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The dos and don’ts of job interviews

The dos and don’ts of job interviews

‘How many young, single women work here?’

Incredibly, this question wasn’t heard over a pint at down the pub but during a job interview! It’s easy to have a bad job interview day: the traffic was bad and you’ve turned up late, your handshake is sweatier than a marathon runner on a hot day, and to beat it all you can’t string a single sentence together.

However, if you prepare properly you stand a good chance of selling yourself effectively during a job interview. If you don’t, no-one else will do it for you!

The experts reckon it takes just 60 seconds, on average, to make a first impression and selectors often make up their minds about a candidate’s personality within the first four minutes of an interview. So if you want to avoid some of the following genuine job interview statements and come up trumps at your next job interview, it’s essential that you watch what you say.

What NOT to say!

Q. ‘Do you have any questions?’  

A. ‘What is your company’s policy on Monday absences?’

Q. ‘Why are you leaving your current job?’  

A. ‘Because I (expletive) my pants every time I enter the building.’

Q. ‘What are your weaknesses?’ 

A. ‘I get angry easily and I went to jail for GBH, but I won't get mad at you.’ 

The three essential elements

Basically, any interviewer wants to establish three key things. Have you got the skills, expertise and experience to perform the job?

You need to demonstrate you have the awareness of what is needed in the role. Make sure know how you fit the essential list of skills laid out in the job description. Once you’ve prepared you will be able to give some killer answers to these sorts of questions:

  • What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
  • What can you do for us that other candidates can’t?
  • Why do you think you’re right for this job?        
  • What do you think the main challenges will be?
  • Are you enthusiastic about and interested in the job and the company?

Do your homework

You need to demonstrate that you have thoroughly researched the company, understand its strategy, current performance, structure, market position and products, and that you can’t wait to join them. Make sure you’re able to answer some of the following:

  • What do you know about our company?
  • What do you think our company is aiming to achieve?
  • What do you know about our products and services?
  • Why do you want to work for this company?
  • Why do you think this job is right for you?
  • What motivates you?
  • Will you fit into the team, culture and company?

By mapping the company culture to your own traits, you can use it to answer questions such as:

  • How would you describe your work style?
  • How would you describe yourself?
  • How would your colleagues describe you?
  • What makes you a good fit for our company?
  • What makes you a good team member?

All the best with your preparation and whatever you do, avoid saying: ‘The only work I've done over the last two years is interviews. I'm very good at them!’