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Interview Techniques

You are at the interview stage because the employers of the position you’re applying for saw something they liked within your covering letter and CV, so a good first impression has already been made. But you need to back this up with a solid interview, so below is some advice on how to prepare for your interview.

Preparation

Make sure that you are prepared for the interview. Remember this is a two way meeting, not only a chance for the interviewer to gauge whether you’re suitable for the position – BUT also an opportunity for you to find out about the organisation and whether this is a company where you can picture yourself working day in day out with the job satisfaction you’re seeking.

This goes back to having proof read your CV, make sure that you are confident talking about your skills, qualifications, previous employment and experience. You don’t want to be unsure of anything you have included in your CV.

Prepare some questions to ask during the interview. It may be wise to use these questions as a fact finding mission about the specific job and organisation. At the stage of first interview try not to start the discussion of salary, unless the interviewer opens this discussion – this conversation is best kept for a second interview or when a job offer is made.

Homework

It is very important to make sure that you have done your homework on the company, aim to find out as much as possible. The interviewer will often ask “what do you know about us” and a blank face and “I don’t know” isn’t a good response.

A good start will be the company website, you should be able to find out how many branches the practice has, the current number of employees, services and products they offer. Failing that word of mouth is always good to finding out information that may not be on the website.

Dress Code & Appearance

No matter what position you are going for, always make sure your attire is smart business dress and that you are well groomed. You can always dress down if you arrive and are overdressed, but it is impossible to dress up from arriving casually dressed and you will feel far more comfortable being too smart than too casual.

Travel Times

Allow yourself plenty of time to ensure that you arrive a few minutes early. Check how long your overall journey will take and also check if there are any road works to try and avoid. Make sure that you have your contact’s telephone number in case of an unavoidable delay; you can call if you suspect you may be late.

The Interview

Make sure the employer knows the benefits of employing you. It is important to sell yourself by telling the employer details of your relevant skills and experience that you have to contribute to the organisation.

Find out what the key parts of the candidate specification are so you can show how you meet them. Ask how the job contributes to the success, efficiency and profitability of the organisation. Show that you have done some research.

Questions to Ask

Asking questions is important as it shows to the interviewer that you are interested to find out more and also shows that you have done some research on the company, especially if you ask some rhetorical questions.
Example questions to ask:

  1. Is there any room for career progression? This highlights your long term interest to stay within the organisation and progress your career. Be careful though as this could give the impression that you may be the type of candidate who will not stay within the role in which you’re applying for long. Gauge how the interview is going and whether it’s an appropriate time for this question.
  2. What is the team structure I’ll be working with and who will I be reporting to? As mentioned previously, this is as much of a chance for you to interview the company as for them to have a look at you. So you need to know what environment you’d be working within on a daily basis. You may decide that joining a small team doesn’t offer the support you require at this stage of your career.
  3. Mention something you’ve read about the company and ask a question about it. For example, “I read on your website that you have plans to open two new practices this year, what are your expansion plans?” This proves that you have done your homework on the practice and shows your seriousness for the role. It will also give you chance to relax whilst you listen to the interviewer. It is incredibly important to ask at least one question during the interview or else the interviewer will feel that they are getting nothing back from you and may feel that you are uninterested.

Closing the Interview

Agree exactly what the next steps will be, such as who will contact you to let you know if you have been successful and by what date. You should also find out if they are running second interviews and when they are likely to be. If you are interested in the position, make sure that you let the interviewer know.

Job Offer

If you are offered the position and that package is not quite as you were expecting or hoping for, then don’t be embarrassed to say. If you accept the offer whilst not being 100% happy with it, then these concerns will only deepen as time goes on. Let them know that you are very interested but is there any flexibility on the offer; they may have budgeted for negotiation on the package.