It’s getting hot, even for Thailand. I was down by the seaside for a while until I move back north. However, at the moment being less than 10 minutes’ walk from the beach is fantastic. I’ll be on my travels again next week and will of course keep you all updated.

As you know at the beginning of the year I set up This is a virtual assistant and administrative online business focusing on the recruitment sector in the UK. I am making this bigger and better.

I was thinking about interviews again but this time I wanted to give some tips to help out. This is meant to be for candidates at the beginning of their careers but these points should still be applied for people with more interview experience as well.

                                                         Interview Tips 

Most of these are from my own experience. Some of these are from ex-colleagues that I have spoken too or things that I’ve heard of from other offices.

  1.  The 6 “P”’s

There is a slightly more fun version of this but it’s the old mantra of “Preparation and planning prevent p*&% poor performance”. These days there is a wealth of information out there on the internet for you to use easily to plan ahead. So this usually means do some background reading on the company/facts and figures/location/market they are in/competitors etc. Also if you know who you are going to be interviewed by then check them out on social media and LinkedIn to see their background. You should be preparing questions and thinking what are they going to ask me and how am I going to respond.  

  2.  To dress to impress or not to dress to impress

In the so called modern age we can still be a little old fashioned at heart. There are exceptions and it’s nice to see but the business suit is still the number one item to wear in most situations. Until fashion/business mind-sets change as a whole (this doesn’t look likely in my lifetime) then this will always be the case. But this is one of the reasons point 1 is so important. If you have done your homework you will already know what the company culture is and therefore know how to dress for the interview. It may be the case that you can wear something more casual such as no tie/jacket.

  3.  First Impressions count

So you’ve got everything planned and you are on the day of the interview. In your research you will have found where it is your going for an interview and how you’re going to get there. Arrive in the area of the interview early say 15-30 minutes before. Ideally then you want to find the entrance to the building where the interview is taking place and then go and find a coffee shop around the corner. You need to be at the reception 5 minutes before your interview. These timings are ideal but sometimes you have to change them if your interview is on an industrial park for example with nowhere to go to get a coffee stay in your car until it’s time to go. Then when you actually go into the interview treat everyone you meet like they could be a potential interviewer. Most people will judge you within the first few seconds that they get to meet you. So make your greeting firm but not overtly friendly. This means a decent strength handshake but not breaking their arm. Smile, look them in the eyes and talk clearly and not too loudly. Don’t mumble. Make small talk with them for example, about the journey to the interview and listen to what they say and take your cue from them. If they aren’t particularly talkative then you don’t need to be but if they ask you questions in return you should answer and keep the conversation going.   

  4.  Interview Technique

Part of this will be things that you should have already done. Such as the preparation and planning and communicating properly with all the people that have an interest in your interview. But another part of this is also how you then go about answering the questions that are raised. This can depend on what kind of interview you are in. These pointers are really for face to face traditional interviews where you’re getting grilled by 1 or more people. But now we have interviews done online by VOIP software and recorded interviews and interviews where you are observed carrying out a presentation or other kind of activity. Your technique needs to slightly change for these different types of interview you will encounter. You also need to vet the amount of information that you give in your answers. They need to answer the question but try not to veer of and go off on an unrelated tangent. Keep it focused, try to aim for 2, 3 points in your answer to the interviewer.   

  5.  Personality vs Ability

There needs to be a balance here between how personable you are and how much information you give the interviewer to prove you can do the job. Most of the time the interviewer is going to be the boss or certainly heading up the team and therefore more than likely they want to know that you are someone that they can get along with and sit next to for 8 hours a day. You’ll probably know how formal the interview is as soon as you step into the building or step in the interview room. If there is no attempt at small talk from them you may not want to come across as to much as a friend, that they can have a laugh with just yet. Depending on your personality that kind of interview may be easier for you as you only need to concentrate on answering the questions about your ability and not worry about how personable you are coming across to the interviewer.  

  6.  Remember to interview the Interviewer

As part of the interview most interviewers want to see that you are interested in the role/company/work you would be doing etc. The best way to do this is of course having some questions prepared to ask them. But what you should also be trying to figure out is whether or not you can sit in the same team/work with this person for 8 hours a day. If you think the interviewer’s sports banter and witty comments about the other members of the team are good and something you can get on board with and you like doing/saying the same types of things, then chances are you’re going to get on well and work together well. However, if you think what they are saying is rude and misguided then you might not be a great fit for this one. But you may want to delve into questions such as how the interviewer finds working at the company and what the company culture is like. Not every company suits every person.   

  7.  Close the interview

An important part of the process is to finish by “closing” the interview. It is a very salesy term I know. But it only really means a few things that are in fact straightforward enough to do for anybody. So firstly all the questions are now completed and before they usher you out of the interview ask them how they think you got on in the interview. Ask how long will the process take. If they haven’t already told you. Also if the job has turned out to be everything you wanted emphasise that you are interested in the role. No matter how you got on you should ask them for a business card/connect with them on LinkedIn (or relevant social media platform). I like to do it the day of the interview but you can do it the day after as well. Send the interviewer an email/connection request on social media thanking them for their time and reiterating your desire for the role.

I hope this has been informative, interesting and you liked reading it.

That’s all folks this week but I’ll be back again next week. Please subscribe to my Virtual Demon blog and I look forward to your comments and feedback.

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