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Dos and don’ts for interviews

Dos and don’ts for interviews

Don’t ...

...forget it’s a two-way process

While the interviewer is looking to find more about you, the interview is your chance to find out if you would like to work there. We know you may have been searching for a job for a while and that merely having a renewed source of income might be the most crucial thing, but use the interview as an opportunity to ask questions (see below for inspiration). Look around at the premises on the way in and out. Are they well cared for? Do the staff look/sound happy? Are people getting on with their jobs? Do they appear stressed?

...let your body lose you the day

Interviews can be stressful for anyone. Sometimes that translates into a response from your body that you don’t even realise is happening. Get a friend to tell you what you do when you are under pressure, for example head scratching, tapping foot or playing with your pen. Be aware of these things and act to minimise them as they will only distract from what you are saying and the real you. Put your pen out of the way. Sit firmly back in your chair and place both feet flat on the floor in front of you. Avoid crossing your legs. Rest your hands lightly in your lap or on the arms of your chair, if you have them. When you shake hands, make it firm rather than limp or bone-crushingly hard.

...try to be something you're not

You might be surprised to learn that employers often like people who hold opposing views and who don't just say yes to them. You don't have to agree with everything or have knowledge and experience in every area to get a job. Sometimes your personality is enough to outweigh any lack of skills or experience. Always be polite. Always be truthful. Your lies will show and your truth will be honouring to God.

...dwell on bad experiences

It’s tempting when an interviewer asks about a previous job to justify why you left. You may do this by listing all the reasons for your departure, starting with your inconsiderate boss and finishing with the appalling toilet facilities. Don’t! Look for the positives. You will appear a better and more positive person to have around, and someone who is less likely to cause problems for the employer. If they question your reason for leaving, be succinct and balanced.

...rely on the interviewer to get it right

Most people performing interviews are not professional interviewers. They do their best but can miss vital details. At the end of any interview, or if asked if you have any questions, ask if there are any areas where they feel you are lacking the right skills or requirements so you can fill in any gaps; just in case it hasn't been covered in your CV or in the discussion. Ask them after each time you answer: 'Is there anything else?' Cut them some slack and be aware that they may be as nervous as you are, which is why they may seem a little severe at first.

Do... prepared

We don't mean just rereading the job description and/or job advert, as important as that is. In preparation of the interview, think about situations and experiences you have that show that you can fulfil what they want you to do. Think how you would phrase those answers (tip: writing it down sometimes helps). Make notes and take them with you if it helps. Find out about the company. Who are you meeting? What is their position and responsibilities? Look at their website. Make some notes (you can take these into the room - it’s not an exam). Visit the shop or office beforehand. Is there any information that tells you what the company believes and how it acts? How are people dressed? Let that help guide you as to how you should dress (a little smarter than they do). A suit isn't always necessary or even desirable, but you need to look like you've made an effort and could fit in.

It's your greatest asset. Smiling makes the interviewer feel at ease. They will remember the feeling more than your smile. Not smiling will make you seem scary as well as scared. Practise if you need to. It’s a beautiful thing!

...ask great questions

Have some prepared for the moment when they ask you. If they don’t, try to find an opportunity. Ask questions about them as you go, for example why did you come to this company, what do you like best about it? Ask about the goals or ambitions of the section/department/overall company. What are the key challenges they face in the next six months? This will help you stand out from the crowd. Again, write them down in a notebook and take it with you. This will show how prepared you are.

...follow up

At the end of the meeting, stand and shake hands (firmly). Thank them for their time and say how much you've enjoyed the interview (if you have) and at least that you've enjoyed meeting them. If you really didn't and never want to work for the company, a polite thank you for their time will suffice. And if there’s a gap between the interview and a decision, drop them a note or email reiterating your thanks, restating why you would like the job and would work well there, and finally briefly filling in any gaps you felt were not covered.

...believe you have something valuable to offer: yourself!

We believe every human being is unique, made in the image of God. That makes you pretty special in addition to any talents, abilities or gifting you may possess. Your own character and personality may be the thing that distinguishes you from others. It may even be the deciding factor. Your presence in their premises may be the best thing that ever happens to that employer.