and experience. So make sure your application mentions the skills and experience we've asked for, as far as possible. If we say 'must have excellent IT skills' then tell us what you've used and can do. We can't assume anything. Then if we interview 8 people, about 4 are usually serious contenders. The other 4 do the silly mistakes I've spoken about above.
So the odds seem terrible. 4 possibles out of 50 applicants. But with some care and attention, as long as you are applying for the right sort of role, there's no reason that anyone shouldn't be in that final four. Those that don't make it, have counted themselves out. So, be prepared, do your best, give us interviewers the chance to see how wonderful you are, and believe in yourself.
I recently went through the experience of recruiting a new staff member, and, having interviewed close to a dozen people, I thought it would be useful to share some of the lessons learned - mainly from an interviewers perspective. It was the first time I had actually been "across the table". All my previous experience was as a candidate, so it was very interesting to consider things from the opposite point of view.
In the heat of the moment, it's easy for a candidate to lose sight of what interviews are about - they are a two way street -i.e. as much of an opportunity for candidates to sell themselves as they are for the organisation offering the vacancy to sell itself to the candidate. If you are invited to interview, chances are you have ticked most of the boxes for the job. Your qualifications and achievements have got you in the door, so the purpose of the interview is for the employer to try and figure out whether your "face will fit" in the organisation and within the smaller team that is recruiting you.
At this stage, the cards are stacked in your favour. Your CV has created a favourable impression (well, you got the interview didn't you?) and the interviewer is looking for an excuse to hire you. It's up to you to get through it with that positive impression still intact, or better yet, much improved upon.
When I first started interviewing, I was quite surprised by how much work was involved in preparing for each candidate. I sat down with a colleague (usually the one who was going into the room with me) and meticulously reviewed the candidate's CV with a forensic eye, discussed any obvious issues arising from it, formulated some interesting (and hopefully) revealing questions and decided on the respective roles we would play while in the room (everything from who would do the initial meet or greet, where we would sit, who would take notes and who would lead).
So, what did I learn?
In most cases, the CV will be used as the foundation for your meeting, so ensure that: (a) You know its contents inside out and comfortably talk about everything that is on there; (b) You can justify what you have written; and (c) you haven't embellished or exaggerated the truth. An employer will be looking for evidence that you have used your time constructively and also for clues as to your interests and personality. If you have gaps in your CV, be prepared to talk about them. If you are NOT interested in cooking, hill-walking or playing cricket - for heaven's sake, don't put it on your CV just to sound impressive. You will invariably come up against someone who's an expert on the subject and you'll have to fudge or lie - not exactly the best way to impress. This isn't as rare as you might think - in fact, we sometimes decide who will do the interviewing based on whether they have anything in common with a prospective candidate. It puts both parties at ease and provides an easy way to break the ice.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Find out as much as you can about the company, the role, the interview process (ex. how many interviews and the format they will take) and the people interviewing you as possible beforehand. These days, most decent sized companies will have a web site that not only explains who they are and what they do, but often has a section about its people as well. Google your interviewers - it's amazing what insight you can get into the type of people they are - and don't be afraid to use it at interview. It shows initiative and commitment.
If you have a friend or a relative willing to do some role-play, then by all means, get some practice in. If it can be video-taped, so much the better. The first time I saw myself on film in a practice session, I cringed at the number of times I played with my ear-lobe and nervously rotated my wedding ring. Seeing it helped me to stop these habits.
GET THERE ON TIME
The people who are interviewing you are generally busy and the last thing they want is to waste time waiting for you to turn up. As a business, we tend to do as many interviews in a row as possible and then do a debrief after each one - late arrivals can really put a spanner in the works. Unless there has been a major incident, travel delays are not considered great excuses - it's up to you as a candidate to find out exactly how, and how long it will take you to get there. If you intend to drive, make sure you can park, and/or find out whether visitor parking is available at your destination.
If you are made to wait, take it with good grace - no one is going to keep you hanging around on purpose, there is usually a pretty good reason why an interviewer is late - especially if you are coming during the business day. When I was interviewing for jobs, I arrived half an hour early, installed myself at a local coffee shop to review my notes and then pitched up in reception ten minutes before time to ensure I could clear security and get badged up in plenty of time.
DON'T BE COMPLACENT
Your interview starts the moment you arrive - that means the security guard at the door, the receptionist and the tea lady are just as important as the CEO. We decided not to take forward one applicant who was an otherwise excellent candidate because he became surly and rude when the receptionist brought him a tea without sugar rather than the two he had requested. We were not in the room at the time, but had asked our receptionist to keep a note of her views on candidates as they arrived. Be polite, gracious and well mannered with everyone - good manners are noticed as readily as bad. The reception area can be a mine of useful information, as you are likely to find company literature, in-house and trade magazines, and chatty receptionists. It is also the public face of the organisation so note the décor - it can give you useful insight into the personality of the place.
THE KEY FIRST IMPRESSION
An interviewer will subconsciously decide whether they like you or not in the first thirty seconds, and if the impression is a bad one, it can be hard to overcome. Dress comfortably, smartly and appropriately - regardless of the job you are going for. It's important that you look professional and focussed. Make eye contact, give a firm handshake - and smile! Trust me, you'll feel a heck of a lot more nervous than you look. Room set-ups can vary from the adversarial (two people across from you) to the collegiate (a round table) and even "open" (no table), so if in doubt, and it's not immediately obvious, ask where they want you to sit. Sometimes you are shown straight to the room and you can choose for yourself, so try and pick a seat facing the door to make introductions less awkward.
Overt "statements" of personality can work against you - so use your common sense! Garish tops, novelty ties, oversized jewellery, inappropriate make-up and interesting body piercings may fly in some trades, but certainly not in more conservative professions. I am not saying it's necessarily fair - but its human nature - and when you are looking for an edge, so it's worth considering whether you want to (or need to) make the sacrifice of personal expression to land the job. Think of all those property shows where the owner whose house does not sell - because of a purple and pink boudoir themed bedroom - refuses to paint it magnolia against the advice of the resident guru who is there to hasten the sale.
It seems obvious, but make sure your shoes are polished, your clothes are clean and pressed and you've looked after your personal hygiene. That includes neat facial hair, trimmed and clean fingernails, no snot hanging off your nose, no hair protruding from ears and nostrils, a decent hair cut and no oozing spots you've just squeezed (yes, these are actual examples - I speak from bitter and disgusted experience). Make sure you don't pong - it still amazes me how some people turn up stinking of smoke, lager, body odour or halitosis. In contrast, don't shower yourself in perfume or aftershave either. We'll be spending a fair bit of time in close proximity and in a confined space and I have no desire to gag on your BO any more than I want to die of Chanel No. 5 inhalation.
Don't pretend you are someone you are not. As mentioned, an interviewer is trying to figure out whether you will fit in with the organisation and will be looking for certain attributes, personality traits and qualities that complement other people already in the business. If you blag your way through and are dishonest in the way you portray yourself, you are doing no one any favours - least of all yourself. Sit how you feel comfortable (within limits). I cross my arms when relaxed. Some would interpret this as putting up a "physical barrier" but the way it ties in with your general demeanour is much more important.
ANSWER THE QUESTIONS
We use two interviewers to minimise the effect of any personal bias, and also to make sure that one can maintain a conversation and keep eye contact while the other takes notes. Make sure you answer the questions that are asked rather than the ones you want to answer, and don't be afraid to stop, pause and think before you reply. Interviewees absolutely abhor silence, but no one is going to mark you down for taking the time consider a reply before giving it. Resist the temptation to say things for the sake of it - I would much prefer ten seconds of silence than meaningless waffle. Your throat can get dry, so make sure you have water or a drink handy (ask for it or bring your own!) it not only ensures that you don't squeak, but its also useful as a delay tactic to get you some thinking time.
When asked to describe a project or a job you have worked on, make sure you concentrate on what YOU did, rather than what "we" or "the team" did, otherwise it sounds like you were just along for the ride. Interviewers will try and ask open questions (i.e. ones that don't require a "yes" or "no" answer) but sometimes fail - so, if appropriate, try and make sure you answers are also open. The interview is an opportunity for you to sell yourself and the best ones tend to turn into conversations instead of interrogations. We remember the candidates that were extremely hard work as much as those that were a breeze to talk to.
ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE
It's much easier to talk about things you do well than those you don't, but you can make even faults sound less objectionable. For instance, instead of "I'm crap at X" (yes, I have had that response!) try "An area I could improve is..." or "X is an area that I would like to develop more...". Being able to identify your weaknesses is easy - showing how you plan to improve them is the real skill and shows both self-perception and motivation.
A fair bit of time will be set aside for you to ask questions of your interviewers. Remember - you are just as entitled to probe, investigate and gather information to find out of the role suits you as the other way around. That means you will need to prepare some questions in advance, ideally based on the homework you did before you arrived. A few well judged and thought out questions (i.e. not ones asked just for the sake of asking them) will impress, and, ideally, lead naturally to any follow-ups. This would be a good time to confirm the next steps in the process if this hasn't already been explained.
Do remember to thank your interviewers for their time, and, if appropriate, consider a follow-up e-mail. Recruitment can sometimes be a fairly lengthy process, often interrupted by business critical issues and the difficulty in arranging dates for other candidates, so try and be patient. Trust me when I say that you are not being tortured deliberately! As an organisation we tend to act fairly quickly whatever the outcome, but not all companies follow good practice. If the answer is unfortunately negative, it is entirely appropriate to ask for feedback on why you were not selected or put forward to the next stage.
THE FINAL WORD
Being interviewed can be a stressful process, but the more prepared you are, the more confident you will be. In short, be on time, be prepared and be yourself. If you're reading this before going to one, I wish you the best of success.
© Hishyeness 2009
I am writing this review from the viewpoint of a senior manager who interviewed potential staff for over thirty years. The suggestions, pointers can only be mine, as unless you are applying for a job within an organization that you or a friend or relative already work for, you cannot know the interviewers likes and dislikes. I know of one boss who faced with two candidates - one highly qualified, charming, presentable and experienced and one who was carrying a certain brand of designer handbag- well the latter applicant would get it every time- sad and wrong but nevertheless true.
So here are my top ten tips:-
1. Arrive on time, early rather than a minute late.
2. Look smart, clean and tidy.
3. Think about anything about you, that you know some people don't like for example piercings- if you can remove them or not show tattoos etc- do so. I know of one male accountant who was not appointed- I asked why, because his history was excellent and I was told it was because he was wearing an earring. I would not have found that a problem- so better safe than sorry.
4. Smile and look at your interviewer while talking. If you face a panel, then do not focus on one person all the time. That one person may well vote for you, but the others are less inclined.
5. Show that you have done some research on the company, this can come out when you answer questions e.g. why did you apply for a post with this company? Or when you are asked if you have any questions.
6. Be clever in your answers, if for example you are asked if you prefer working alone or as part of a team- this could be the point you rule yourself out- if you give one definitive answer. So a good answer would be that you liked both in their own way, you enjoyed being able to concentrate on the job in hand and taking responsibility for it, but you also enjoyed teamwork and working together to get a task completed well and on time.
7. Do not waffle, not easy I know when you are nervous, but I would much rather have heard on a few word answer than a monologue. A good clue that you are doing this, is if the interviewer grabs a chance to interject when you pause for breath.
8. Be honest, I know it is supposed to be acceptable to lie at interview, but if you must, then limit them to white lies, not thundering great whoppers. Chances are you are meeting someone like me on the other side of the table and we have years of experience, and whilst not body language experts, we have certainly become keen amateurs.
9. When you are asked what tasks you do in your current job, tell it like it is- I cannot count the number of times I have asked this question and the response I got would lead one to believe they should be on a six figure salary. This always rang alarm bells with me, as either I couldn't trust anything they had told me, they had major delusions of grandeur or they really thought what they were doing was that complicated and stressful.
10. Last, but by no means least, when asked if you have any questions, do not, I repeat do not, ask about anything relating to conditions of service- this can all be sorted if you are offered the job and before you accept.
I used to cringe when this question was met with queries on flexitime, pay rises, holidays,time off for school plays etc; etc; You may have got away with asking such questions in the past, you may in the future. Let's face it - we go to work for the money and we need work life balance, but making that your number one priority shows no interest in the job you have applied for. I occasionally gave jobs to people who had asked for personnel information, but only when I was having trouble filling the post. I know all of my fellow managers felt the same- so why risk it?
I would add that if you have applied for a job that is term time only, it is perfectly acceptable to include that as one of the reasons you applied for the post- but it shouldn't be the only reason - for example your answer could be..." Because I have young children, I needed to find a job that enabled me to work term time only, but I also wanted to find a position that interested me, so that I was able to look forward to coming to work and to do a job I found satisfaction in doing well". You could add, if applicable.." I also hope that in the longer term, once the children are older I could progress within the company." This last statement suggests you are someone who is ambitious and who is going to stay with the company. Recruitment and training are expensive so this is a definite tick in your box.
Remember we are interviewing because we have a vacancy to fill, we want to find the right person on that day, we have no desire to re-advertise, it is expensive and time consuming. You are hoping to be the right person, but we are equally hoping you are that person.
Finally remember if you do not get the job, and you know you have done everything you can- that chances are you did- believe me sometimes the final decision is practically the toss of a coin. I recall years ago having two candidates which were so close we simply could not make a decision as to which to appoint, looking over their application forms and CVs again- we noticed that one had attended the same school as John Lennon- they got the job- we were both Beatle fans.
I have recently applied for a job working in my local Sainsbury's and have been successful in my application. The job is as a customer service assistant and therefore it is dealing with customers face to face.
Here are some of my tips for interviews:
Always arrive on time - this is always essential as you want your hopefully future employer to see that you are prompt. If you can't show up for an interview on time then how will they be sure you will turn up on time.
Dress smart - no matter what job you are applying for a clean, tidy appearance shows that you take pride in yourself.
Smile - smiling is always infectious and is something that people can remember you for. At my recent interview it was commented on how happy I seemed to be and how this is what they wanted customers to see.
Maintain eye contact - this will help to bring across that you are genuine. This is something else that may get you remembered, particularly if you are applying for a customer facing role.
Always prepare answers to common questions - questions such as 'what do you know about the company' and 'name a scenario where you have directly done so and so' seem to be increasingly popular so I would always google a company and try and prepare answers as much as possible.
Ask questions - always ask questions relating to working hours, holiday days, salary etc as you want to look keen and avoid any chance of future problems with realising that the job is not suitable for you.
Don't lie - never lie about skills or references as it's likely you will be found out and subsequently lose your job or damage future career potential.
I have had four jobs since leaving school and this will be my fifth one. I've never not been successful for a job I've applied for so I must be doing something right!!
I hope that these tips have been useful to someone as they seem to work for me. Good luck one and all!
I know what you mean when it comes to interviews. I Had worked at the same place for over 29 years, then found I had to move on because of a health issue and I was fed up of the place anyway.
The only trouble was that I was then over 53 years and could tell that they weren't interested in and old person and came up with some excuse. Before everyone shouts "That's ages Discrimination!" You try and prove it. There is always someone younger and better suited to the position than yourself.
Even over the telephone I had a reaction of a deadly silence and in the end as desperate as I was and not cosidering the Dole, I took up cleaning for a local company for a while, then added gardening to it and ended up working for myself.
One may think what has this got to do with interviews? Well nothing much but it shows that if an interview doesn't go well and you don't get the job; don't give up, look at other options, go for other interviews and maybe don't set your sights too high, you can always research and build you techniques after.
I took a course in Sales and Marketing Management and you learn all this.
Tim's Tips as I call them.
Presentation: make an effort, clean and tidy to suit the position, The interviewer would like to picture you in the proposed job.
Cleanliness a must, a smell of bad odour is a turn off
Knowledge; try and get information on the job, product and the company and show how you can fit in, they will assess you as well as maybe ask your opinions but be careful here encourage them of you potentials.
Do not Babble on, look, listen and learn of what they desire from you and assure you are the one for the job but at the end of the day it is their decision.
Get a repore with the interviewer, be friendly and approachable so that they feel comfortable with you and do not lie, they will see it or they will find out.
I have succeeded in getting a few part time jobs during my long employment but admittedly it was tough when my age showed and that I was changing my career which had the main bearing.
Websites such as monster and reed and any other employment website are full of page after page with information on how to prepare for an interview. The internet is full of information on this subject, however they all repeat the same usual information such as, brush up your CV, arrive on time, look presentable, ask a question... Everyone knows what to do to prepare for an interview.
However in reality being accepted based on an interview is not such a simple process. The first point that the applicant must understand is, the interview process is an unfair process based on employer's preferences, not based on suitability for the role. In this day an age while it may be illegal to discriminate, it happens everywhere. People are employed based on personality and background not ability.
I have friends and acquaintances that while may not have a 100% success rate, they seem to do reasonably well. They register with a few recruitment agencies, send their CV, make a few phone calls and while the process doesn't necessarily go smoothly they eventually at least find something to help them live, whether its a full time job, part time or temporary.
However, there are those who no matter what level of education they hold, how articulate, bright or how smartly dressed they are, they will struggle. Some people reading this review will dismiss this as nonsense but this is partly because they have been lucky enough not have the misfortune to experience it.
From the moment the applicant steps through the door, they will be judged within a fraction of a second just like any other social interaction. They either like you or they don't. If they like you, it doesn't matter if you are incompetent lacking the necessary skills, the interviewers will find every excuse to employ you, "don't worry you lack experience but the job's really not that difficult we'll will train you."
On the other hand if they dislike you, they will find every excuse to dismiss you as unsuitable. There have been job interviews where I have researched every minute detail from company's history, founding origins, the structure of the company, number of employees, annual profits and losses, number of branches and so on. This is after being asked the usual question, "so what do you know about our company."
However on the occasion that they felt that I didn't suit their image upon walking through the door such demonstration of knowledge will only be met by the interviewers with annoyance. The interviewer, takes over the conversation, ask ridiculous questions and search for every excuse to demonstrate at that point in time to dismiss the applicant as unsuitable. These aren't small companies but even some well known medium to large companies operating multinational scale in London. There have also been interviews where I have been on time yet made to wait over 40 minutes and then sit in the interview while the interviewers ate their lunch in front of me. If you struggle with the interview process despite following all the obvious advice as given on the recruitment websites it's because you don't suit their image. Become an entrepreneur and start your own business.
Right, here's my few words of wisdom to prepare anyone for a job interview. I'll try and keep it pretty vague so that it just about covers most job roles, however I'm sure for each role there will be specific things you can do to help. For example, a creative job you may wish to bring a portfolio, a construction/surveying job you may wish to bring a profile of projects you've worked on, etc.
Preparation is key for a job interview. The night before, make sure you set your alarm so you have plenty of time to eat something before, as you definitely don't want a rumbling tummy to make you more nervous. Appearance is everything, as even though employers try to not judge you on your appearance, they will, especially in this financial climate. Chose your clothes for the interview the night before. For a man, you'll want to wear black trousers and a shirt. A tie is your choice, depending on how formal the job is, but I would recommend one. For women, you'll want to stick to smart trousers or a smart skirt (not above knee length), a blouse or shirt and some basic accessories. Make sure they're all ironed and laid out the night before.
Make sure you take your CV with you. Hopefully, you will have already sent them one, but bringing another one saves them having to look for it. It also shows you are organised. I'm sure by now you'll have already known how to write a CV, but if not, you'll want to get it to one page if you've only been employed by no more than 2 companies, but possibly go onto another page if you've been employed by 3 or more companies. Keep it clear and simple. I find that putting a border around the page makes it look more professional.
On the CV you'll want to clearly outline your name, your address and telephone number/email address, your skills and abilities, your previous employment, your education and a couple of references.
If you have the internet, research the company thoroughly a few days before. Write down important information to memorise. Try and think of previous experience you've had that will relate to the company in any way.
Hopefully you'll have had interviews before so know typical questions they may ask. Revise these and make sure you know your answers. Questions such as 'Tell me something you've done that you were proud of' should be making you think of something you've done in a work place or somewhere similar where you've shown skills of organisation, management or something particulary specific to the job you're applying for. They'll ask about your previous employment, and especially any career breaks, so make sure you have answers as they'll be a bit suspicious if you don't have a valid reason. They'll ask about previous employment tasks, what you've done etc, make sure you know a few good things you can say. They'll ask why you want to work for the company so make sure you can think of good reasons rather than 'I'm just looking for any old job', even if its true!
You'll want to make sure you arrive at the interview 10 minutes early. This shows punctuality and eagerness, and it means that you might get to go in a bit early, and they'll be grateful as it means they get to finish interviewing a bit earlier!
At the interview, try and talk as politely and clearly as possible. Shake the interviewers hand. Try and be yourself as well as maintaining professionalism.
One thing I always do at an interview is make sure I can think of a question to ask at the end, as they will ALWAYS ask if you have any queries. Generally most topics do get covered, but not everything is answered. It's difficult to say questions that you could ask as it depends on the job. If you were going for a secretarial job, you could ask how many people will you be working for in the firm, whether there's area for progression, such as potential PA-ship. If you're going for a retail job, such as shop assistant or supervisor, you again could play the career progression card, or ask about uniform, or different customer situations. If you're going for a high-demanding sales job, you could ask what the most important thing you could do within your induction period to secure the job permanently or what they think your potential weaknesses are so you can improve on them to secure the job.
You need to make sure you have at least one question to ask that isn't 'what's the pay' or 'how many days holiday do I get' otherwise the interviewer will wonder if you're truly interested in the job. Asking a question will also help busy up a rapport between yourself and your potential boss and create a nice flow of talk to end the interview with, so that you stick out in their mind.
At the end of the interview, smile, thank them for their time and say you hope to hear from them, which will usually be within a week, shake their hand again, and leave. You're done. Don't think back on the interview, regretting things you said or didn't say.
About four days after the interview, if you haven't heard from the company, a simple but grateful email or letter addressed to the company asking them if they've made their decision and that you look forward to hearing from them will show keenness and that you really are interested in the job.
The main thing is to be yourself, be polite and professional, dress smartly and prepare, prepare, prepare!
I'm going to keep this short and sweet because I'm of a school of thought that says you don't need a load of things going round in your head if you are going for a job interview. In my experience as someone who has always done well in interviews I keep things nice and simple and use basic common-sense as well as intelligence. I keep 3 things in mind when going for an interview and they have really served me well.
- Dress smart. Simple but effective. Your appearance sets the tone. First impressions and all that. This doesn't mean suiting and booting every time. I have been thinking of maybe applying for a job at Tesco or at one of my local cinemas and I certainly wouldn't get all penguined up (for want of a better phrase) for an interview for one of these kind of jobs, I'd be more smart-casual. Looking comfortable is a good thing for a prospective employee to see. If it was a big career move then yeah the old "whistle and flute" would come out.
- Be confident. Sit up straight and look them in the eye.The worst they can do is not employ you. Nobody is going to get killed. Remember that you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. Think of questions relating to the operation of your prospective employer. Think of what you would like or dislike in a job and put this to them. Treat it almost as though you are mystery shopping them if you have to, basically anything that gives YOU a feeling of having control is good. This is a great way to put yourself at ease and will impress the interviewer. Remember you can always stretch the truth slightly to add a bit of gloss but outright lying is a risky business.
- Think of things you have done well in the past and how you did them. A lot of employers these days conduct what are termed "competency based interviews". They want to know specific examples of things YOU have done in previous employment, at home, amongst friends, during your education, voluntary work etc etc. Not just that but in these types of interviews they want to know exactly how YOU went about your task(s), the steps YOU took, the preparation YOU made and the nature of the positive outcome of YOUR endeavours. The reason I have spelt YOU in capitals is because they don't care about what your team did or your section at work did. The word WE is your enemy, it must be all about what YOU did. Prospective employers will typically ask you for an example of good customer service YOU have given, why and how you did what you did and what the outcome was for the customer and yourself.
Now go get a job!!!! ;-)
All interviews are scary and stressful, but teaching job interviews are so intense that you are likely to feel like collapsing in a heap by the end of the day! I finish my four year teacher training degree in a week and have therefore spent my time since January searching for a teaching job to suit me. After one unsuccessful interview, I finally got offered a job two weeks ago at a local Secondary school after a gruelling but successful interview. Whilst we did receive some University input on the interview process, I would have loved to have known all the gruesome details of what a teaching job interview involves before being thrown into them. Therefore, I am writing this review of the process for anyone who may be heading towards interviews, as well as those supporting family members doing so, or simply just those who may be interested in the whole traumatic experience!! I understand that not all sections will be of interest to anyone so will break it up into chunks for ease.
What will the interview involve?
Teaching interviews vary from school to school, although generally they will always include a tour of the school, formal interview and you will be expected to teach a given topic for a duration of time so that they can observe your teaching skills. Most interviews now also include a pupil interview where you will be left with a panel of students who will interrogate you with their own questions (or in some cases, scripted ones from the school!) Some interviews will also require you to give a short presentation on a topic that they give you prior to the interview. You should expect the whole interview process to take up the majority of the school day. On interviews where there are a lot of candidates shortlisted, they may do interviews and the teaching activities in the morning and then send some of the unsuccessful candidates home there and then, leaving the remainder to be interviewed again in the afternoon in order for them to make their decision, although this is less common.
As with any interview, it is very important that you are prepared. The majority of schools will give you the final information at short notice which is annoying, but remember that all the other candidates will in the same boat. Once you have been offered an interview the school will send you details on what they require of you. This will include the details of the teaching activity you will need to prepare, as well as whether a presentation will be required. Schools are often quite vague with the information regarding the teaching task, apparently this can be deliberate as a sort of test to see which candidates will use their own initiative and contact the school for more details. In order to have all the information you need to prepare, make sure you know:
The year group you will be teaching
The number of pupils in the class
How long you are expected to teach for
Their ability levels and the ability range across the class
Any special educational needs that you will need to cater for
What facilities will be available to you- eg will you have an interactive whiteboard, which type, *What resources will the children have access to, does the whiteboard have speakers etc.
Whether the children have done any prior work on the topic you are expected to teach.
Which course the class are doing - eg - GCSE, Diploma etc
Once you have all of this information you will be able to start planning your teaching activity. Some schools will ask you to teach a for an hour, some half an hour and the really mean ones will ask you for just 10 or 20 minutes! In my first interview I was expected to teach for 30 minutes and it was hard to break this into a three part lesson (starter, main and plenary) but my second interview task was 20 minutes which was incredibly hard to plan for. Remember that you want to show how you teach and how you interact with the children, but don't try and cram every thing into the teaching task. If you over complicate it for yourself then there are more things to go wrong! Make sure all your resources are prepared and printed - its best not to rely on photocopying them when you arrive at the school as there is not likely to be time and it may make you look disorganised. Ensure that you have a full written lesson plan, even if you are only teaching for 10 or 20 minutes. Show the balance of teacher centred stuff and pupil centred stuff, as well as any differentiation and assessment for learning. Print copies of your lesson plan and resources for the people that will be observing you - this will make you look well prepared and if things don't quite go to plan they can see what was intended. With both of my interviews I found it hugely beneficial to run through the lesson with a friend of family member prior to the interview. This helped me check that my timing was ok, get an idea of the pace I would need to keep and it meant that by the time I had to teach the lesson for real I felt like I had already done it once and felt quite confident about it. If you are expected to do a presentation, make sure it looks good and that you are well practised so that your mind wont go blank. I found it useful to take key note cards to prompt me if I was struggling. It is also useful to make sure you are prepared for the questions you are likely to be asked in both the pupil and the more formal interviews.
Make sure you have everything ready the night before. Triple check that you have all the resources etc in your bag. Whilst some schools will prepare a lunch for you it is worth making sure you take a lunch with you. You don't want a rumbling stomach in your interview! Don't take anything that will make you smell - so a tuna sandwich is probably not the best idea!
Similarly, don't take anything that will leave you covered in crumbs! I suggest taking a large bottle of water as although you will be offered drinks you will spend the whole day talking and what with being nervous, you will need plenty of water! Take anything you might need in the day, painkillers and antihistamines were ones I found useful - painkillers because the trauma of the whole day left me with a head ache and antihistamines to keep my hayfever at bay. It may also be worth taking some cheap spare pens and pencils for the irritating little oiks that will stare blankly at you saying "cant do it, aint got a pen"!.
Don't forget to take your qualification certificates, your current CRB and proof of identification.
What to wear
Ok so common sense should stop you turning up in jeans or a bikini but don't forget that what you wear to the interview is a statement about you! Obviously you need to look smart and it is expected that you would wear formal trousers or a smart skirt. Some candidates at the interviews I have been to wear a full suit. Men of course don't have much choice as they will need to wear a shirt and tie with a suit jacket or smart jumper. For women, deciding what to wear can be a stressful process! It is best to minimise the amount of flesh on display. Make sure that you can bend over without flashing some poor unsuspecting adolescent boy. Try to avoid the all black and white look as it wont make you stand out. Include a bit of colour if possible. Wear shoes that look smart, but shoes will be comfortable. At my first interview I made the fatal mistake of wearing high heeled boots that weren't very comfortable, only to find out that the school was spread across four floors and I was to spent most of the day walking up and down stairs in agony! For primary school interviews you might get away with looking a little less formal but its best to look too smart than too casual!
For interviews in a Primary School you will be expected to bring with you a portfolio of your teaching experiences. The portfolio should include examples of lesson planning, pupils work, photos showing what you have done etc.
The portfolio is not an essential requirement of Secondary school interviews (although more schools are requesting them these days) but it has many benefits if you get time to put one together. Mine was in a smart black A3 presentation book. It contained a table of contents at the front so that I could quickly locate a page in the interview. The first place was a mind map type diagram of what I believed an effective teacher was and how I show this. I then had a page showing how I could meet the five outcomes of the Every Child Matters Agenda in the teaching of my subject area. I included a couple of pages on my primary experiences with photos and examples of work, alongside statements of what I had done in my teaching experience. I had similar sections for Key Stages 3, 4 and 5 which I found particularly useful in interview as when asked about my experiences of teaching certain topics etc I could open my portfolio and show examples to support what I was saying. I also included sections on the cross-curricular aspects of my subject and how I have made provision for children with special educational needs. I included examples of planning and children's work, alongside positive comments from my placement reports.
I am very glad that I made a portfolio, although it wasn't essential for either of my interviews it gave me something to talk about in interview if I was struggling on a question. It showed the interviewers that I was keen to showcase my abilities and was well prepared. I would definitely recommend that you produce one even if the school do not ask for one. At the end of the interview, it is worth pointing it out to the interviewers (if you haven't done already) and asking if they would like to have a look at it as they are likely to hang on to it for the rest of the day which will keep you in their thoughts which is hopefully a good thing!
Arriving at the school.
Remember that first impressions are important. Ensure that you arrive at the school in good time. Work out how long it will take you to get there, where you can park, where the main entrance is etc. You wont make the best impression if you screech your car into the headteachers parking space, and run red-faced and panting into the school reception after the time you were meant to arrive! Also be aware that everyone, particularly the receptionist will know that you are there for interview and you will be watched and judged from the moment you are in sight of the school! Introduce yourself confidently and politely to the receptionist and look smiley and cheerful! At both of my interviews I was joined by the other candidates in the reception area of the school. Be polite to them, talk to them and show that you are a sociable and confident person. In my first interview I noticed the deputy head teacher watching us candidates from his office and making notes! Bare in mind that if you are left in the staffroom at anytime you still need to be making a good impression. Talk to other staff, be polite and don't sit huddled up in the corner looking like a frightened rabbit!
The Tour of the School
The tour of school may seem like it is for your benefit, which to a degree it is - if you don't like the school then you wont want to accept a job there! But remember that they are watching you still! When you are taken into classrooms, where appropriate, speak to the children, show how well you can interact with children that you don't know, ask about the work they are doing, show and interest, offer support if you can. Ask questions as you are being shown around and comment on things that you like - if you think the displays are good around the school - mention it! If you are being shown around with a lot of other candidates then don't hide at the back and not enter the classrooms, avoid looking arrogant but try and keep at the front and keep eye contact with the person showing you round as they talk about the school.
The Teaching Activity
I spent hours preparing for my interview teaching acitivites and it was the part that I was most nervous about until the moment that I walked into the classroom! If your training has been good then teaching is your forte and you should feel comfortable doing it. Be prepared for the fact that you might not have much time to set up for the lesson - it is likely that you will be pretty much thrown into it! In both my interviews I was literally thrown into the room and had a second to put in my memory stick and open my powerpoint for the interactive whiteboard. Make sure that you have a watch as one of the things they will be looking for is good pace and in both my interviews, there was no clock in the room!
Show confidence, be assertive and make your expectations for behaviour and learning clear. In my second interview, the behaviour of the class was very challenging, but the people observing me knew that and were impressed by the way that I dealt with it. Try and show your teaching style as best as possible so that the school can make a decision on whether you are really right for them. Don't try an cram too much in and give heaps of praise. It is not uncommon for pupils that you teach to be asked for their opinions on your teaching so try and make the lesson enjoyable.
The teaching aspect of the interview can be structured in a variety of ways. In my first interview, I was to teach the first 30 mins of the lesson and one of the other candidates was to teach the second half. In my second interview there were three candidates and we were all to teach the same group. I was unlucky enough to have the last teaching slot so the poor class had already been taught for 20 mins by one candidate, 20 mins by another candidate and then had to endure 20 mins of me on the same topic that they had just been taught twice already! Be prepared for this - bare in mind that the class may have already just been taught the same topic once or more by other candidates so have plenty of extension task incase they find it too easy. It is also worth considering that you may not be observed by the same person/people for the whole of your lesson. My friend was asked to teach and hour lesson whilst one of the other candidates taught another class at the same time. Halfway through the lesson the observers swapped over to enable them to observe each candidate.
In both my interviews the teaching part went really well and I felt pleased with how well I had done in such a difficult situation of not knowing the class. However, if it is a disaster don't let it eat away at you, try and find the opportunity to explain why you felt it hadn't gone to plan and what you would do differently. It may not be your fault - for example - in my second interview I was told that the class had weak literacy skills. It turned out that they were a nurture group and literally couldn't read or write. Luckily I had catered for this and made sure that I had lots of visual resources for support, however a friend on my course had been in a similar situation and it had gone badly, but by explaining to the panel what went wrong and how she could have improved it they were satisfied that she was being reflective and she actually got the job.
The first interview I went to involved a presentation. The topic was on why my subject specialism is important for children to have successful futures. It was a five minute presentation and I prepared a powerpoint presentation with the key points that I was going to talk about. My presentation was good, perfectly planned and well practices but went hideously wrong in the interview! I was taken by surprise as I was asked to wait outside of the interview room whilst they took my memory stick off me and went into the room to open my PowerPoint. I was invited into the room and they literally pointed to my presentation on the screen and said "ok start". It shocked me to be thrown straight into it and all the clever, well thought out things that I had to say left my brain. Having had no time to compose myself meant that my notes were in my bag so I completely messed it up. I rambelled for what I assume was five minutes, repeating myself and babbling with a shakey voice! My nerves got the better of me and it really was a disaster. I was thrown straight from this to the interview and it meant that I was stressed and stupidly nervous throughout the interview - the knock on effect was that I came across badly in the interview too due to being so shaken by the dodgy presentation and as a result didn't get the job! My teaching was good and they were happy with that part so it goes to show that if you are asked to do a presentation it can be quite important!
My advice would be to practise it lots, be well prepared and if it goes wrong try and not let it get to you like it did me! Its funny how you can be so confident in standing in front of children and presenting a lesson to them, yet the moment your audience is a few adults you can turn into a bag of nerves!
The Pupil Interview
The pupil interview is that part that I felt most confident about! The pupil interview will usually not involve the adults that are interviewing you, either you will be alone with a panel of students or there may be a member of support staff there to support the pupils. The questions they ask will depend on what they have been told. In one school the pupils asked questions like: "if you could dye your hair pink, green or brown, what would you choose and why?" these questions are more for them to assess your personality so be interesting and humerous. In my second interview I was asked what I liked about the school, how I would deal with a difficult pupil, what my experiences of teaching were and other questions about myself and my teaching. I quite enjoyed the pupil interviews as I am confident in my interactions with pupils and was able to get them on board. In both interviews, the feedback was that pupils had unanimously voted for me! Remember to ask them questions aswell - what do they like about their school and things like that. It will be their answers that are the closest to the truth, so anything you want to find out to make your decision of whether this is somewhere you want to work - they are the people to ask! Just be yourself and show confidence. Don't be afraid to joke with them, you want to get them to like you!
The Formal Interview
The formal interview will usually take place after you have taught your lesson so that they can interrogate you on it! The format is generally the same and you will be called into an office and either sat round a table or sat on a chair opposite the panel. The interview panel will usually consist of the head teacher or deputy head, the head of department and sometimes a governor, other headship team member or teacher. They tend to take turns in asking you questions and will make notes as you talk. Whilst it can be quite daunting, if you are well prepared you should have worked out answers to the most common questions already so it is just the ones specific to the school etc that will be more difficult. The most common questions that I and colleagues on my course have been asked at interview were:
Why do you want to teach?
What do you think about the school?
How do you think your lesson went?
How do you incorporate Every Child Matters into your teaching?
What do you enjoy most about teaching your subject?
Tell us about the best lesson you have ever taught?
What are your opinions about current educational issues?
What skills and interests do you have that you feel this school will be interested in?
What do you have to offer this school?
Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
How would you deal with.....(they give a scenario on behaviour etc for you to respond to)
How would you motivate pupils who have lost interest in the subject?
Obviously there are plenty more questions that could be asked although most interviews will be around 30 minutes long so you wont have to answer too many questions. If you don't understand a question - don't waffle some dumb answer - ask for the question to be rephrased (politely!). Smile lots and make eye contact with all of the panel. If you have a portfolio, try and use it when answering questions. When asked about my experiences in teaching Key Stage 4 I was able to show and discuss examples from my portfolio which was useful and helped illustrate my answers. Most importantly, try and stay calm and be confident. For each question think about what they are looking for you to say, and draw on your experience.
The final question is likely to be along the lines of "Would you accept the job if you were offered it?". This is one that you will need to answer honestly. Don't say yes if you aren't sure! In my second interview I was asked this question, I said yes, and the deputy head said "good because you got it!". I wasn't expecting this as common procedure is for them to ring in the evening once they have discussed the interviews. So I sat there like a goldfish for about 30 seconds until someone got up and shook my hand!
The Job Offer/Feedback
As mentioned above, usually the school will ring in the evening with their decision. If you are offered the job you can verbally accept it there and then or ask for a day to consider the offer. If you verbally accept the offer you will be asked to confirm this in writing, however it is important to acknowledge that verbal acceptance is almost as good as a contract in this situation and if you accept the job and then change your mind it will not be considered professional and could cause you problems as schools talk to each other! If you have asked for time to decide and then conclude that you do not want the job, you should let the school know as soon as possible as they cannot offer the job to the next candidate until you have officially declined.
The school should also ring the unsuccessful candidates and will offer feedback on what you did well as well as why you didn't get the job! This will usually be the same evening as the interview unless they are interviewing over a couple of days. Everyone is entitled to the feedback so if it is not automatically given to you when they ring, it is perfectly acceptable to ring the next day and request it. I do recommend this as the feedback I got from my first interview was quite useful as it made me realise that I had to control my nerves in the interview and presentation bit!
I am absolutely delighted to have been given my first teaching job in a school that I like! I am very glad that I only had to endure the interview process twice as it really was the most emotionally draining and stressful day of my life (each time!). The interview process for teaching jobs is very gruelling and traumatic but you will feel so proud of yourself once you get offered a job! My final point of advice is to remember that there is a lot of competition for teaching jobs, particularly in nice schools! The "credit crunch" has pushed a lot more people into teaching as it is one of the most secure professions in the current climate, and so competition is ever increasing. If you don't get shortlisted or aren't successful at interview then don't feel too disheartened, its not nice feeling rejected by given the amount of people that apply it can take several interviews before you find the school that is right for you.
Im not going to lie to you, teaching interviews are horrible - rest assured that if you are going for one you will hate it!! But the whole process will be rewarding in the end.
Being interviewed for a job is hard. You have only a short period of time to showcase all of your skills and talents and you are asked questions often verging on personal by complete strangers. Some people will thrive on the pressurised atmosphere of an interview but most people will feel the nerves before the big day.
The first step to interviewing well is good preparation. When you find out that you have an interview make sure you have all the information you need about what is expected of you. Call to confirm you can attend if you receive a letter inviting you to the interview - you want you potential employer to believe you are polite and personable. It will also be useful to find some background information about the company such as their aims and ethos, what exactly they dom what type of company they are, and similar. In your preparation you will also need to ensure that you know where the interview is and how to get there. Make a note of which bus you need to get from where is you are taking public transport and maybe do a trial run if you plan to drive. Don't forget to check where you can park if this is applicable.
One of the most difficult aspects of a job interview is 'bigging yourself up' in such a formal situation. People (mostly) are modest but the interview is an opportunity to really sell yourself and you need to focus on doing this. Interviewers will have heard loads of stock answers so be weary of just learning and reciting these. You want to make yourself stand out and tell the employer why you in particular would be perfect for the job. Take a few minutes out to think of a few qualities that make you fantastic and write them down. Four or five will be plenty but they should be personal to you so it is unlikely lots of other people will have the exact same combination. Now work these selling points into your answers!
If it helps you search for a few likely questions but do not learn any answers - you want to be setting yourself apart from the other candidates. Think of ways you can get your USPs into the answers to these questions but always answer the question you were asked rather than twisting it into the answer to the question you wish you had been asked.
On the day of the interview make sure you get up in plenty of time. Make sure you have everything you need for the day with you. If they have asked for proof of qualifications, for example, remember to take them with you. A pen and notepad are also always good to have to hand. You should dress appropriately for the interview. This is not to say a suit is always necessary but you should look smart and like you have made an effort. You should also be comfortable in what you wear.
If you have confidence in yourself other people will believe in you and your abilities. Practise speaking in an clear audible voice whilst maintaining an interesting tone. Make lots of eye contact and remember to smile and hold yourself well. The interviewer will be trying to image you fitting in well with the team so be friendly to everyone you encounter and act naturally.
Some interviews are held before a panel. If this is the case then don't just aim your answers at one person. Try and connect on some level with all the people in the room. You want to come across as trustworthy, open and honest. Answer all your questions to the best of your ability and don't ramble on if what you are saying is no longer relevent. Don't be afraid to ask for clarification if you are unsure what is being asked of you. In an interview trick questions aren't used as often as people think they are. If in doubt just answer the question on face value, don't look for hidden meanings where there are none.
At the end of your interview you may be asked if you have any questions. Don't feel that you have to come up with an intellegent sounding question if you would only be opening your mouth for the sake of it. You can use this time to bring up any points you want to add though. The worse feeling is leaving an interview knowing you haven't said everything you wanted to.
Upon leaving smile and thank your interviewer. Make sure they have contact details for you and know when you are likely to hear from somebody. Leave the room believing that you have a great shot! Be positive and do your best, what more can you do?
Having prepared for an interview for a job I recently started, I still have the latest tips and advice fresh in my mind that people gave me, so where better to express them than here.
The first thing to note with interviews is that adequare preparation time is needed. Like with anything if you prepare enough for it will go well, whether this is an exam or a cross county trip. The old school term "Practise Makes Perfect" is a great phrase to use here.
So you have an interview coming up in a few days and don't know whether to start. Well pretty much every firm bigger than soletraders (and even some of them) have a website, so the first thing you should do is to check their website out and make notes about the company. Showing that you know all about the company, what goods and service they provide, who their CEO is, how long they are running, who their competitors are etc, may make the difference between you being offered a job and it going to one of the other candidates for the job.
Also type the company name into google and see what comes up. Maybe they have been involved in the news recently and it is best to know about this information as it may well be asked. Of course do not say anything negative about the firm, as this will not go down well.
Secondly you need to prepare answers. Ideally you want to have memorised what you will say for the standard questions. These comprimise of:
Why do you want to work here?
What do you know about this firm?
Why should we hire you?
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
There are many many more questions like these and a quick seach on google for interview questions will come up with much information, but this is not the hard part. The hard part is commicating your answers across to the interviewer. I find that speaking out aloud is the best way, it does sound strange at first, but you will soon get used to it. You don't want to come across as sounding robotic in the interview, so I would advise just writing bullet points for all the main questions and then recalling these bullet points and expanding your answers.
Of course the situation may arise where you can't answer a question, but it is best just to take a moment to think about the question in your head, and you are sure to be able to come up with something from the preparation that you have done. What I like to do is to come up with two examples for the main competencies. Here are a few of them.
If you have two examples of each, then if they ask for another example of a time you did something then you can use your alternative example that you have for the compotency.
However all this preparation will not matter if you don't get to the interview on time. I cannot stress how vital it is to get to the interview at least fifteen minutes early. This will show that you are punctual. I would advise leaving as early as possible and then finding a quiet coffee shop to sit down and look over your notes before heading down for the interview. It is needless to say that a firm handshake is important, not too firm though, and to be polite and smile. If the interviewer is rude, then don't be rude back as this could be your future boss and he or she will want someone that they can see themselves working with.
At the end they will always ask you if you have any questions. It is best not to mention anything to with salary here and focus on the specific job duties. Make sure you send a thank you letter a few hours after the interview is finished, just simply thanking the interviewer for their time.
Finally be calm and confident, as you know you have put the preparation in and right for the job, so why wouldn't they want to hire you?
Eeek! Interviews! The scariest things in the world! I can't say that I am the perfect interviewee but here are a few things I have read about interviews over the last week or two...
First impressions matter! It is very important to look smart, tidy and professional when going for an interview. Unless you're going for a fashion related job or similar I would suggest that overly bold colours, large jewellery and inappropriate footwear (I'm thinking 5 inch stilettos!) should be avoided.
Hair should be clean and tidy and should be in a style which doesn't fall into your eyes or irritate you so that you are constantly pushing it out of your face. For the majority of jobs, unusually coloured hair should probably be toned down.
Facial piercings should be removed. The exception here is one pair of small studs in the ears are usually acceptable.
When meeting the interviewer, you should smile, look them in the eye and shakes hands firmly. Introduce yourself and don't sit down until you are asked.
Try to be concise and polite (goes without saying) during the interview. Don't speak too quickly and make sure you make eye contact with all interviewers if being interviewed by more than one person.
Sit up straight and try not to fiddle with your hair, rings or similar as this exudes nervousness.
Do not say anything negative about current or past employers, even if your boss is/was vile. This will only reflect negatively on you and you could be seen as indiscreet or a trouble maker.
It's really important that you do your homework and find out exactly what the firm does as this will show that you are keen when you can, for example, mention that you are aware that 35% of their clients are dog loving astronauts (or whatever).
Make sure you have some questions ready for the interviewer and it's perfectly acceptable to take a list of questions into the interview, and indeed this shows organisational skills.
When you leave the interview you should smile, make eye contact and shake hands again. Thank the interviewer for their time and say you look forward to hearing from them. And be enthusiastic, you want them to remember you in a positive, enthusiastic light!