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  1. Interview Mistakes; Part Two

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    Did you miss part one of this blog last week? You can read it here.

    Never have first impressions mattered more than when being interviewed for a job. It is essential to use this opportunity to showcase your best qualities and ensure that you are memorable for all the right reasons. Nerves do play their part in the interview process and everyone has areas that they could improve upon. However, it is often the most common errors that can mean the difference between getting the job and not getting the job!

    Our advice? Avoid these common interview mistakes:

    Criticising previous employers or colleagues

    Complaining about colleagues and drawing attention to the negative aspects of your previous or current job is a huge no-no! This can give employers the wrong impression about you and could make them question what you would say about them in similar circumstances.

    No matter the reason for you leaving your previous or current employment, always be diplomatic. Instead of highlighting the mistakes of others, emphasise the positive steps you took to overcome them. This shows how proactive you can be.

    Failing to ask questions

    As the interview comes to an end, the interviewer will ask if you have any questions you would like to ask them. Never say no! This is your opportunity to get answers to your queries about the role and the company. Asking a couple of relevant questions shows your interest in the role; ask about any current major projects your team is working on, progression opportunities or where the company sees itself in five years’ time.

    Avoid asking how much paid leave you are entitled to and how soon you can book holidays or if you can work from home. Also avoid asking a question if the answer has already been covered during the interview. Prepare at least four questions; that way you have always got a backup!

    How to succeed at interview

    Try to relax and show your natural personality; the employer will get a much better feel of how you will fit into their team if you do. Take comfort from the fact that if you are being interviewed, the organisation is already impressed with what you have to offer.

    Enthusiasm and a positive attitude go a long way and instantly make a more appealing candidate. Throughout the interview, reiterate your motivation for the role and the company. Employers like forward thinking people, who can commit so talk about the future of the company and your role within it.

    Lastly, observe the basics. It can be easy to underestimate the power of good manners, regular eye contact, a firm handshake or a smile. Be polite to everyone you meet, as you never know who might be on the selection panel!

  2. Interview Mistakes; Part One

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    Never have first impressions mattered more than when being interviewed for a job. It is essential to use this opportunity to showcase your best qualities and ensure that you are memorable for all the right reasons. Nerves do play their part in the interview process and everyone has areas that they could improve upon. However, it is often the most common errors that can mean the difference between getting the job and not getting the job!

    Our advice? Avoid these common interview mistakes:

    Arriving unprepared

    Preparation before an interview is crucial to arriving confident and ready to answer the interviewer’s questions. Read up on the company’s background, its place in the market and its competitors, and familiarise yourself with its key team members. Make sure that you fully understand the job role, as failing to do so will make you look uninterested.

    Prepping for an interview can take many forms and research into the organisation is just one of them. Being prepared also means figuring out how you are going to get to your interview, planning your route and factoring in any delays you may encounter. Sometimes delays are unavoidable and if the circumstances are out of your control, they should understand. Take the details of your interview contact with you, so you can let them know if you are going to be delayed.

    Wearing the wrong clothes

    Being well presented is a must, so choose your outfit carefully. Knowing the type of company, you have applied to should give you an idea of the expected dress code. However, if in doubt always go too formal than not formal enough. You need to make sure that you look the part and feel confident.

    The balance of talking too much or not enough

    Learning to get the right balance between talking too much and talking too little can be a challenge. Taking part in practice interviews with family or friends can really help to ensure that you give the right amount of information. It’s important to sell your skills and experience without ‘waffling’.

    When the interviewer asks a question, pause for a couple of seconds, take a breath and gather your thoughts before responding. If you’re talking too much or too fast, you also run the risk of talking over or interrupting the interviewer.

    Employers understand that nerves play a part in the process, so if your mind goes completely blank politely ask for a couple of seconds to gather your thoughts or ask if it’s convenient to come back to the question at the end, once you’ve had some time to think.

     

    Make sure you read Part Two next week!

  3. Telephone Interview Questions; Part Two

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    Did you miss part one of this blog last week? You can read it here.

    A telephone interview is a pre-scheduled job interview. Popular with recruitment agencies and employers alike; they save time and help to keep interview costs down. However, telephone interviews do have their challenges. In most cases, you will be answering questions under a strict time limit and this can increase nerves. Not being able to see the interviewer also presents its own difficulties, as you’re unable to make a connection.

    Tips for telephone interviews

    Pick a suitable location – Avoid noisy, public spaces and instead choose a private, quiet location such as your home. If you live with family or friends, warn them in advance of the call that you need some peace. Unless your mobile is charged and receiving full reception, use a landline. Turn electronic devises to silent to avoid distraction.

    Dress to impress – You shouldn’t treat telephone interviews any differently than face-to-face interviews. Dressing for the part helps to put you in a professional frame of mind and boosts confidence.

    Smile – Smile to ensure that the interviewer hears the enthusiasm in your voice from the start. To covey energy and confidence, think about taking the call standing up.

    Refer to your notes – Being able to have application documents and your notes to hand is one of the main advantages of a telephone interview, but don’t rely on them too much. Use concise bullet points as prompts, rather than pages of possible answers.

    Have a glass of water ready – Interview nerves and lots of talking can lead to a dry mouth, so have a glass of water – the same as in a face-to-face interview.

    Ask for clarification – If you miss a particular question, do not try to second guess what it might have been. Apologise and politely ask the interview if they can repeat it.

    Take notes – If you’re able to multitask, write down any useful information provided by the employer and the questions you’re asked during the interview. These notes could be a valuable resource if you’re invited for a second interview.

    Following up an interview

    Just like in face-to-face interviews, employers expect you to have questions of your own. These could be about the role or the company. Stay away from questions about salary, holiday entitlement or start dates. It’s also perfectly acceptable, if the interviewer hasn’t mentioned it previously, to enquire about the next stage of the process and when you should expect to hear from them.

    If you don’t hear back within a week, give them a call or send a short email to follow up. Reiterate your interest in the role and thank them again for their time. If you’ve been unsuccessful on this occasion, use this as a chance to ask for feedback on your performance so you can use the lessons learned in future applications.

  4. Telephone Interview Questions; Part One

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    A telephone interview is a pre-scheduled job interview. Popular with recruitment agencies and employers alike; they save time and help to keep interview costs down. However, telephone interviews do have their challenges. In most cases, you will be answering questions under a strict time limit and this can increase nerves. Not being able to see the interviewer also presents its own difficulties, as you’re unable to make a connection.

    How to prepare

    Just like in any other interview scenario, you need to research the industry, organisation and job role. Visit the company website, competitor sites and read relevant news articles. Do this in advance, so you are well prepared. You can also plan your responses to frequently asked questions by preparing a list of examples of when and how you’ve demonstrated each skill or quality listed in the person specification.

    A confident phone manner doesn’t come naturally to all and some candidates may feel uncomfortable talking over the phone. To increase your confidence when talking over the phone, ask family or friends to call you for a mock interview. Use your research and planned responses to answer their questions and treat this practise as the real thing.

    Telephone interview questions

    When answering the call, you need to be professional and positive. If you’ve pre-arranged an interview time, make sure you are ready when the phone rings. Answer with ‘Good morning/good afternoon, (your name) speaking and maintain this professional tone throughout the interview.

    When answering questions. be aware of the pace of your speech. Time is limited but don’t rush or mumble, despite your nerves. Your responses need to demonstrate your knowledge of, and enthusiasm for the role.

    One of the main challenges to telephone interviews is that without visual clues from the interviewer, it can be hard to gauge how you are doing. In a face-to-face interview, you’re able to take direction from the employer’s body language and visual responses, but this is not possible over the phone. When you’re being interviewed in person, you are also able to smile and show the interviewer that you’re engaged. Make sure you smile during your telephone interview; it really does come across!

    Make sure you read Part Two next week!

  5. Questions You Can Ask at a Job Interview

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    Having a list of questions to ask a job interview makes you look interested, enthusiastic and engaged; all the qualities that an employer will be looking for. Not having any questions to ask will give the possible impression of a lack of interest in the role.

    Our advice? Try to come up with at least four questions. By being prepared, if one or two of them are answered during the interview, you have more questions in place. Save questions about salary, holiday allowance and working hours for when you have been offered the job! Also, while it is okay to ask your interviewer to clarify certain points, avoid asking about anything that has previously been covered; you do not want them to think that you haven’t been paying attention.

    Here are some good questions you can ask at your next job interview:

    Can you tell me more about the day-to-day responsibilities of the role?

    Asking this question enables you to learn as much about the role as possible. The interviewer’s response will provide insight into what specific skills and experience are needed and it will also help you decide if the role is right for you. The answer should give you an idea of what the employer’s expectations are, so if you’re offered the job, you will be fully prepared.

    How could I impress you in the first few months?

    This is a good question to ask at the end of a job interview, as it shows potential employers that you are keen to make a positive contribution to the organisation. Pay close attention to the recruiter’s response, as it will tell you how they want you to perform and will highlight particular areas of the job you should be focusing on during the first few weeks of employment.

    Are there opportunities to progress within the company?

    Asking about development opportunities demonstrates to the interviewer that you are serious about your career and committed to a future with the organisation. Asking this question will help you to assess whether a long-term career with the company is a possibility.

    Where do you see the company in the next five years?

    The response you receive will give you an insight into the company’s progression plans and its place in the market, while giving you a general idea about job security. Asking about the future of the company shows a real interest in the organisation and reiterates your commitment to the job role.

    Can you describe the working culture of the organisation?

    Asking this question is a great way to assess the working environment of the company and it gives you the opportunity to discover whether you will fit in. Understanding the organisations priorities is essential; whether it be employee happiness, of any benefits on offer and what the work-life balance is like.

    What do you enjoy about your job?

    This question will allow you to see the passion of your interviewer. It requires a personal response and you could learn a lot from their answer. You will get an insider’s view of the company culture and working environment, discover how your interviewer got their start in the business and how they progressed.

    Does the organisation offer regular performance appraisals?

    This is a great question! It not only shows your interviewer that you are keen to develop, but also that you take your development seriously and would like to have regular opportunities to discuss your future within the organisation.

  6. Job Interviews and Your Body Language: Part Two

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    Last week, we highlighted the importance of your body language during a job interview. Here is part two, which highlights what NOT to do during your all-important interview:

    • Be overconfident: Being overconfident during an interview is a definite no no. Walking into an interview thinking that you have already got the job can be hugely detrimental. Coming across as confident during your interview, rather than arrogant is vital.
    • Offer a weak handshake: A weak handshake not only indicates a lack of confidence, but it can also be very awkward! Try and mirror your interviewer’s handshake and apply the same amount of pressure.
    • Slouch: Bad posture can make you look bored and uninterested. The same goes for crossing your arms and legs; this can often be seen negatively. Effectively, you are closing yourself off from the situation.
    • Stare: It is always important to maintain eye contact, but there is a comfortable limit. There’s a fine line between being attentive and being intense.
    • Play with your hair: It seems so obvious, but as with most body language, you often don’t know you’re doing it. Be aware of any bad habits you have before your interview and keep them in the back of your mind. If you’re not aware of any, try asking a few people before your interview and see what they say.
    • Fidget: Try to avoid moving around too much. Nervously moving your feet or constantly changing position will only make you look awkward and uncomfortable. Whilst it’s important not to look too wooden, fidgeting can be just as bad.

     

    Are you looking for a new job? Contact us at hello@trapezerecruitment.co.uk and like our Facebook page to receive regular new job alerts.

    Are you an organisation looking for a new recruitment company? Contact us at hello@trapezerecruitment.co.uk.

  7. Job Interviews and Your Body Language: Part One

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    Body language is so important when thinking about your job interview preparation. Statistics reveal that the average time it takes for someone to form an opinion of you is between five and thirty seconds. When you only have a short amount of time to sell yourself in your interview, this could be the deciding factor in whether you get your dream job or not!

    Here is part one in this series, which highlights our top tips on how to hold yourself during your interview:

    • Walk in confidently: It’s important that you look as professional as possible from the moment you walk in the door. As soon as you walk into the building, you will begin to be marked on your behaviour and general attitude.
    • Deliver a firm handshake: A good, firm handshake will show not only that you are confident, but it is also a universal sign of strength.
    • Sit up straight: Avoid being too stiff, but try to sit up straight. Keep your legs straight and as still as possible. It’s perfectly acceptable to lean forward slightly every so often, as it shows the interviewer that you are listening and keen.
    • Keep eye contact: Maintaining eye contact shows the interviewer you are not intimidated and that you are taking everything in. If you feel uncomfortable, look away for a few seconds or try looking at their nose! Ten seconds of good eye contact at a time is a good guideline.
    • Smile: A smile goes a long way! It makes you look more relaxed, comfortable and personable. To put it simply, it will make you more likeable!
    • Watch your hands: Most people have trouble with this one. It’s fine to be animated with your hands to make a point, but don’t go overboard. Keep your arms uncrossed and your hands away from your face. If in doubt, simply place them on your thighs.
    • Take notes: Taking notes not only shows you are keen to get the job, but if you are of a nervous disposition, then taking notes will help with this.

     

    Are you looking for a new job? Contact us at hello@trapezerecruitment.co.uk and like our Facebook page to receive regular new job alerts.

    Are you an organisation looking for a new recruitment company? Contact us at hello@trapezerecruitment.co.uk.

  8. 8 Top Job Interview Preparation Tips

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    Going for an interview can be both exciting and nerve racking. Hopefully, if everything goes well, you will get your dream job and continue your career path! Before you attend your interview, it is essential to prepare. This shows commitment and interest for the position, which will work well in your favour.

    Here are our 8 top job interview preparation tips to help you for that all-important day:

    Interview questions: Before you go to your interview, it is always a great idea to think about the questions they may ask and mentally prepare yourself.  For example, questions like ‘Why do you want to work here?’ At the same time, think about your own questions you want to ask about the company and the job itself.

    Dress for the occasion: Most interviewers expect you to be smart and dressed appropriately for the interview. Doing otherwise may give a bad impression.

    Be open minded: You may be asked some surprising questions, so go with an open mind. Try not to be surprised or agitated by them. Here, you need to show you can think on your feet. At the same time, be armed with good examples of how you have done your work in past roles, to use when answering.

    Research the company: Before the interview, look at their website, including the news section (if there is one). Look at the services they provide and who the key people are. This shows you are interested. It is always a good idea to find out who is on the interview panel as well.

    Manage your nerves: It can be difficult, but try and practice techniques to manage your nerves. This can include taking a deep breath and pause before answering to collect your thoughts. Try not to rush or stumble over your words and keep the language simple.

    Be honest: Try and be honest in your responses and refrain from exaggerating. Clearly you need to sell yourself, but make sure you are clear on your skills and qualifications.

    Research the industry: In addition to researching the company, look at industry news websites to see what the big issues and trends are. Use this knowledge if possible when answering questions; you will get extra brownie points here!

    Be positive: Make sure you go in with a positive outlook. This includes your body language. The fact you have been given an interview means they think you could do the job.

     

    Did you find this information useful? Download or print out our PDF – it may come in handy! 8 Top Interview Preparation Tips PDF

    Are you looking for a new job? Contact us at hello@trapezerecruitment.co.uk and like our Facebook page to receive regular new job alerts.

    Are you an organisation looking for a new recruitment company? Contact us at hello@trapezerecruitment.co.uk.

  9. Job Interview Tips

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    Let’s be honest; job interviews can be really nerve racking. You’ve spent time researching the company, the job role and preparing yourself for every question possible. All you have to do now is get the job; easier said than done we know!

    We are here to help, so here are our top job interview tips:

    • Try to gain as much information as possible about what to expect at interview. This will ensure you are prepared. There is nothing worse than being interviewed by a number of people when you were only expecting one.
    • Research the company. They would be very disappointed, if you have not, given how easy it is to obtain information with today’s technology.
    • Research the interviewer – Linked In is a good starting point.
    • Be confident. Your CV, skills and experience have got you through the door, so remember this!
    • Be punctual but not too early. If you are really early, do not go in until about 15 minutes before the interview time.
    • Plan your route or even do the journey prior to the actual interview.
    • Give a firm hand shake.
    • Be smart and comfortable. Your opinion of smart maybe different from someone else’s, so gain advice on what you plan to wear.
    • Ensure your clothing is appropriate for the time of year and temperature. If you have a long journey and the weather is really warm, take a change of top/shirt. If you feel uncomfortable at the interview, this will have a negative impact on your confidence.
    • Ensure your aftershave/perfume is not overpowering. You do not want this to be the only thing they remember about you!
    • If you obtained the interview via a recruitment agency, get as much information from them as you can. It is in a consultant’s best interest to provide you with as much information as possible, even down to the personality of the interviewer. They should know a lot about the company they are recruiting for.
    • Be polite to everyone you meet; the receptionist may have a say in the recruitment decision.
    • Make natural eye contact.
    • Ensure you have allowed plenty of time for the interview and do not have other appointments that maybe on your mind during interview. Also, make sure where applicable you have put enough money in the parking meter. May sound silly, but this will play on your mind during interview.
    • Have questions prepared. These can be very generic, but it highlights you are interested in the company and position.
    • Take your time and listen to the questions being asked.
    • Ensure your posture and body language represents your interest and openness. Leaning back on a chair with folded arms will give the wrong impression.
    • Do not be over confident, but an interview is a two-way thing. The company, position and their values have got to be right for you, so find out about this. A good question to ask could be what is the departments/companies current length of service. If the interviewer does not know, they should and if it is very low, you could form an opinion of this.
    • If the interviewer does not give closure to the interview, make sure you say, “It has been great meeting with you. When should I expect feedback?”
    • If you feel it is appropriate, given the flow of the interview after the interview, send the interviewer an email or LinkedIn message, thanking them again for their time and providing your positive feedback if applicable!

     

    Did you find this information useful? Download or print out our PDF here – Job Interview Tips PDF

    Are you looking for a new job? Contact us at hello@trapezerecruitment.co.uk and like our Facebook page to receive regular new job alerts.

    Are you an organisation looking for a new recruitment company? Contact us at hello@trapezerecruitment.co.uk.