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Interview Tips and Questions - Preparing for the Interview (part 2)

Are You A Natural Born Leader?
-Some of us are natural born leaders and they are usually the people heading up teams or managing departments. Natural born leaders are chosen for the role of management or leadership because of their ability to guide and deal with people. They are people who possess enthusiasm, confidence and good leadership qualities. Try and build something into your answer that shows these qualities. It hasn?t necessarily got to include areas of your work life however it?s better if it does. You could use an example of something in your personal life such as being ?head of the local under 16?s football team? or ?head of your local cricket team? but whatever you choose try and say something that makes your leadership qualities stand out.

How Well Do You Handle Criticism?
-Everyone gets criticised in the job they do at some point in their career. Whether you feel that the criticism is right or wrong there are always two sides to every situation. An ideal answer to this question might be ?We all at some point make mistakes and I am more than happy to take on board any constructive criticism that is given to me as it helps me understand and learn from the situation?.

How Well Do You Work Within A Team Environment?
-Teamwork is very important to an employer. A properly functioning team will create a happy workplace and smooth, efficient production regardless of the product or service involved. Everyone has a different approach to how they deal with their colleagues so you will need to tailor the answer to this question to your own approach. Perhaps you could offer an answer like ?I really enjoy working as a member of a team. There is a feeling of comradeship in that we are all working towards the same goal. When we meet our objective we all benefit from the feeling of success?.

What Motivates You?
-Your interviewer is not looking for an answer along the lines of ?? 100,000 per year and a yacht?. Let?s face it that?s what we would all like! Try and give a constructive answer such as ?I get a real kick out of completing a project. This drives me along the way and I get satisfaction at each stage knowing that I will have made a contribution to the end result?.

Are You Good At Getting The Best Out Of Your Team?
-An interviewer asking this question is looking for an answer that shows how you manage and run your team in order to achieve the best performance from them. Your answer should include areas that show your leadership qualities and how they benefit the people that work for you, such as communication skills and praise.

You Have Only Been With Your Employer A Very Short Time - Why?
-As I have mentioned before the recruitment process is a long and expensive one. Where recruitment agencies are used to source candidates, their fee may be as much as 30% of your first years annual package, let alone the costs associated with any additional training you may need. The last thing an employer wants to do is employ a candidate who is only going to work for them for five minutes and then look for another job! If you have been with previous employer for a short period of time then you need to find an answer that is going to reassure the interviewer?s doubts and put his mind at rest. It is possible in this situation that you could use a line such as ?Yes I have only been with my existing employer a relatively short period of time but have found that I have to move to gain more experience and enhance my career. I think that this can be achieved within your organisation and I feel that I am ready to settle down in a position I am comfortable with for a long period of time?.

How Do You Deal With Interpersonal Problems Within Your Team?
-Nothing runs smoothly all the while and from time to time there will be disputes amongst members of your team. Obviously your answer will probably come from your own experience here, but areas such as being fair by hearing both sides of the dispute, dealing with the problem in private, not causing embarrassment in front of others and looking for a compromise between the individuals may all come into play.

How Would Your Current Boss Describe You?
-?You?re useless and should look for another job before I fire you!!? Just kidding (or maybe not in some cases). Remember at some point in the future the man or woman sitting in the chair opposite you could well be your future employer. When you answer this question provide an answer in a way that you think you would like your boss to actually think of you. So perhaps you can say something like ?I get on very well with my boss and we have an excellent working relationship. I think that the reason is due to the fact that we have mutual respect for each other. My boss considers me as a hard working, loyal and efficient employee who is able to work well using my own initiative. He can trust me to carry out the work given to me without having to bother him?. It?s not a terribly good idea to blatantly lie about your relationship with your boss. If it?s horrendous it may come out in references that are taken later. However, under employment law past employers have to be very careful how they word references and are not allowed to tear your personality apart!

What Part Of Your Job Do You Dislike The Most?
-Well the answer to this can?t be ?I am completely happy with my job and I enjoy every aspect of it. It fills my daily working hours with joy and happiness. I just wish I could do it 24 hours a day 365 days a year?. Why not? Because you wouldn?t be applying for this job if that was the truth would you? Don?t give answers that are purely motivated by money and benefits, even if that is the case. You might genuinely love your job but the money is no good. That isn?t what the interviewer wants to hear. Perhaps you could use a line like ?I really do enjoy my current job and quite frankly there aren?t really any areas that I can say I dislike. However, the company I work for is small and I don?t get much chance to deal with new business very often. This is an area I find exciting and feel that this job would be able to offer me that opportunity?. Of course there may be an area you do dislike in your job but if you decide to bring it up then try and create a positive out of it. For example ?I used to find doing my filing at the end of the day a bit time consuming as I would always get distracted by more important issues to deal with. Then I decided that I would come in a bit earlier each morning to deal with this enabling me to start the day fresh and be left with a bit of spare time at the end of each day should something really important come up?.

If You Were Starting Out Again In Your Career Are There Any Decisions You Would Make Differently?
?This is a nonsense question really. No one can turn back the clock so it?s completely irrelevant, but one some interviewers like to pose. The only answer I can think of giving is ?I wouldn?t change anything. I have been more than happy with all of the decisions I have made in my career and don?t feel that I would gain any benefit out of looking back and analysing something I cannot change?.

You Have Been With Your Employer A Long Time - Why?
-To be honest I think this question is a bit unfair. There could be many reasons why you have shown loyalty to your existing employer for a lengthy period of time. It might be that you just liked your job and the people you have worked for but circumstances have changed or, that you have had a wide and varied career working in different parts of the company doing different job roles. You may have worked overseas for the same company. People don?t generally stay with the same employer in this day and age predominantly because it isn?t always easy to get promoted internally. This could look to an interviewer like you have been unable to get another job. Of course this probably isn?t the case so build your answer around the facts.

Do You Feel That Your Career Has Been A Success To Date?
-Again, another no brainer question that really has no bearing on whether you are capable of doing the job you are applying for or whether you are even the right person for it. Success can only really be measured by the person who it applies to. What one person thinks is successful another may not. I genuinely feel that very few people actually think their career has been a failure. The only way to address this question is to say ?I feel that I have been successful to date and I am more than happy with my career progression. I have always put emphasis on enjoying the job I do and not how much it pays or what benefits I can gain from it. So far I have found that this strategy has worked well for me?.

We Think You Might Be Overqualified For This Job!
-If you were overqualified for this job would you be applying for it? Well I guess in an interviewers mind it could be that you are desperate, or it may be that you are desperate! A future employer doesn?t want to think he is going to take you on if you are going to get bored in five minutes because the job is too easy and then start looking elsewhere again. This is a difficult question to answer but you could intimate that you have a very low boredom threshold and that everything you do, you do to the best of your ability.

If You Were Appointed To This Position How Long Would It Be Before You Would Expect To Be Promoted?
?Let?s face it; most of us want promotion as soon as possible. Promotion usually leads to more money and better employment benefits (of course it also usually entails more work and stress) but you should consider your answer to this question carefully. If you answer ?I?d expect promotion within 12 months of being appointed? you allocate a timescale which may not be acceptable to your future employer. They may not be looking to promote you for a good few years and may feel that you would become despondent and leave if you didn?t achieve your goal. In all honesty the right kind of answer to this question is going to be something like ?I couldn?t give a time by which I would expect to be promoted. I would need to prove myself to the company in terms of my ability, leadership skills and the experience that I would bring to the business. I feel that promotion is a reward, not a right and as with all rewards I am a great believer in that you have to earn them?.

How Have You Managed To Attend This Interview In Works Time?
-Another naughty question often posed by interviewers but at the same time it does bear some relevance. If you are attending an interview when you would normally expect to be in work then your potential employer wants to know what type of excuse you have come up with to your existing employer. Really this is a question of honesty and the reality is that you won?t have asked your existing boss for time off to attend an interview for another job. It may well be that you have taken the time off by telling your boss that you have had to take your pet anaconda to the vets or you might have thrown a sicky but that isn?t what your future employer wants to hear. One straight forward answer to this question is ?I have taken some holiday to take part in this interview?. If you are feeling really clever and you want to impress your interviewer you could say ?Unfortunately I didn?t have any holiday left so I asked my employer if I could take a day of unpaid leave because I had a personal issue I needed to deal with. I preferred to take that action as I don?t feel it fair on my existing employer to attend this interview whilst he was paying me. I do not think it?s right to cheat?.

You Have Read The Job Description And A Summary Of The Job Role So What Areas Of This Job Appeal To You The Least?
-Hmm?.It?s a nasty one this isn?t it! At this point in your interview you don?t want to go and start making out that there is anything at all that you don?t fancy doing in this new job. I am not one for one sentence answers but if you get this one dropped on you I think it?s good to get off the subject as quickly as possible and use the damage limitation technique. I think a simple ?Having reviewed the job summary and description I have to say that I can?t find anything that doesn?t appeal to me in this job at all?. If you do find something about the job that looks less than appealing make sure it isn?t a major part of role and if you can?t find any way of turning the duty from a negative to a positive leave it well alone.

What Sort Of People Do You Find It Difficult To Work With?
-There?s always someone in the office that doesn?t work with the team and the rest end up carrying them, but that?s life at the end of the day. It?s up to your boss to sort that problem out. This often causes bad feeling amongst the team and irritates the other members. However, when you are attending an interview you really don?t want to be seen to be moaning about individuals in your current organisation. The easiest way to deal with this question is to give your answer based on the fact that although you are very amenable and easy to get on with, you are very much a team player so the most difficult people you find to work with are the ones that do not carry the same high standards in their work as you do.

Have You Attended Other Interviews As Well As This One?
-This is a great question and one that you can manipulate to your advantage. If the interviewer thinks that one of their competitors is after you it makes you a much better catch to them. You have to remember many, but not all, employers are like sheep and the bigger the company the more likely it will be that they are after a stereotypical candidate. One that?s just a little bit better than the last. If you give the impression that you are talking to other firms as well and that you have made the last batch of interviews with them, you are going to be a far more attractive prospect. So whether you are or are not talking to other companies make sure you give the impression that you are in demand.

What Do You Think About The Conflict In Iraq, The Credit Crunch, Barack Obama (or something that has a social political bearing)
-The idea behind this question is for your interviewer to see if you take an interest in what goes on in the world, current affairs and so on and to show that your interest in the world doesn?t stop when you shut your front door at night. Your answer is likely to give your interviewer an insight into your values whether they be moral or otherwise and how you address life itself. Politically correct answers aren?t always the right ones. What you need to do is show the interviewer that you have the ability to see and recognise all sides of a debate. That you don?t see things simply in black and white and that you have the ability to debate a subject properly, At the same time you need to show that you are open minded enough to form your own opinion on a subject. What you don?t want to do is jump on your high horse and fire off your own political views. This type of question can be particularly relevant to certain industries. For example, if you are applying to work for an oil company you may be asked your opinion on global warming and whether the work green peace does is right or wrong. Alternatively if you are applying for a job working for a company that manufactures make up you may be asked for your views on whether the work that animal rights campaigners carry out is justified: you get the picture?

What Sort Of Decisions Do You Find The Most Difficult To Make?
-?Should I have prawn or beef sandwiches for lunch!? or ?Should I buy the 28 or 32 inch flat screen TV?. Most of us at some point have had to make difficult decisions whether in our personal or work lives. If you have ever had to fire someone or make them redundant it?s not a nice decision to make, or job to carry out for that matter. This is not from the point of view that you don?t really like the person, but most people have a conscience and realise that if they take away a person?s job it will have a direct impact on their whole life. This is therefore a good example to use as an answer to this question.

What Is Your Current Bosses Biggest Weakness?
-Wouldn?t you just love to say it; ?Lunchtime Binge Drinking?. You must remember regardless of what an idiot you think your boss is; the person that is sitting in front of you may one day be the same boss you are criticizing. Anyway it wouldn?t achieve anything and would only make you look cheap. So if you get this one thrown at you why not try something like ?My boss is great really and we get on very well. He is good at his job, one which he wouldn?t have got in the first place if he wasn?t. I respect him for that. I am sure he may have weaknesses but I have to say that if he has I haven?t picked up on them?.

What Do You Think Of Your Existing Company?
-Now you might think that your existing company is a cheap skate, runs old machinery, never wants to invest in the plant or the future of the business, use every spare amount of cash they have to improve the cars parked in the Directors car park and so on. However that just isn?t the right answer! Your standard response to a question such as this should be that you have really enjoyed working for your current company and that you are thankful for the opportunities, training and career progression that they have afforded you to date.

What Is Your Current Salary?
-It?s a bit of a cheeky question this one and you want to give a non committal answer. You must try and remember that all companies want to save as much money on salaries as they can and if you are offered the job the chances are they are going to indicate a package either similar or slightly more than the one you?re on. If you go straight in with ?I earn ? 23,000.00 plus expenses plus a car and free weekend tickets to the Manchester United games? you are setting a bench mark that you may find difficult to negotiate around. Therefore an appropriate answer to this interview question might be ?it?s not really the salary that is important to me it?s the whole package that I would be more interested in?. By saying this you are being non committal and it will make negotiating an acceptable package far easier

What Salary Would You Be Expecting For This Position?
-Again another cheeky one which, ideally, you don?t want to be too committal over. If you commit to a salary at this stage you won?t be able to negotiate later on and if you ask for too much they will think they can?t afford you. If you don?t know what level of salary a position pays you can do some research on the internet. There are several sites that collect data about average industry and job role remunerations. So you could ask the interviewer a question in response to his question such as ?What level of salary would you be expecting to pay for this position?? If the interviewer doesn?t want to divulge this then it?s not unreasonable for you to decline to answer too. If your interviewer quotes you a salary of say ? 19,000 then try and come back with something like ?Well I was looking for a salary in the region of ? 22,000 to ? 24,000?. Your employer will always start with their bottom figure first so by asking for a little more it sets you a slightly higher bench mark. It may be that your interviewer can only go to the level he quotes but it?s fairly unlikely.

I have A Pen Here ? Sell It Me!
-I?ve been on loads of sales courses and this has always been a question posed to me to see how good I am at selling the benefits of a product, not just the product itself. This is an interesting question and some employers will ask you to do this even if you aren?t applying for a job that involves selling. As I have said the reason behind this is to see if you can sell the benefits of the pen rather than the object itself. For example as a pen itself: it is just a biro with a roller ball and plastic coating. However, its benefits would be: it?s a biro and the roller ball is really smooth and gives excellent presentation. It is leak proof and slim and sits discretely in your pocket. This is all about the bigger picture. If you are able to outline the benefits of the pen you will impress your interviewer. Obviously if you are applying for a sales role the chances are your interviewer will definitely ask you this question. However, it might not necessarily be a pen. It could be something else sitting on your interviewer?s desk.

How Well Do You Work In A Stressful Environment?
-Most jobs carry an element of stress whether it?s working to very tight deadlines or handling lots of different projects and having to manage your time effectively. Your answer to this question should encompass examples of situations where you have operated well under stress and also point out that you get a buzz out of a working in stressful environment as it keeps you mind focused and it assists you in your performance.

Some questions you Could ask the Interviewer

Want to know what to ask?
At some stage of the interview you are going to be asked if you have any questions to put to the interviewer. Now is the chance for you to show your interest in the company and the position. Try to prepare some questions in advance that could demonstrate your experience for the role. Other questions could be about the company which would give you more information about the organisation. This could be crucial to you deciding to accept any offer that may subsequently be made to you. Not asking any questions at all should not be an option as an interviewer will take this as a sign of disinterest. However you can blow the interview completely by asking the wrong type of question. It is never a good idea to rush straight in and ask about holiday entitlement, length of tea breaks, lunch breaks etc. This will give the employer the sign of your priorities in the workplace and it won?t be a good one. I would go so far as to say that second to not asking anything at all, questions such as these could seal your fate completely.Below are some ideas. You can adapt them to suit the type of vacancy you are applying for. For example if you are applying for a managerial position it is almost inevitable that you will have some staff reporting to you. However if you are an assistant administrator you will be unlikely to be in that position. Remember only you know the job you have applied for and the answers to some of these questions would be obvious. If that is the case don?t ask them.Will I be working in a department or in an area on my own?Who else is in the department and what do they do?What training will I need and how will I be given this?Do you train in house or use external courses?To whom am I responsible?Which members of staff are responsible to me and what are their roles?Is this a new position and if so why has it been created?If it is an existing position, why has the previous person left the post?What are the opportunities for promotion?When would you be looking for the successful candidate to start?Are you interviewing many people for this position?When will you let me know if I am to be offered the post?

The use of Psychometric Testing for Candidates

Psychometric Testing
Oh No; I hear you cry help! Well you shouldn?t. Psychometric testing is becoming more and more popular now to vet potential candidates and you can use these in your favour. If you?ve never taken one before it can be a little bit worrying. It?s a bit like going back to school and sitting an exam doing those multiple choice questions with puzzles. These needn?t be a worry and they are not, once you understand what they?re for, how they work and what they are set out to achieve. In my experience it is really no surprise why companies have taken to using these tests to gauge applicants. Nowadays there are some very well qualified applicants for each job. If you were to interview them all you would be there until doomsday. These tests are a good way to assess which candidates are most likely to be the best for the job. If you are the right person for the position then it will just give reassurance to the interviewer and you will be in a good position. On the basis that you have never sat a psychometric test, or heard of one for that matter, I will give you some brief information about them.A psychometric test isn?t really a test. This is because you cannot really fail one. It is called a test because, well in all honesty, how else can you categorise something where you are asked to carry out a task which you will then be assessed on. What these do is ascertain how you think and whether you think in the same format as the company you are applying to. These tests don?t tend to be used on their own in the interview and selection process. Basically psychometric tests are split into four areas and can include one or all of the following; An Ability Test, A Personality Test, An Aptitude Test and Motivational Test. Each test speaks for itself really. The ability test is looking to assess your overall general ability, the personality test is assessing what type of personality you have, the aptitude test is carried out to test the skills you have that are specific to areas of the job that you are applying for and the motivational test is set to find out what motivates you. If you are on your way to an interview and you suddenly get a thought go through your head like ?oh no I wonder if I will be asked to sit a psychometric test at this interview? don?t panic. It is very unlikely, if you haven?t been informed this test will form part of the interview, it will be sprung on you. After all, that would be a bit of a dirty trick to play on an unsuspecting candidate. These tests are often carried out on the same day as the interview but generally speaking you will be given advance warning if this is going to form part of the day.Should you be asked to sit a test as part of the interview then the chances are your interviewer or the HR manager will brief you beforehand as to what the test is about, what you need to do to complete the test and which type of test you will be asked to complete. If they do not brief you, which is fairly unlikely, then you might want to ask them a few questions about the test. Things like; how will the test be taken? What type of test will it be and what will the information be used for? There is plenty of information readily available about psychometric tests on the internet, so if you want examples or more information on this subject just go to Google and search for ?psychometric tests?. If you know you are going to be taking a test then make sure you have everything you need before attending otherwise it will be just like going into an exam without a pen or your glasses. Make sure you are prepared. You don?t want to add to your worries by leaving something important at home that?s going to hinder you. You should use the same type of formula when taking the test as you would if you were taking an exam. For those of you have been left school or University for a while and forgotten then here are a couple of pointers:

  1. Sit down, keep your cool and follow all of the instructions given on the paper. Read them thoroughly and take them in. If you rush you may misunderstand the way in which the test is being set and end up answering questions incorrectly.
  2. If at the start of the test there is an area that you are unsure of or do not fully comprehend then ask the assessor for help.
  3. As with any exam you need to answer as many questions as possible correctly so be careful of the time spent on each question. If you are not sure of the answer or don?t understand the question, don?t get flustered, leave it and move on.
  4. Finally, when you have reached the end of the questions and there remain some unanswered ones go back and have another go. If you still don?t know the answer just guess, you might come out lucky!
I will now try and give you some insight into what you can expect from the different types of tests and how to answer them. I am no expert at the end of the day so I can only go off past experience and information I have read up on the subject.

Ability/Aptitude Tests:
Ability and aptitude tests are set to assess your specific skills. You will sit the test and the result you get will indicate to your future employer your overall level of ability. The content of the test may be general questions set to see how you think, how you deal with specific circumstances and what type of logic you are using to come up with your answer. These tests are frequently designed using multiple choice questions, or what we called multiple guess questions in my day at school! Sometimes these tests will be set using far more questions than can possibly be answered in the allotted time but it is quality not quantity the examiner will be looking for as your overall score will be a percentage of the right questions answered, not how many questions have been answered. It is fairly easy to do some preparation for aptitude tests. Most of these tests are based around logical thinking. This is something we all do in everyday life. If you really want to try and increase your logical thinking you could try the doing the daily crossword in your newspaper, Sudoku which you can get from most local shops, or even play it on the internet for free. You could try buying one of those puzzle magazines from the newsagents. What I am getting at here is that you need to get your mind working in a logical thinking way. By carrying out exercises that involve mathematical puzzles and problem solving you will give yourself a good start. Remember the more practice you get the better you will become at doing these tests.

Motivation Tests/Personality Tests:
Motivation questionnaires are set to specifically analyse what ?motivates? or ?drives? you as a person and how you are likely to integrate that into your work. Also how much stamina you have or how much enthusiasm you dedicate to a project. These tests are set using a question, followed by several possible answers. Personality tests are very similar to Motivation Tests and are designed to assess what type of person you are, unlike Aptitude tests which are created to analyse what type of logic you use to address problem solving. There is no right or wrong answer for Personality tests because everybody thinks differently. These tests are designed to see if you will fit in with the company?s way of thinking or into the type of job you will be doing. Generally speaking there will be no time limit set at a personality test so they are not as pressurised as aptitude tests. It is not possible to analyse what sort of information the employer is looking for when you take a personality test as different employers will be looking for different qualities and they may be aimed at how well you are going to fit in with their team and company. However, the general type of areas your employer may be looking to quantify are what your attitude is to your work life and personal life, how well you communicate with others, what drives you and how you deal with sorting out and solving problems.

Candidate Short listing and Assessment Centre Use

Assessment Centres
There are many different ways for an interviewer to shortlist candidates. I have looked at general interviews, telephone interview, psychometric testing and so on. Another area that potential employers use to assess potential candidates capabilities are what are known as assessment centres. Again these are not generally used in isolation. They will form part of the whole selection process. An assessment centre is a place where you will take a test that will probably involve some form of practical work.

Some jobs, by their nature alone, are going to be dependent upon a fully interactive well oiled team. It may be very, very important to the employer that the candidate who is offered the job is able to thoroughly interact with his colleagues to ensure that each project carried out runs smoothly and efficiently. For example you may be put with a group with other candidates and given a project to do. It could be something fairly simple like giving you a model bridge to build as a team, but with a deliberate problem built into the job. What will happen is you will work together to solve the problem and complete the project whilst you are being observed by the assessors or interviewer. What they will do is make notes about each candidate and the chances are they will be looking out for certain aspects, such as who takes the lead of the team, how well you interact with each other etc, etc.
It is often the case that you will get two or more people with the same type of leadership skills on one of these projects, hence possibly causing a clash of personalities. Your assessor will be looking at how well you can communicate with the other people. If you are a true team player or a natural leader then this type of test is a real opportunity to show your skills off and far less imposing than some of the other tests. If you enjoy being creative and interacting with others these assessments can be quite enjoyable. Aside from carrying out little projects you may also have to get involved with group discussions. There could be tasks where you are given a situation that has to be resolved with role play. Some tests may involve physical exercises which take you away for a couple of days and involve getting from one destination to another via an assault course to evaluate your team and leadership skills etc, etc.Remember that you are under scrutiny by your assessors for each and everything you do whilst you are carrying out your tasks. Don?t try and pretend you are a different person or something you are not These tests can take anything from several hours to several days to complete and trying to make out that you are a natural born leader, when you are not, will show through and your assessor will spot it a mile off.Finally one thing I would add is that even if you are not a natural born leader you must contribute and get involved. If you just sit there and have no input or say nothing, it won?t look good at all. Remember not to get into arguments with your team mates. Try and discuss any issues calmly. As I have mentioned it?s always easy to start getting frustrated if you find yourself clashing with another team member and it is an issue that is fairly likely to raise its ugly head. If you get involved stay cool headed and professional. Try and enjoy the experience. It is a great way to enhance your interview skills and even in some cases make new friends!

Interview Information for that Second Visit to Secure the Job

Second Interviews
If you have been invited back for a second interview then things are looking good. You have obviously managed to impress your interviewer in the first place or else you wouldn?t have been invited back for another go. Don?t get complacent though. It?s just as important to do your preparation prior to the second interview as it was for your first. Your interviewer has either invited you back to get a little more information about you or it may be a more senior member of staff wants to meet you to ask some questions. It could be that the interviewer has decided that you are the best candidate but needs his superior to concur his decision. Many employers use recruitment agencies to carry out the first set of interviews on their behalf to save them time and get a pre-qualified shortlist of candidates. They will have briefed the agency as to what type of candidate they are looking for, qualifications, interpersonal skills etc, etc so this interview may be the first opportunity you have actually had to meet your potential new boss. If you have not already sat a psychometric test or aptitude test then it may be that this will be a requirement at the second interview although, again, if this is to be the case then the chances are that you will have been briefed about it before you attend. Occasionally time may have been against an interviewer at the first meeting and there may have been more questions that needed to be asked. This could be another reason you have been invited back, to clarify any outstanding points that your interviewer didn?t ascertain previously. Remember that as the second interview shortlist may have several other candidates on it, your interviewer may want to explore your experience or interpersonal skills in more depth. One thing is for sure though, if you have got this far things are looking positive, so you will want to give this next meeting your very best.Your second interview therefore is unlikely to follow the same format as the first. If another more senior member of staff is attending then the chances are that the interviewer will have already briefed them as to your background and shared any thoughts or concerns with them. However there may be one or two questions asked that you answered at the first interview. It could be that there are certain specific areas of concern that your interviewer has and it may well be that they will address these questions in a straight manner. There are going to be specific questions your interviewer is looking to find answers to, or clarification of. They are likely to be aimed at your ability to do the job should they offer it you. They could be based around your past performance with your present or previous employers. So it?s a fair assumption that some of the questions will be along the lines of ?give me an example of a project you have undertaken to increase your sales turnover? or ?tell me how you managed to increase your weekly output from x to x?. The questions are likely to be aimed at specifics.It is fair to say that most second interviews usually follow a more informal approach than the first interview. In addition, the chances are you will already have met your interviewer once and you therefore may feel a little less nervous than on the first occasion. If you didn?t accept a beverage when it was offered the first time, because you were worried you would throw the cup 6 foot up in the air whenever you were asked a question, you may feel confident to accept one in a less informal environment. Sometimes your interviewer may decide to conduct the second interview outside of the office in either a pub or restaurant. This can be done for a couple of reasons. It may be that the interviewer feels if you are in a more relaxed environment you will let your guard down and that any questions he asks you may attract answers that are more truthful. Secondly, it could be that your interviewer wants to assess your interpersonal and communication skills outside of an office environment. This is something that may be relevant to the interviewer if the job role is going to entail entertaining clients socially. Whatever happens, do not get lured into a false sense of security. Keep professionalism at the forefront of your mind and only say something you would be prepared to say if the interview was being conducted back at the office. If you are offered an alcoholic drink, by all means accept one if you think the circumstances are right. Obviously if you don?t drink you can say so. However try and keep it to one. Alcohol is a natural relaxant and if you do drink too much you may let your guard down and you end up saying something you regret, like telling a joke that was perhaps not really suitable for the occasion!

What to do next whilst you wait for the News

So whats Next?
?Thank God for that? I hear you say when you get home and sit down with a cup of tea; the feeling of overwhelming stress starts to drift from your body and a warm feeling of relief enters your soul. However, there is still one more job to do before you sit back and wait for the post to drop on your door mat with the job offer and that is write a letter to your interviewer offering your thanks for the time afforded to you. You need to do it immediately prior to a decision being made about the job. After all it is only courteous and professional to thank someone for the time they have given you. A short letter of thanks to the interviewer is going to give the impression that you have manners; that you really have appreciated the time given to you; that you are a professional person who has good and upstanding morals and that you want to stand out from the crowd to prove that the job really is important to you. It sounds old fashioned but for most employers these are all qualities that an interviewer will be looking for in their ideal candidate and if the decision in close between you and a competitor it could tip the scales in your favour. There is another purpose to writing a thank you letter and that is that you will be one of the few that will bother to put any effort into doing so. What will this achieve? Well, when it comes to selection time, if you are the only person to have written a thank you letter that will be a plus point above everyone else. In turn you will stand out from the crowd and your name will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression in the interviewer?s mind. I am not saying that this is going to swing the job in your favour, as there are going to be many factors involved when the interviewer is making his or her decision, but it could do.

What does the letter need to say? Only you can decide what to write but it could be something along the lines of ?Thank you for giving me the opportunity of meeting with you this afternoon. I very much appreciate the time you have afforded to me. I would like to say that I am very interested in the job and should there be anything further you would like me to clarify please contact me on my mobile number provided on the top of my CV. I look forward to hearing from you in due course?. It might be that there was something you forgot to tell them about yourself at the interview and you could add this but keep it brief and only add it if it really is relevant. The idea is for the interviewer to read and remember the letter not have to spend fifteen minutes wading through it.Once you have finished your letter and rushed down to the post box to get it off first class, it?s probably a good idea to go back and reflect for a short time on how the interview went. There might have been areas where you felt you said the wrong thing or there were things you wished you had said, but had forgotten. You may have made comments that your interviewer appeared impressed by; points that you may undoubtedly wish to use in future interviews should you not get this job. By the same token there may have been questions you didn?t feel you gave good answers to. Try and analyse the whole interview as best as you can and jot down any plus points you can come up with or ways in which you can improve your general technique for the future. If you don?t jot them down within a day or so you will have forgotten them, so even if you only have a scrap piece of paper write them on it; you never know when they may come in useful.

If You Get The Job

Whats Next if you get offered the Job?
Thump! The post has arrived. You open your letter and YES, you have been offered the job! However, it might be that you have decided that you don?t want this job after all and that you couldn?t stand the interviewer or the company. If that is the case then you should let the employer know politely and as soon as possible; after all there may be someone out there that really does want the job. Turn them down in a professional manner. It is always prudent to remember that you never know when, or if, you and your interviewer?s paths might cross again. The last thing you want is to find you?ve happily settled into your new job and six months down the line your new manager happens to be the interviewer who has now joined your company! A lot happens in industry. Takeovers, mergers, reverse takeovers, you name it, and most industries are very incestuous. So it?s not a good idea to tell them to shove their job ?where the sun doesn?t shine? or anything else along these lines. If you have changed your mind and don?t fancy the job anymore just decline it professionally and you then don?t have to worry about ?what goes around comes around?.Life is never simple. If it were we would all be living in mud huts, feeding our children by living off the land and never worrying about a thing: no complications, decisions to make or anything else. But that isn?t the case. The problem you may have is if you have applied for several jobs and attended several interviews and then you get offered one, it may not be your preferred choice. It could be that you are still waiting for an answer from another company, which is the job you would really like, but have not yet had a reply from them. You don?t want to accept the first job and then find out a couple of days later that you?ve been offered the second one. It would be a disaster. Well, there?s a couple of ways you can play this. The first thing you need to do in this position would be to try and create yourself some breathing space; buy a bit of time. You could contact the employer and say to them that you?re really pleased that they have chosen to offer you the job you?d just like a day to make your mind up for certain or discuss it with your wife. After all changing jobs is a big decision; one that you are not going to make lightly. This isn?t an unreasonable request and as long as you keep the time extension short they won?t think anything of it. However if you start asking for a week to think about it then your potential new employer is going to start getting suspicious and you could be risking the offer. Don?t forget they?ve been around the block a few times and know their job. No one wants to play second best and if they think you?re looking for a better offer with another company, you could blow your chances once and for all.Now you really are in the driving seat! You have a job offer on the table for a job that you really wouldn?t mind doing at all because you know you could do it well. You have little to lose providing you play your cards right. So what do you do next? A good idea would be to contact the company whose decision you are waiting on and explain the situation. Chances are they will be glad to hear that they are your first choice and it always looks good if other organisations want to employ you. However it?s fairly unlikely that they will give you an answer there and then. It may be that they will get back to you the following day with their decision. It really doesn?t matter if it?s no, because all of your doors are still open. It isn?t a good idea to play this game if you haven?t been offered another job, although it may seem tempting, because the end result could be disastrous. You don?t want to lose the chances of getting this job by being overzealous.

Negotiating Your Salary & Benefits Package:
Now comes the really important part. It?s always wise to leave discussing salary and any benefits package until you?ve been offered the job. The reason being, once your future employer has decided that you?re the employee for them, you are in a better position to negotiate a mutually acceptable deal. This is not just about money and benefits. It?s about your whole contract which includes salary, benefits, holiday entitlement, and working hours plus of course those free season tickets to your favourite football team or use of the corporate hospitality box!! By negotiating it will give the perception that you know what you are actually worth. This might not be exactly what your employer wants to offer, on the basis that you are asking for more than they really want to pay, but it will show that you have good negotiating qualities, a strong personality and good negotiation skills. This will have a good bearing should you be entering a sales orientated role. It?s a good quality to have. However, there is little point in trying to squeeze them like a lemon with unrealistic sums. At the end of the day they can only pay you what they can afford and you might end up losing the job at the last minute; something you won?t want to do due to greed.
So the big question here is how are you going to determine how much they value you and what are they willing to pay you? Well in all honesty it?s no good just plucking a figure out of the air. When you applied for the position the chances are that there would have been an indication of the salary on offer, whether that was a ?Salary In The Region Of X? or ?Basic Salary In The Region Of X With On Target Earnings Of X? or ?Salary Between X and X Subject To Experience?. Aim for the top end of the scale or if you are really cheeky you could try and squeeze them for 5% ? 15% more than the quoted figure. They can only say no and the chances are you will end up getting more than they would have offered you in the first place. Remember that if you can prove to your future employer that you are better than the average ?Joe? you will have a far better chance of negotiating your way to the higher level of the salary bracket. So how do you prove this? Well your qualifications are always a good start. If you have more qualifications than were originally advertised for the position then that?s a plus point. You will definitely need to prepare some justifications for asking for the top dollar rate but you could say something like ?I?m not only ACII qualified but am four parts FCII qualified and you were originally looking for candidates who were working towards completing their FCII? or ?The advertisement for the job stated that the candidate must have two years sales experience for the position whereas I have five years including 12 months experience in pure new business lead generation?.At the end of the day you have been offered the job based on your experience along with other attributes and because you were an overall better candidate than the other applicants. All you really need to do is point out these qualities and use them in your negotiation techniques.

Additional Employment Benefits:
There are other benefits that may apply that are not necessarily salary orientated. They are things such as holiday entitlement, luncheon vouchers or expenses, performance related bonuses, commission, overtime, profit sharing, private health insurance, share options, childcare contribution, sports / gym facilities, company car, mobile phone, rail or travel ticket and non contributory pension. This list is not exhaustive and it would be unrealistic to ask for all of these benefits. The best thing to do is choose maybe two or three and see how you get on. It may be that your employer doesn?t want to provide a company car but he may be prepared to finance your travel to and from work. Compromise is as always the golden rule.Now let?s face it, some hard ball managers, whether they be HR Managers or Heads of Department, are going to try and get you as cheaply as possible, so there could be some dirty tactics at play at negotiation stage. You can just bet your bottom dollar that they will be holding a card up their sleeve to try and get you to agree to a lesser package or make you take on more responsibilities that the job role originally stated. Generally speaking this is a little bit ?Un British? and ruthless and the chances are they will pull this one out of the hat just when you have almost struck your salary deal. A good example of this is where your employer tells you his right hand man is off sick and is likely to be off for at least six months and would you therefore mind taking over his work. It?s not that you don?t want to demonstrate what a hard working person you are or that you can?t do the job but you?ve basically agreed on a salary that was acceptable and now you?re finding out the job is twice as involved. It?s now much harder to go back and negotiate and your employer knows this! All is not lost however. You can prevent this situation happening by you both laying down your cards at the start. All you might say is ?We need to talk about my salary, benefits package and holiday entitlement. Are there any other areas or issues concerning the job role or workload that you feel we should discuss whilst we talk about this?? You have now made it extremely difficult for your employer not to mention the fact that his right hand man is off sick and you will be required to do his job as well as your own for the next six months. You can use this in your salary negotiation.

Confirmation Of Your Employer?s Job Offer:
When you have agreed everything with your employer, salary and benefits package, working hours, holiday entitlement etc, etc and both you and your employer have agreed on the final points of the deal then your employer should issue you with a letter of confirmation of the offer. This should encompass all of the agreed areas. Once you receive this and are satisfied that everything is correct you should formally respond to your new employer agreeing the terms and conditions outlined in the offer letter.

You are now ready to start you new job ? Good Luck

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