How to Sail through an interview

AMA_CV_Tips

You have perfected your resume and you got the interview!
First impressions count. Regardless of the position you are applying for, always dress in business formal attire. As the saying goes, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

When meeting employers and recruiters, remember to smile and have a firm handshake. Eye contact is essential. Keeping your gaze just a few seconds longer than usual will create a longer-lasting impact.

Most importantly, be yourself. That’s the best advice that I would give to anyone going into an interview. At an interview, the company wants to take the time to get to know you better as an individual. By being yourself, you and the company will benefit from seeing whether or not both of you are a good fit for each other, so, stay as calm and natural as possible. Follow the above tips and you will start off on the right foot!

Before any meeting, always research the industry and company.
At some point during the meeting, the interviewer will likely ask about your knowledge of the company and its position in the industry. Since it is really easy to do, visit the companies websites to social media platforms and like or follow their feeds.

Social media websites have become integral components to many companies’ business development, and thus, can act as reliable resources for your research. Two examples of well-known social media platforms are Facebook and LinkedIn. If you want to gain some insight on the company’s culture and activities, Facebook may be your best bet. As you scroll down on the news feed, you get the company’s latest shared news within seconds – from statuses to photos to events!

If you are concerned about legitimacy, LinkedIn is another reliable resource. Many reputable companies have their own LinkedIn pages. From there, you can get a basic understanding of the company’s culture and needs based on not only its news releases, but general information such as its size and available working positions. (You can even prepare for the positions you’ve applied to by reading up on them on LinkedIn!)

Always bring a copy of your resume to every interview.
At every meeting you attend, always have a copy of your resume with you. Personally, I like to save trees so I usually take the eco-friendly approach and have an electronic copy saved and prepared on my laptop. But hard copy or not, you should have a resume on hand to use as a reference if it’s ever needed. Extra points for being prepared!

The first five minutes set the scene.
Come into the meeting with enthusiasm and show appreciation for the opportunity. (Sometimes I don’t like using the word interview as it often creates an unnecessary overly formal atmosphere). Your energy is what sets the tone of the meeting so make sure you have lots of it when you are speaking with your recruiter. There is nothing worse than having a candidate turn up with no drive.

My favorite question to any applicant is the “Tell me about yourself” question.
I always begin my meetings with this question. How you respond is totally up to you. You can talk about where you are from, your family, and etcetera – and that’s okay. Generally, most people answer this with their career history to give interviewers a better idea of why they are here in the first place. Most of the time, though, the interviewer asks this question because he or she just wants to see how confident you are and how well you interact with others in meetings like this. The other questions will come later, but this is a great icebreaker and warms you up for the rest of the meeting.

This is a two way conversation, so act as if it’s your responsibility to keep it going.
An interview is like any other conversation –it’s a dialogue between two people, an opportunity for both parties to converse and get to know each other better. There is no right or wrong answer. Personally I don’t have a script or preset agenda. I’m interested in seeing if the person who I’m speaking with would be the type of person I would want to see at my company. Obviously, there is an agenda at hand but any experienced recruiter will cover all of these questions in the guise of a conversation. In my experience, the most painful interviews are the ones that are basically very similar to question and answer sessions. They are exhausting and don’t speak much about the interviewer and or the recruiter. It’s your responsibility to make sure that the recruiter walks away knowing your selling points!

Close on a positive note.
So, now that you have asked and answered all the questions that you came prepared with, you also should already know whether or not you feel that the opportunity is right for you. In other words, can you see yourself working at this company? I can tell you that from a recruiter’s point of view, I am thinking the same thing.

It’s a great time at this stage of the process to express your continued interest in the company if you think that you are the right fit. It’s important to ask questions that show that you are still interested in pursuing a position there. Start with something along the lines of “I really enjoyed the meeting. What would be the next stage of the process?’
By asking this question, you’ll be making the strongest possible “close” – and that will worth a lot!

If the meeting acts as a confirmation that this opportunity is probably not for you, then that’s just as fine. You learned what you want and don’t want from this meeting. You can finish by ending with “It’s been a pleasure meeting with you and learning more about your company and the opportunity. It’s certainly a lot to think about at this stage.” That’s a clear signal for recruiters to know that you, at least, are not completely on board with taking the offer.

Send a follow up email.
For candidates, it’s a great opportunity to reiterate what they have to offer to the company by sending a follow up email. As a recruiter, I like to keep every applicant in the loop, and generally follow up with an email within 24 hours, regardless of the final outcome.

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