Archives For Career advice

Interview in calendarWe have looked at Preparation for your Job Interview and now it’s time. Your interview is today! Here’s what you need to do for a successful outcome:

Don’t be late
It sounds obvious but so many candidates arrive late because they underestimate traffic etc. Whatever the excuse is, lateness creates the wrong first impression and you will probably be flustered throughout the interview worrying rather than focusing on your responses to the questions asked.

Body language
The first few minutes of your interview are critical when there is non-verbal communication. Compose yourself, take in the environment, gauge the mood, listen and observe. Read the situation and mirror the interviewer. If he/she is very formal, then you should be too. And if they are quite casual, take a similar approach but don’t come across as over-familiar – particularly at the start of the interview.

Get their attention
Does it feel like you’re the tenth candidate they’ve met today?! If so, you need to uplift the interview and instil new energy. Good eye contact and a warm smile will give you a good start. Sit appropriately – generally upright but lean forward occasionally to engage and show interest. Don’t slump in your chair as this will disengage and make you seem aloof and/or arrogant.

Let the interviewer lead the conversation
There’s likely to be small talk at the beginning which will help break the ice for you and the employer. Go with it and engage but don’t get carried away! Know when to stop so they can move on to the actual interview questions.

Answer the questions
When candidates are nervous it’s easy to go off on a tangent and ramble. Engage with the interviewer and take in the body language. Are they listening to you? Or are they just looking through you? If you are losing them, STOP! That will get their attention and you can then pull the interviewer back into the conversation and provide more snappy answers. Show passion, enthusiasm and humility. Frame your answers as if you would be working for them so that the employer can envisage what it would be like to have you on board. And if the interviewer asks a difficult question that you don’t know the answer to, it’s much better to say “I don’t know, that’s something I would like to find out” than trying to wing it with a poor answer. Honesty is always best.

Ask intelligent questions
Depending on the formality, it may be appropriate to ask questions during the interview, but generally your questions should come towards the end. Usually the interviewer will offer you this opportunity. Make sure your questions will contribute to your performance. Asking about company growth, future plans, scope of the job clearly demonstrates your interest level in joining the employer for the foreseeable future. Don’t ask unimaginative questions where you could have easily found out the answers. And in a first interview situation, don’t ask for micro details about the job – It’s not very relevant at this stage and it may suggest that you are concerned about whether the job is right for you – or whether you can actually do the job!

Get hooked!
Likeability is key to a positive outcome. Let your personality shine through so that the employer likes you and wants you. Too many candidates go into an interview with the attitude of “What’s in it for me?” (ie why should I work for you?) which creates a bad aura from the start and then they wonder why they weren’t invited for a second interview! Employers want to hire ‘can-do’ people with a positive attitude. In regards to salary, you should know roughly what the package is before going into an interview so that it meets your expectation but don’t ask about this or holidays or hours of work in your interview. Of course this information is important to you but it can be discussed at a much later stage in the process when you know they are keen to hire you.

Keep the door open
Always be courteous, however the interview has gone. You never know where this could lead you, even if this particular job is not for you.

Sincere thanks
First impressions count – and so do last impressions! Make sure you ‘close’ the interview positively. Thank the interviewer and let them know that you are very interested. And don’t be afraid to ask what the next steps might be. When you get home, send a short ‘thank you’ email. If you were the tenth candidate interviewed that day, you want to make sure you are remembered!

Click here for ‘Job Interview Preparation Tips’.

Article by Rupert Sellers

Profile photos - smallIt’s a long standing debate about whether or not a candidate’s photo should appear in a CV.

More often than not, published articles advise candidates not to include their photo as it could lead to discrimination – and some quote that there is an “88% job rejection rate if candidates have a photo of themselves on their CV”. Really?? It’s worth noting that this ‘statistic’ was compiled by a company called ‘Be Hiring’ over two years ago (Try finding them on the internet; I don’t think they exist anymore).

It’s time to be more realistic in today’s visual, multimedia age about how a CV / resume should be presented. And employers should stop overly worrying about discrimination implications due to a photo.

Think about LinkedIn and how powerful this social network has become as a recruiting source. LinkedIn’s Nicole Williams makes the case that “You’re seven times more likely to have your profile viewed if you have (a photo). Like a house that’s on sale, the assumption is that if there’s no photo, something’s wrong.”

In Susan Joyce’s piece in the Huffington Post, she feels if you can be visually judged when you meet someone in person then why is a photo any different: “If someone doesn’t want to hire me because of my age (shown by my gray hair), they won’t hire me whether they see my gray hair in my LinkedIn photo or in person. So, I feel that I’m saving my valuable time and energy by making it clear who I am.”

We have all become far more visual in our communications, so why should a CV be any different? The photo personalises the CV and helps the individual to be more identifiable rather than just another applicant.

Video interviewing takes visual a step further (before any face-to-face interviews), giving candidates the opportunity to showcase themselves by answering questions on video that have been pre-set by the employer. Compact Interview provides this straightforward service as part of a growing number of employers’ recruitment process, and the visual and audio insight is proving invaluable.

It’s true that age, sex, race and possibly religion can be determined from a photo or a video, and of course when a candidate meets an employer in person. But instead of worrying about discrimination employers and recruiters should focus on best practice recruitment: Treat applications professionally and don’t be influenced by a candidate’s appearance other than grooming standards and dress sense (which are important factors for customer service industries such as hospitality).

Photos and video undoubtedly enrich a text CV, so let’s stop putting off candidates from including their photo and embrace the visual, multimedia age we all live in.