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Interview Tips

Person holding big TickBe enthusiastic and interested. The way you act, your posture, gestures and facial expressions, will reveal a lot about you.

Make good eye contact (but remember, it’s not a staring contest) and don’t be afraid to smile when it’s appropriate.

You will almost always be interviewed by more than one person, always look at and address the person who posed the question, then glance at the others when you have finished your answer.

Adopt a good posture. Don’t cross your arms, fidget, tap your feet or sprawl.

Sounding positive
You must be ready to expand on, not simply repeat, the information presented on your CV/application and anticipate the route the interviewer might take. Rarely does someone fit a job perfectly so emphasise your most relevant skills and slant answers to reassure the interviewer that any shortfall is not a problem.

  • Don’t use tentative language. Phrases such as ‘I feel I could’, ‘I think I can’. ‘Perhaps I would’ – dilute the strength of your case.
  • Don’t confine your answers to just ‘yes’ and ‘no’ which make the interview more like an interrogation.
  • Be enthusiastic but don’t constantly interrupt.
  • Practice makes perfect. Before the interview, test your fluency by talking out loud or presenting to partners and friends.
  • Don’t be evasive. Make a virtue of any career gaps.

Handling tough questions with confidence

Employers will ask questions deliberately designed to see how you behave and react in certain situations. Giving a positive, fluent answer isn’t as difficult as it might seem. With a little advance planning, it’s perfectly possible to anticipate common general enquiries and prepare a coherent, effective response. In fact, you can turn these questions into an opportunity to take the initiative and ‘sell’ the exact message you want.

Never answer a question you don’t understand with a knee-jerk response. Always seek clarification before answering and if you don’t know an answer, it’s much better to admit this than guess.

Be prepared for the following questions

  • How would you describe yourself?
  • How would your recent/current manager describe you?
  • What is your career path for the future?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
  • What motivates you to be successful?
  • How do you react when you are left to work without supervision?
  • Give me an example of when you feel you have coped extremely well under pressure at work?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?

This final question is particularly tricky. Obviously, you can’t claim to have no weaknesses, but you don’t want to stress anything too negative. The best solution is to admit to one weakness and then turn it around and show how you have constructively overcome it.

The interview is a two-way process
At the end of the interview the employer will usually ask if you have any questions about the job or company, so always prepare a few in advance. This is a good chance to clarify any points of doubt – after all, you need to make sure that the job is exactly what you expected and what you want.

Suggested questions to ask when appropriate

  • What are the opportunities for career progression?
  • What are the training opportunities?
  • What are my precise responsibilities?
  • Would it be possible to see where I would be working?
  • How much travel is involved?
  • What are the targets for the first 6 months?
  • How long will it take you to make a final recruitment decision?

Closing on a confident note
Leave the employer with a good final impression. Smile, thank them for their time, say you enjoyed discussing the job and that you look forward to hearing from them soon. Don’t add any afterthoughts as you leave the room.

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Your CV

Person holding big Tick

  • An enthusiastic, self-motivated individual who always strives to achieve a very high standard in whatever task is undertaken.  Offers: initiative, the ability to work well within a team environment, a reliable and flexible attitude with a clear understanding of the importance of customer service.
  • A conscientious, punctual and hardworking person, capable of working alone or with others in a team.  I am licensed to drive Lansing electrical trucks, pendulum cranes and pedestrian controlled flatbed trucks.  I am seeking a job where I can use my specialised driving skills.
  • My personal strengths include determination, generosity, consideration for others and the ability to use my initiative.   I am able to talk to a variety of people at all levels and can explain my ideas clearly.  I am honest and trustworthy, have a good sense of humour and try to see things from other people’s points of view.
  • A highly qualified and experienced P.A. with excellent computer skills and able to work on her own initiative.  A good team player with multi-level communication skills.
  • A highly committed and successful manager experienced in strategic problem solving, who has produced creative solutions and implemented them in both in house and partnership environments.  An effective communicator who enjoys working with people in teams.
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Filling in Application Forms

Person holding Big TickBefore you start:

  • Always read the instructions for any application carefully
  • Make sure you understand all the questions.  If not ask someone to help
  • Write the answers on rough paper before putting them on the form
  • Check your spelling and get someone to proof read for you

Filling in the form:

  • If hardcopy, check if you are asked to use a certain colour pen when filling in the form, black is often requested
  • Never use pencil
  • Keep the hardcopy form clean and tidy
  • Check spellings as you go
  • If you make a mistake either neatly cross it out or use a small amount of correcting fluid
  • Always keep your answers to the point
  • The space given is an indication of how much information they want
  • Answer ALL the questions.  If the question is not applicable to you, write N/A, don’t just leave it blank
  • Make sure you mention any and all experience that is relevant to the job

When you have finished:

  • Check through you answers carefully
  • Make sure the dates are correct
  • Make a photocopy of the hardcopy or print off the completed form for future reference and in case you are offered an interview
  • Use a large envelope to avoid folding the form

Send it off in plenty of time!