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Interview Tips and Questions - Preparing for the Interview (part 1)

Interview Tips and Questions - Preparing for the Interview

  1. Preparing For The Interview
  2. How To Prepare
  3. First Impressions
  4. During An Interview - Coping With Nerves
  5. During An Interview - Projecting The Right Image
  6. The Interview
  7. The Most Popular Interview Questions
  8. The Tough Interview Questions
  9. Your Questions For The Interviewer
  10. Psychometric Testing
  11. Assessment Centers
  12. Second Interviews
  13. What To Do While Your Waiting To Hear
  14. What To Do If You Get The Job

Preparing For The Interview:
Well done. Following your successful job application you have now been offered an interview for that new job. You have obviously impressed your future potential employer with your CV and application form to be offered an interview in the first place. You will have no doubt have probably beaten a number of other applicants but something in your application has made you stand out from the other candidates.An employer isn?t looking to employ any old person to fill their job; hence they have already sifted through all of the applications and compiled a shortlist which you are now on! All the interviewer needs to do from there is choose the candidate to fill their job. The only way they are going to do this is meet each applicant in person. There are many variables in choosing a new person for a job. What one employer classes as an important quality, another may not. Some feel experience is an important factor. Others value qualifications or team management skills or a combination of both. What you have got to remember is that you will have to make a lasting impression on the interviewer to get you nearer to securing that new job. Your future employer is going to have to make a choice from several applicants. This will inevitably be a hard decision to make. After all, summing up candidates suitability in a few short hours isn?t easy for anybody, so you must make an impression. It?s no easier sitting in an interviewer?s shoes than being a candidate. If you go well prepared then you are able to manipulate an interview to your advantage and get across your strengths.

Prior To The Interview:
Remember your employer knows all about the job they are looking to fill; what it entails and what qualities they are looking for in a potential candidate. They also have a fair amount of information about you; your CV and application form. It is always a good idea to take a copy of these with you to the interview. The interviewer will have a checklist of areas they are looking to satisfy themselves about to ensure you can do the job. These will encompass some general interview questions and others specifically about you as a person, such as your interests, hobbies and what you like to do outside of the workplace.

How Will The Interview Be Structured?
Most interviews follow a fairly similar simple format. Usually you will be invited into the interview room, offered a drink of tea, coffee or water etc and then sometimes a bit of casual chat such as ?How was your journey?? Get the idea! Next, your interviewer will ask some general questions, such as ?Tell me about yourself? or ?Are you an organised person?? They may then ask you questions about your CV such as ?You say you are good at time management, can you give us an example?? Once the interviewer feels that they have satisfactory answers to all their questions they will then give you the opportunity to ask any questions you may have about the job, the company etc.

Convincing Your Interviewer & Offering Them Reassurance:
It is really important at the interview stage that the interviewer feels happy about all the areas they have covered. They may keep going back to specific questions if they don?t feel they have got the answer they require. This is often a good sign as it means they are taking your application seriously and they may just want reassurance on one or two points. If you can put their mind at rest it will make you a far stronger contender. If you haven?t been asked any questions, you have either done a fantastic job at clarifying all of their concerns and queries, or you are unlikely to have got the job. Try and be as open as you can without going on and on. I know it?s not always easy to judge, but if you think there is a subject that the interviewer has covered and is not comfortable with, try to get your point across. There are certain areas that can and will cause concern to an employer, such as lack of experience or missing periods of employment during your career. These may have simple answers to them, but if the interviewer doesn?t have a good understanding, because they haven?t asked you the right questions, they are going to be wary. If you think something is bothering them try and give a good explanation. If you are well prepared before the interview and you think there is something in your career history that might be of concern you will have a sensible answer ready. You will then avoid feeling speechless when asked ?Why is there an 18 month gap in your employment history??

Being Interviewed For A Job By Your Existing Employer:
An interview is an interview! Should you be applying for promotion or a change of job in your existing company then your employer will already have a lot of the current information about you, such as timekeeping or time management skills, personal details etc, etc. Other than this information the interview will follow the same structure as any other interview. However specific questions about your current position may well come into play and have a more dominant effect on the meeting. It could be that although there are certain areas they already know about, they may still ask you about them. Things like ?How well do you work under pressure and meeting targets?? They are already aware of your capabilities as you work for them but they want you to answer this question anyway. Just go ahead and give them the answer they want to hear!
Just because you already work for them don?t treat this any differently to an interview being conducted by a new employer. Yes, the interviewer may already know you, so they may well be a little less informal in their greeting but once you get down to business treat the situation the same as if you were applying for a job outside of your current employer. A good point of useful information; don?t crack jokes about people you work with or chit chat about Joe in accounts. It isn?t perceived professional and it will do you no favours in your career advancement.

Be Prepared For The Questions That Will Be Asked:
It?s almost impossible to know exactly what questions are going to be asked at the interview but you can expect certain areas that are likely to be explored. Brief yourself on the skills required for the job, including the experience that you have to do it. Think about questions that may arise from the answers you gave on your application form and lastly consider any questions that may arise regarding your CV. As previously mentioned, breaks in your career, work experience and so on. If you work in a sales role you will already understand the importance of preparation prior to meeting a new customer or trying to close a deal. It is no different when presenting yourself for an interview to win a new job. You need to Prepare Your Offensive, Do Your Research, and Prepare for the Meeting. The better organised you are the more professionally and accurately you will be able to answer each question. This will put both you and the interviewer at ease.

How To Prepare

Prepare Your Offensive:
Now going into an interview is no different from going into battle. The end result is to come out the winner! The better your offensive, the more chance you have at winning the interviewer over. Your objective is to succeed. How are you going to do this? Well you need to know where you are going and how you are going to get there. You need to know what traps or pitfalls there are along the way, so the best practice is to plan and be prepared. Simple isn?t it; so what have you got to do? Well you have got to win over the interviewer. The only way of doing this is by convincing him, or her, that you are the man, or woman, for the job. You are going to achieve this by showing the interviewer that you know about their organisation, know about the job, know how to do the job and would be the best person for the role. The is done by preparation so you can present yourself as cool, calm, collected but not too cocky! If you have ever played a new computer game or purchased a new item of equipment you know that your job is going to be much easier if you get the instructions our first to work out how to operate it, rather than rushing in all with guns blazing without doing any research.

Do Some Research About The Employer:
Now I am no easy employer to work for. I have allocated my time for you to attend an interview and I have also spent some time reading through your CV and application form. In return I think that after inviting you to come along and see me, the least I can expect is for you to have spent some of your time doing a bit of research about my company and what we do. Not every employer takes this stance but many do. By doing a little research this will show the interviewer that you have put some effort into trying to get this job. Besides which, are you really looking to apply to work for a company you know nothing about? If so, you can?t really be that serious about the interview. It?s really simple to do research on a company. Get hold of the company?s sales brochures, reports and accounts. The easiest way to obtain this information is to ring up the receptionist and ask for a copy. You could say something like ?I?ve got an interview with your company and I would like to find out a bit more about your organisation. Please could you send me some of your literature?? This is not so easy if it?s only a small employer. However you can also look at the company?s web site if they have one, research local news items by visiting the local library and searching the newspaper archives outlining press releases. It?s easy to do this. Visit your local branch and explain what you are after and I am sure they will help. Remember you get out of life what you put in. Invest time and effort and you will be rewarded.

Be Prepared For The Interview:
There are several areas that you must be ensure you have covered when preparing for the interview. The first fundamental one being not to be late! Before the big day, plan your route. If you are going by car have a trial run and see how long it takes you to get there. The same rule applies if you are going by bus or train. When you have determined how long it is likely to take you, add half an hour to the journey. If you are early, don?t worry. You can always have a drink or read your magazine, but one thing is for sure you will be calm and more relaxed, whereas if you are running late you will be on edge; not a good start to an interview. Take a phone with you (or money to use a phone box) just in case something happens. It is very discourteous to be late and it really annoys most people, so you aren?t going to get off to a good start on that basis. Just as a pointer it?s always a good idea to take a pen and paper with you or alternatively a briefcase or handbag with a pen and paper in it.

Making the Right First Impressions at the Interview
First Impressions

Do First Impressions Count? You Bet They Do!
You would be very surprised at what can be ascertained from the first few moments in someone?s presence. Indeed, it is an accepted fact that a decision can be made in the first few minutes. An interviewer or employer will discover a great deal about you in a relatively small amount of time by use of their experience in body language. It?s a bit like when you make new friends, generally speaking you know within a few moments of meeting a person for the very first time whether you will like them or not (despite knowing very little about their background). I personally think it is some form of basic primate instinct. So your first few seconds are fairly vital when you walk into that interview room or when you are greeted by your employer. We all give out different signals and these can be influenced by the way you dress, to your body language. In my opinion good body language starts with a firm handshake, (that?s firm, don?t shake their hand off!) and being smartly dressed. Don?t bathe in perfume or aftershave as strong smells often give off an overpowering smell and can be very off putting. Not everyone has the same taste in cologne and there is nothing worse than being stuck in a room with a smell that makes you feel ill. It?s always best to be clean and neutral!

Prior To Attending Your Job Interview:
It?s always a good idea (and I think a courteous one which shows manners and initiative) to confirm with your prospective interviewer the interview arrangements by letter once you have been invited to attend the interview. This doesn?t need to be a long winded letter. It can just be brief, confirming the time and place of the interview. It also gives you the opportunity to send in any documents that the interviewer may wish to see in advance or anything you may have omitted to send when you originally enclosed your CV and job application form.Dress Code - What Clothes Should You Wear For Your Job Interview?
It?s always a tough call when trying to decide what to wear for a job interview. Traditionally men always wore their smartest suit and tie and the same could be said for women; either a nice skirt and blouse or a suit. However things have changed a lot since the old days. For example if you are going to work for an IT firm or Graphic Designers then the dress code may be smart but casual. By the same token if you are going to work for a firm of Solicitors, Accountants or Insurance Brokers then the chances are the dress code is going to be formal. It can be a hard call to decide what to wear for your interview. If you are applying for an internal job then this won?t apply to you as you will already know what standard of outfit is or isn?t acceptable at your place of work. There are two fairly simple ways to ascertain what type of dress code your potential future employer demands and these are as follows:

  1. Drive up to the offices or workplace at a time when the staff will be arriving or leaving. This will give you a good indication of what types of clothes the other employees are wearing.
  2. Pick up the phone and ring the interviewer?s secretary and ask whether the company has a dress code.
As a pointer it?s always a good idea to ?Dress above the Rest? at an interview. Remember you are out to make a special impression. Although you will want to fit in if you get the job, you need to be appointed first! So a pretty simple rule. If the dress code is casual then you need to be dressed casually but a little smarter. For example if the other employees are wearing trousers and open neck shirts then it would be a good idea for you to wear trousers, a tie and a smart jacket. If the dress code is a suit and tie then you will need to wear your best suit and tie ? get the picture. It?s pretty easy for you to judge for yourself. Another good point is when you are invited into the interview don?t ever remove your jacket without be asked. If the room is hot, well quite frankly that?s just a bit of tough luck. I have to admit I have always kept my jacket on even when my interviewer has asked me if I would like to remove it. My reason being that we all perspire during stress and there is nothing worse than seeing perspiration marks around the arms of your shirt! A manger once recalled a very funny story about a lady who was interviewed on a hot sunny day. After the initial greeting the applicant asked ?It?s so hot out there, do you mind if I take my shoes off?? Without waiting for a reply she then proceeded to do exactly that. The interviewer spent the whole of the time being distracted by brightly painted red toes wiggly about. Needless to say the interview was quite short and no time was spent even considering whether to make a job offer or not. So what type of clothes should you wear at your interview? Well it?s an individual?s choice. However I would steer clear of bright outrageous ties if you are a man as not every interviewer will share your love of cartoon characters such as the Simpson?s. Whether male of female try and settle on neutral colours. Finally as previously mentioned it?s a bad idea to wear overpowering aftershave or perfume. It can be very off putting to others.

On Arrival At Your Job Interview:
If you are organised you will have arrived at your interview in good time and you will have a few moments to compose yourself and utilise the rest room before your big moment. If there are some bathrooms in the waiting area (if not just ask someone to direct you to them) go and make a few final checks on your appearance. You might want to comb your hair, use the lavatory or adjust your make up. This time will give you the opportunity to make sure you are ship shape and looking a million dollars. It will also give you reassurance so that once you are in the interview you don?t have to worry about whether you have done your zips up, your hair looks tidy or your lipstick is smudged; issues that are important but that you don?t want to have to worry whilst trying to win over the interviewer. It?s always a good idea if you have a briefcase and are wearing a tie to take a spare, just in case you spill something down it before going into the interview. It?s easily done. I was once attending an interview and on the way I stopped to drink a can of coke as I had arrived early. To say I was mortified when I spilt it down my tie is an understatement. I had no spare and apologised profusely to my interviewer, who was very kind and said it didn?t matter. However I still spent the entire interview worrying about it and my performance was definitely hindered by it. A lesson learned to say the least!

When Your Interviewer Comes Out To Take You Into The Interview ? Or When You Are Called Into The Interview Room:
OK, in my opinion this is the most stressful time of the interview and when my heart beats the most! It?s when you are entering the unknown; new surroundings, new people (sometimes as many as four or five) and a strange room. As I have stated before, you need your maximum concentration at this point as ?First Impressions? do count. So how do you greet your interviewer? Firstly look your interviewer in the eyes and smile. Everyone likes a smiley face. I don?t mean beam like a Cheshire cat; just a pleasant friendly smile. Secondly, offer your hand out to shake. Don?t squeeze the interviewers hand until it turns blue, just a firm professional handshake will suffice. At the same time give a greeting. ?Hello very pleased to meet you? or something like that. Your interviewer will then either take you into the interview room, or you may already be in there as you have been called in, and offer you a seat. Please do not just sit down when you enter the room. Wait to be offered a seat. It is good manners.The interview is going to start along the lines of chit chat. You will probably be asked how you journey was etc, etc and then offered a drink. Depending on the type of person you are and how well you cope with nerves, which we all have, from the person applying for a job flipping burgers to the Executive applying for a new ? 250K per year position; it?s up to you whether you decide to accept one. You won?t be thought of any less should you not accept. If you think your hands are going to be shaking like a coconut tree in a hurricane every time you pick your cup up, it?s probably a good idea to decline. That way you won?t chance spilling the liquid all down your front should you really lose your nerves!

Coping and Dealing with Nerves at your interview

During An Interview - Nerves
Nerves ? Yes love them or hate them we all have them and they apply to everything we do in life, whether it?s a new job, a date, going to the dentist or being reprimanded. What are nerves? Well they are your bodies? way of dealing with stress usually caused by a fear of the unknown. Your body puts up a protective barrier to help you deal with this. Symptoms include; dry mouth, shaky hands, sweating, thumping heart, faintness, feeling like you need to go to the bathroom. Does this sound familiar? Everyone is nervous when attending a job interview. After all you are doing this because you want to get that new job. Your body is releasing chemical called adrenalin which assists you in focusing your mind completely on the situation that you are dealing with. The secret is being able to manipulate and control your frame of mind, use that adrenalin to your advantage and not let it take over completely.

How Can I Control My Nerves?
The secret to controlling your nerves is to convince your brain that you have little to worry about. The reality is that we all get ourselves worked up far too much in the first place. We convince ourselves that we are going to underperform or embarrass ourselves beyond belief. After all I am sure you will have been in many situations where you have been a nervous wreck and once the situation is over, like at the end of an interview or coming out of the dentist, you get the overwhelming experience of calmness. Yes, this is caused by your body relaxing and the adrenalin ceasing. So how can you combat this? Well it's really simple. All you need to do is be prepared and calm yourself. The nerves, to a degree, will be far less. I am sure you will have heard of the term ?Mind Over Matter?. Well it?s true. The brain and body are complicated things. You can convince yourself of anything if you want to and this can have a negative as well as positive outcome. So to deal with this issue and put your mind at rest, hence reducing your nervousness, it?s always a good idea to try and address the areas you need to deal with where you feel you will be an absolute failure if things go badly wrong. So let?s just look at the major areas:1. Drinks - should you or shouldn?t you? As I have mentioned before if you are offered a drink, be it tea, coffee or water and you think you are suddenly going to have an explosive fit and chuck your cup three foot in the air, don?t accept one. The only exception I can recommend here is Water. The reason being is that if you have a glass of water, no one is going to notice if you did or didn?t drink it. However if you get stuck for something to say when asked a difficult question, or you find your mouth is getting irritably dry, it?s a good excuse to take a sip. While it doesn?t buy you a great deal of time it does give you chance to pause and reflect on the question a few moments before you give an answer.2. Awkward Questions ? Well unless you have a crystal ball you are not going to know what you are going to be asked. However if you know anything about the job then you can have a good second guess at what is likely to come up and figure out some answers accordingly. Just remember how it was when you sat exams at school. You didn?t know which questions were going to come up, so you revised all of them. Again, as previously mentioned, if there is a discrepancy in your CV and you think it may be an issue, try and think of an appropriate answer. Don?t just ignore it and think to yourself ?I hope they don?t mention that?. Be prepared, it will lessen the worry.3. Shaky Hands! Well I have to admit I always get shaky hands and I am sure I am not alone on this issue. There is no real definitive way of dealing with this. The only thing you can do is keep them under control by placing one hand on top of the other and keeping them on your lap. As you gain confidence throughout the interview and your mind drifts away from the issue, you will find that the shaking will naturally ease and it should no longer prove a problem.4. Dropping Or Tripping Over Your Briefcase Or Handbag. Come on, there?s absolutely no need to be clinging onto that briefcase or handbag. Place them on the floor, under your chair preferably. That way you aren?t going to drop them or fall over them when you get up. If you need a pen and paper (and it?s always good to have them) take them out at the start of the meeting.5. Fear Of Sneezing or Having a Runny Nose. Again it all comes down to being prepared. Make sure you take a handkerchief or tissue and have it somewhere accessible. It?s no good locked in your handbag or briefcase. Place it in your pocket so you can get at it quickly should you need to.

Make Life Easier For Yourself At The Interview:
Now I am not trying to teach my grandmother to suck eggs but the night before your interview try and get a good night?s sleep. Eat your evening meal earlier than usual and go to bed a bit earlier. Don?t go out on the lash with your mates until 2.00 am in the morning or for a curry or other meal that gives off a strong smelling after odour. As you will no doubt be aware, garlic smells dreadful the next day and will ooze out of your pores for a good 24 hours after eating it. Try and steer clear of meals that include this. Also alcohol stays in the blood stream for a fair while and you don?t want to be turning up at your new job interview feeling hung over and tired. If you are worried about your breath smelling then eat a mint before you go into the interview or use a menthol spray. You can buy little handy ones from the chemist which will fit in your pocket.On the morning of the interview, if it?s in the morning, try and have some breakfast, I know it?s difficult to eat on a stomach that?s turning around faster that a washing machine on a full spin cycle, but food is for the brain and it will help you keep your mind on the job. Besides which if you don?t eat and have an empty stomach it is very likely that you will experience that intensely dreadful sickly feeling. If you have an interview during the afternoon see if you can catch an early lunch or if the interview is early evening try and eat a decent breakfast and catch a late lunch. Ideally you don?t want to eat more than two hours before the start of the interview to give your body the chance to digest your food.If you are really strung out and feeling uptight just before your job interview begins then you can always try some breathing exercises. Now I am no therapist but I always find that breathing deep breaths in through your nose, holding it in for a few seconds and breathing out through your mouth helps. My doctor told me to try this when I was a bit younger and had problems dealing with stress. It seems to work for me and helps me relax. Think happy thoughts. Whether they are about your children, your wife, husband, partner or whatever, try and think of something that makes you smile. It takes far more muscles to make you frown than it does to make you smile and using this technique you will automatically begin to feel the element of wellbeing. It will also temporarily take your mind off the situation ahead which will ease your stress and worry. When you get into the interview and are seated, try and relax and get comfortable, I don?t mean slouch in the chair, but try and pick a position where you are not all screwed up like the hunchback of Notre Dame. Being comfortable will help relax all of your muscles including your legs, abdomen and chest, ultimately making your breathing more relaxed. During your interview make sure you listen to each question posed to you properly. Don?t try and think of an answer while your interviewer is still asking the question.

Projecting The Right Image during an interview - What does your body language tell the employer?

During The Interview ? Projecting the Right image

Selling Yourself
So, I have explained the ins and outs of preparing for your new job interview and dealing with the stress element leading up to this; and then entering into the interview environment. You are now well dressed; have greeted your interviewer (s) correctly; created your comfortable sitting posture and are now ready to convince your interviewer that you are the man or woman that they have been searching for to fill that job opening. To some the actual performance comes easily. For others they have to work at it. Some people are natural born sales people and know how to sell themselves others are not so lucky. Generally speaking if you already work in a sales role, as I do, what I will explain next is really second nature and it is unlikely that I will be offering you anything that you don?t already know. Sales people are natural born performers whether it is due to their personality or due to the nature of the work they have previously carried out. The term ?life is a stage and you?re on it? has never spoken truer than at a job interview. I have been on hundreds of sales courses and read many sales books over the course of my career such as ?how to win friends and influence people? but it all comes down to one thing and that is getting a stranger to believe in you and, or, your product. At an interview you are the one that needs to put on a good performance. There are many different qualities the interviewer is going to be looking for in their potential candidate. These will encompass qualifications, experience, you as a person and the way that you integrate with others. Also they will consider your previous employment history, your enthusiasm towards your career, along with many other factors. So here are a few areas to think about. They are all really interlinked and if you can employ all of them at interview stage you are well on your way to getting that new job.

Show Your Interviewer That You Are Enthusiastic:
So what exactly is an employer looking for? Well firstly I would say enthusiasm. If someone asks you a question and you give a one word answer it doesn?t really look very enthusiastic. So the way to deal with this is to answer the question as deeply as you can. For example; Interviewer ?Your background is in commercial liability underwriting but I see you are now involved in commercial property underwriting?. Don?t simply answer with a Yes or No answer, expand on it. You could answer along the lines of ?Yes I was originally trained in liability underwriting, an area I spent several years working in which I thoroughly enjoyed. However I had the opportunity to expand my overall underwriting skills to encompass property underwriting so I jumped at the chance as I felt it would enhance my experience overall within my team?. Obviously you can tailor this to your own circumstances but you see what I am getting at. Be enthusiastic. Don?t just give one word answers. Make your interviewer interested in you and what you have done. Show him that you really are passionate about everything you do. To the interviewer this shows that you will have enthusiasm and dedication to your new job should they decide to employ you.

Show Your Interviewer You Are A Confident Candidate And That You Know Your Stuff:
Another area where all sales people are naturals is confidence! I know it?s not always easy when you are under pressure and nervous to ooze confidence, but this is a really important area. The more confident you are the more chance you will have of bagging the job. Try and expand on your answers again in this area. If you are asked a negative question try and respond with a positive confident answer. For example: Interviewer ?You don?t appear to have done much cold calling for a while and this job will involve quite a large amount of self lead generation how do you feel about that?? You could answer along the lines of ?Yes I haven?t been involved in cold calling for 6 months which has been quite disappointing to me as I thoroughly enjoyed it and felt that it was one of my strong areas. I really have missed this element of my work because I got the opportunity of speaking to new people each day. I really got a buzz when I finally closed a deal that I knew I had generated from start to finish. Cold calling is an area I am keen to get back into and it?s a talent that I feel comes naturally to me?.Show Your Interviewer That You Are Positive:

It?s easy to become negative about anything in life, but in work life and a career environment, a positive person in the workplace can be a real asset to an employer. Positive people give off positive vibes and those good vibrations nearly always rub off on other employees. The end result creates a happy, proactive, enthusiastic work force which ultimately creates a better working environment and more efficient team. If you can demonstrate this quality to your interviewer at interview stage you will definitely impress them.

Watch Your Body Language:
Body language is an area that many interviewers will take seriously. What we do and how we do it can show underlying areas that can be picked up upon. Body language is an area that has been analysed for many, many years by professionals and interviewers alike. It really is amazing what you can learn from someone just by their mannerisms. As I have stated before I am no expert, but to give you an example, if you ask a person a question and their eyes gaze up thoughtfully to the left hand side of their eyeball you know that the chances of their answer being true are high. If on the other hand they look up to the right of their eyeball the chances are they are searching for a made up answer to your question. There are certain exceptions to the rule but the theory is based upon the fact that the left side of your brain is where you retrieve data from and the right is the fictional side of your brain! Interesting isn?t it and one to be aware of. Other areas that give off body language signals, without you knowing about them, are as follows:

  1. Cross Your Arms: It makes you look defensive.
  2. Sit on the edge of your seat.
  3. Mess with your face or play with your jewellery or hair.
  4. Rock on the seat.
  5. Interrupt when being asked a question.
  6. Give one word answers (unless the answer dictates a one word answer).

  1. Smile as frequently as possible (especially when you are asked a question and respond to the person who has asked the question) but don?t overdo it!
  2. Keep your hands in your lap; don?t wave them around all over the place.
  3. Keep eye contact at all times (I don?t mean stare out your interviewer). If there is more than one interviewer, flick from person to person.
  4. Be articulate and listen carefully to each question before giving your answer.
  5. Keep calm and don?t panic!
The Day of the Interview - Information to Assist

The Interview

General Interview Guidelines ? The Do's and The Don't's!
Once your interview gets under way and the list of general questions that need to be asked by the interviewer are answered; and provided at his point you haven?t managed to throw your tea cup 6 foot into the air because you have the jitters, you should, if you have taken in what I have already said, begin to be feeling a little less nervous so you can really get down to business. Try and answer all of the questions the interviewer throws at you in a precise and confident manner. If your interviewer is asking a question and halfway through you wish to make a comment, don?t interrupt unless you really think that it is very, very appropriate. It is bad manners. Ideally wait for the question to be fully delivered to you and give your answer; even if it means saying to your interviewer ?Can I just go back on the point you made in a previous question?? It is really difficult in this instance where you feel you want to pass comment on something you really feel passionate about but you have to try and bite your tongue. Nobody likes being interrupted and in my experience interviewers are all full of self importance and feel that their question is more important than your answer!

Answering Questions Posed To You By The Interviewer:
Your potential new employer is looking for a candidate that can do the job and will fit into his or her business. The chances are that the candidate is undoubtedly going to need to be a team player and a person who can listen and give enthusiastic and positive input into their job and daily work life. As the questions start to flow try and remember not to go on and on when giving your answers.Try and keep your answers as precise as possible, but not yes and no answers. If you are asked a specific question that requires you to provide an example of how you have dealt with a situation or closed a sale then give an example that makes your achievement stand out. If you have won the salesman of the year award then give a little background into how you achieved it. Inevitably there will be times when you run out of steam and these moments can be quite frustrating, so just sit back and relax and take a few seconds to compose yourself before you deliver your answer to the question.There are some people who think that talking is more important than listening, but they would be totally wrong. Being able to listen to a question without interruption is an art especially if you are genuinely interested in the subject. By showing this quality you will make a good impression. If you are asked a question, that you do not know the answer to, do not to be tempted to lie. If you do you had better make sure you keep your story straight. Answering a question with a lie can get you into big trouble and really achieves very little. After all, the questions have been laid down to see if you are the person the interviewer is looking for and if you can?t give a straight answer then the chances are you are not the person for the job. Don?t do it, it will all end in tears!There are some employers that will ask you what you think of your current boss. This is a trick question. They are really not in the slightest bit bothered whether you think they are a complete moron. All they are trying to ascertain is whether you are a loyal employee and can act in a professional and neutral manner. After all if they offer you the job they will be your next boss! You also have to bear in mind that what goes around comes around; slating your boss won?t achieve anything other than making you look petty and bitter. Save that experience for when you are in the pub with your mates!

Different Types Of Interview Questions:
An interview will have a structured format and there will be several different types of interview questions set to enable the interviewer to gauge your response to technical as well as hypothetical questions. For example a Technical Question may involve specifics about the way a certain type of application is dealt with. Let?s say you are applying for a job in the construction industry there may be certain questions set out to see how you would deal with a particular problem within a mechanical process. Hypothetical Questions can apply to any type of job role and they are designed to ascertain how you would deal with a situation or chain of events. Some less professional interviewers may also throw questions at you which are deliberately set to get your back up, to judge how you deal with the situation.
This is fairly rare and in any event to be honest any interviewer who engages in this type of underhand maneuver I don?t think would be a particularly good employer. Just my opinion!

Types Of Interview:
If you haven?t had a lot of experience with attending interviews then you will not be aware of the different ways that employers are able to conduct interviews and the way that they are held. Aside from a traditional interview i.e. one candidate and one interviewer, there are three different types of interviews and dependent upon the position involved will depend upon the type of interview you may have.Firstly there is the Telephone Interview. This involves an interviewer calling you up and having a chat with you over the phone to judge your telephone skills. This often happens where the job may entail working in a call centre and the emphasis is on how well you perform on the telephone. This method is also used if the interviewer is trying to shortlist a group of candidates in a quick manner and is often carried out by an external recruiter such as an agency. You may or may not be told that you will be having a telephone interview. It depends on the employer. If you have applied for a job where heavy telephone use is likely to be a major part of the job, then this may be the option chosen. The interview should be treated as any other and it?s a good idea to make notes as you go along if you can. If you are successful it may be that you will be asked there and then to attend a face to face interview, so make sure you have a pen and paper to hand.Another type of interview is what is known a Panel Interview. These are a bit more tricky and stressful than a one to one interview. A panel interview will usually have anything from three to six interviewers sitting in on the meeting. Basically this is a way of cutting down on time where the decision for the applicant needs to be discussed by several different members of the business. It could be that you are applying for a sales post and the interview needs the Sales Manager, HR Manager, Head of Department and, if the role involves some form of IT work, one of the IT Managers. It?s always difficult attending these interviews as it can feel like you are one against many but it?s not set up like this for any nasty reason. It?s just easier for the company. If you are faced with a Panel Interview always try and answer each question posed by each member of the panel back to the individual who has posed the question, whilst casually glancing at the other people present. Also when you enter the room you will obviously shake hands with the head of the panel or the person who has taken you in but whether you decide to shake all of the panel?s hands is a decision you will need to make at the time. If they all stand and offer their hands your decision will be made easier.The final type of interview is a Sequential Interview. This can also be a tough type of interview leaving you feeling absolutely drained. Basically how this works is you will be interviewed by a series of different people. It might be that the HR Manager interviews you first, then the Sales Manager and then the Local Director. The chances are that each member of staff will have different questions but there may be some overlap so you might find yourself answering the same questions twice!

Closing And Leaving The Interview:
Once the interview has finished and this should be fairly obvious as the interviewer will intimate that it has, you will want to stand, pick up your briefcase or handbag from under the chair, if that?s where you put them; and then shake hands with the interviewer. Again, in a firm but not grip wrenching manner. Try and avoid the temptation to wipe your sweaty hands on your clothes in front of the interviewer. A better tactic is to just clench your hands together and rub them a couple of times gently to remove any wetness. Thank the interviewer for the time that they have afforded to you, say goodbye in a nice smiley manner and leave the room. Some people will escort you out onto the main floor; others may see you out of the building, but whichever, try and stay as professional as possible. Remember the job is not yours until you have signed on the dotted line!

Some of the Popular answers to Interviewers Questions

Interview Questions
Generally speaking there are going to be certain questions that arise at your interview that you can pretty much expect to get asked at any interview you may attend. The great thing about this is the fact that you can rehearse your answers to these questions and with enough practice they will flow off your tongue easier than honey sipping down your throat! These questions are likely to be fired at all candidates applying for the job. So, although they may sound personal to you and they are to a degree; these are pretty standard interview questions. So here goes. You have to bear in mind that these are the responses that I would consider giving. They are obviously not set in stone and you will need to adapt answers according to your situation:

Tell Me About Yourself
? Sounds a bit like the sort of question you get asked on a date! This isn?t as straight forward to answer as at first it might seem. Don?t start rambling on about how much you love watching the Simpsons on the TV. That isn?t what the interviewer is looking to hear. You will probably need to answer this question with a question. Perhaps you could try saying ?What would you like to know about me?? This then gives your interviewer the chance to get you to tell them exactly what information they are looking for. If possible try and keep this part of the interview to a minimum. If you can, see if you can build into your response positives which relate to the job you are applying for. For example; if it?s a sales role you could say ?I am a very organised person who enjoys finding a new prospect, working with it and closing the deal, carrying out the completion from start to finish?. Sometimes your interviewer might ask about your hobbies and again you should pick out points that relate to the job you are applying for whether remote or not.

What Is the Most Enjoyable Part Of Your Current Job?
- This is a fairly straight forward question but has a bit of a double meaning. Obviously there are going to be parts of your existing job that you don?t like doing or you wouldn?t be applying for this new position would you? But your job can?t be that great either or you wouldn?t be applying for this job! Don?t get led down this route. Just answer something along the lines of ?I do enjoy my present job so I can?t really put my finger on any part of it that I dislike. I am just looking to further my career? and leave it at that. It is possible to use this question to your benefit but you need to make sure you pick something that is going to compliment the job you are applying for.

Tell Us About The Biggest Challenge You?ve Ever Faced In Your Career?
-Oh wow, this is a really great question to help you shine! You are more than likely to be asked this question and it is a really great opportunity for you to blow your own trumpet. Pick a challenge where you have been successful and explain how you overcame it and what the outcome was. This question can also be used by the interviewer to gauge what you consider to be a challenge, so this is a bit of a crafty one as well.

Why Do You Want To Leave Your Present Job?
- This is a bit of a stupid question really as the chances of the interviewer getting a straight answer are fairly limited. Let?s face it; if the job you are in doesn?t pay very well and you want more money, you are going to be looking for a new job. It might be that your current boss is a complete idiot and you don?t like him. It could be you can?t stand working with John in accounts. You aren?t going to say any of these things are you? Well hopefully not! I think a standard response along the lines of ?I feel that I have outgrown the company I am in and my contribution as part of a team could be put to better use with a larger or more focused company where I can expand my skills further. I am really interested in??..but my existing employer doesn?t have the resources to let me advance in this area? and leave it at that. Just try not to be negative about the job you are leaving. It doesn?t look good.

What Is Your Present Boss Like?
-Another question posed by interviewers to gauge your loyalty and integrity. It is not a good idea to be critical about any of the employers you have ever worked for. Realistically very few of us actually like our bosses. Well, most of us just placate them and tell them what they want to hear. After all why would you possibly want to be best buddies with a person who holds your career prospects in their hands? If you get asked this question the most appropriate reply is ?I like my boss and get on very well with him (or her). I respect their experience and they are good at their job?. You really don?t need to expand any further on this issue at interview stage. You have to remember that the person interviewing you may well, at some point in the near future, become your boss and they are weighing up your loyalty and integrity.

What Do You Think This Job Entails?
?Now, when you are applying for a new job the chances are you are going to know something about what it is all about. For example; if the job is a secretarial role and you are a secretary, you will know what sort of work you are going to be involved with. In any case you will have been given a brief description of the job role and what responsibilities it carries in either the advertisement about it or in a job description that may have been sent with the original application form, so you should be able to make a reasoned reply.

What Do You Know about this Organisation?
- Now if you have taken my earlier advice you will have done your research and read up about what the company is involved in, its products, its turnover and its strategy. You will really impress your interviewer if you are able to show that you have this knowledge. As previously mentioned people like to think that if you are really eager to work for them. You will have done some research about what they do and how they do it. So let?s say you are applying for a job with a major high street retailer you could say something like ?I notice that you are one of the leading stores who operate a ?Fair Trade Policy? when purchasing your goods from third world countries. I have to say that I am very supportive of this and it would be nice to work for an employer who cares about the impact their business has on people in the outside world?.

What Made You Apply For This Job And Why Do You Want It?
-This is a bit of a double edged question. Your interviewer isn?t necessarily looking for an answer here that is straight forward. You know you are applying for the job because you think you would enjoy doing it, the package is right and you think you would be able to advance your career with this firm, but the interviewer wants to see if there are some specifics that really attract you to it (other than the ? 50,000 per year and company car). So dependent upon what the role is, you could use an answer such as ?I am a very well organised person and this role involves exceptional management skills. I thrive under pressure and it makes me perform to my full ability which makes me think that I would really enjoy it?. Obviously you can tailor this answer to whatever role you are applying for.

What Qualities Do You Think You Can Bring To This Job Position?
-Again, you know that you can do this job and that is why you have applied for it. Not only do you know that you can do the job, you will do it better than anyone else, so you will be aware of the qualities you are going to bring to this business. You will have reviewed the job spec and the key responsibilities so you will be able to select several areas where you feel your qualities will stand out. Perhaps you could therefore give an answer along the lines of ?I have experience working in the complaints department where a sympathetic touch is required dealing with disgruntled customers. I am very tactful and am able to defuse situations using my personal skills?.

How Long Would You Expect To Work For Our Organisation?
-Let?s face it no employer wants to go through the hassle and cost of hiring a new candidate if the candidate only stays with them for 6 months and then decides to apply to another firm. The recruitment process is a long and expensive one especially where agencies are used to introduce the candidate. This could cost your potential employer as much as 30% of your first year?s package! It?s probably a good idea therefore to intimate that you would like to work for this firm for several years minimum and you could provide an answer along the lines of ?I like the way your company is continuing to expand and I would like to be part of that on a long term basis. So I would like to think that I could continue to work for you for a lengthy period of time providing my career continues to progress?.

What?s Your Greatest Strength?
-Only you can answer this question, but it is a question that will more than likely be asked. After all, the interviewer wants to know what you are good at. This question gives you pretty much an open mandate to really show off. However don?t overdue the self praise. When answering this question try and provide strengths that relate to the role that you are applying for, so if the job requires the need to be organised and a good team leader provide these as strengths within your answer.

What Is Your Biggest Weakness?
- Bit of a tricky question this, after all no one wants to show their weaknesses but we all have them. The most comprehensive way of dealing with this question is to try and turn it into a ?positive? from a ?negative?. So you could perhaps say ?my biggest weakness is buying the kids sweets when they ask for them in the shop? or ?I really dislike washing the car at the weekend but once I have done it I always feel a real sense of satisfaction?.

Where Do You See Yourself In Five Years Time?
-Don?t say as I have heard so many times ?sitting in your job!? Although I have a sense of humour, most interviewers do not. The remark often has an element of truth hanging in the background and you don?t want your interviewer thinking you are potentially a threat to his or her job in the future. I am sure you will have ideas about where you want to be in a few years time. Most people, whether they put them down on paper or not, have a good idea of their long term career objectives. Try and answer the question positively but not too arrogantly. Perhaps you could give an answer such as ?I have always been very career minded and ambitious. I would like to keep progressing up the career ladder and feel that your organisation will be able to offer me that opportunity?.

What Would Your Work Colleagues Say About You?
- This question provides another opportunity for you to demonstrate that you are easy to get on with, a team player and a generally amenable person who works well with other people. You could answer this question with a quote such as ?I am an organised, approachable, dependable, easy to get on with team member who is always willing to offer my advice or assistance to colleagues where needed?. Don?t go overboard with your answer, making out you are something you are not. You may get away with stretching the truth, but if you are not a ?natural team leader? don?t say you are!

What Would Your Friends Say About You?
-Obviously this question is similar to the one above. If you are a popular, kind, caring person who can be counted on and would help a friend out at the drop of a hat then let your interviewer know.
What Interests Do You Have Outside Of Your Work?
- This will be a definite question (in my opinion) and is posed by your interviewer to try and ascertain what you are like outside of your working environment. If you don?t like football or snooker don?t say that you do. Just provide honest answers. There is nothing worse than saying you follow a sport and then it turning out that the interviewer is mad about the subject and starts asking you questions you can?t answer. You will look a fool and your honesty will be under scrutiny!

What Type Of Books Or Publications Do You Like?
- This question needs an honest answer. Just because you think the interviewer is looking to hear you tell them that you have just finished ?Marketing Skills Made Easy? and that it was the best read of your life, it isn?t a good idea to make it up. If you have genuinely read David Jason?s autobiography or Stephen King?s latest book then tell the employer what you enjoyed about it. Of course if you work within certain industries; read the trade publications and have recently read an interesting article about the latest ?blue widget release? then by all means use this as an example.

Some of the toughest and most difficult questions an Interviewer may ask you - be prepared

Tough Interview questions
We know all interview questions are tough but these are the real hard ones. Generally these questions aren?t asked to make your life difficult or to make you squirm. They are simply asked so that the interviewer can find out what he wants to know in the best possible way. When you are posed with a difficult question which you find awkward to answer, it puts you under pressure. Therefore there may be certain questions that are delivered to you to see how well you cope. It not unreasonable if the new job you are applying for is likely to carry an element of pressure. Just remember there is no need to get worked up or frightened. As I keep saying, if you have done your research and prepared properly for the interview these questions won?t be half as difficult as you think. When a question is posed to you try and keep calm. Think about the question for a few moments and deliver your answer accordingly. So here we go!

Are You A Good Leader?
- Your interviewer is looking to ascertain whether you can manage or lead well in your job and how you deal with the people who work under you. Perhaps you could answer this question along the lines of ?I feel that my team leading qualities are exceptional. I am always firm but fair with the people who work for me and find that I get a good deal of respect by operating in this manner?.

How Do You Feel About Taking Direction From Your Superiors?
-This is a very valid question from any potential employer. If you have a boss who is delegating work to you they will want to know that you are able to deal with their requests and execute them in the manner dictated. You will therefore want to be answering this question along the lines of ?I take direction from my superiors well. After all no team can work properly unless they are able to accept instructions from their superior?.
How Do You Feel About Carrying Out Mundane or Repetitive Work?

Nearly every job carries an element of routine to it so this could well be a frequently asked ?difficult? question. The answer could be something like ?I understand all jobs have some element of repetitiveness but I take all aspects of my job seriously regardless of whether they are mundane or not. I always give 100% to my job?.

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