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P.S. I can’t resist mentioning what a great Carnival 2006 all of us at CRS had in Trinidad. I couldn’t find a photo that did justice to our collective beauty!
10 Tips for the Interviewee
There are many sources of tips available for the job seeker. They provide excellent information on how to find job opportunities, write resumes, present oneself at interviews, etc. A good example is http://www.rileyguide.com/. I don’t wish to repeat standard advice but rather focus on what makes the difference between being just OK at the interview and being outstanding. This assumes that the interviewee is actually qualified for the job.
1. Be prepared. Make sure that you know what the company’s business is all about, so you can ask intelligent questions and prove that you are really interested in working for them. You can check their website or even search the Internet for news information on them, if they are a large company.
2. Dress for success! This is so important and often underestimated by the interviewee. The style of dress will vary by company. For instance, be conservative for a bank or insurance company, but stylish for a media or advertising company. Never go in jeans, revealing clothes, slippers, or dirty/old clothes.
Make sure your hygiene is impeccable. Don’t smoke for the morning before the interview as the smell of tobacco will linger in your hair and clothes, and many people are turned off by this.
For conservative companies, wear your hair in a tidy style; women should wear closed-in shoes and perfume should be discreet; men should not wear ear-rings, and any visible body piercings are a no-no.
The interviewer will form a first impression from the moment they see you, and the rest of the interview will be simply to provide support for that first impression.
3. Be on time. Better to get there an hour early than be 5 minutes late. You may be required to fill in an application form so it’s best to be there at least 15 minutes before the interview. If you are unavoidably late, then please call the company with a good excuse and offer to reschedule the time if they can’t wait for you.
Remember that employers often line up several interviews one after the other. So you being late will impact on the whole day, and this will be noted.
4. Be polite. Smile and shake hands with everyone (if possible) while introducing yourself. Remember to stand when someone important comes into the room, even if it’s a man and you’re a woman – we’re all equal in business. It’s so easy and makes an essential good impression.
5. Don’t fidget – it’s annoying and makes you look nervous. Don’t cover your mouth while speaking. Speak clearly and pay attention to your diction and grammar. Never chew gum in an interview. Never slouch in your chair, no matter how relaxed the interview may be.
6. Don’t monopolise the conversation. It’s important that you present your achievements well, but you must also listen to what the interviewer wants to tell you about the job and company. You could come across as overbearing if you take control of the conversation.
7. On the other hand, make sure that you get to say your piece too, should the interviewer be very talkative. He/she may well consider you a great conversationalist if you let them do all the talking, but you want them to learn why you are the best candidate for the job. So, make sure you get a chance to sell yourself too.
8. Be prepared for tricky questions like “if I told you that you are not suitable for the job, what would you say?” Listen to the question carefully before you get angry or upset. The interviewer said “IF I told you …” You reply very calmly that you would be surprised and disappointed and then go on to say why you are perfect for the job. The interviewer was trying to see how you would react.
In all cases, be calm and always steer the answer back to why you should get the job. Have a good answer for that age-old one “what do you consider your faults to be?” Come up with some (genuine) faults that could also be considered attributes.
9. Keep your sense of humour. It’s only a job and others will come your way. So, don’t be too serious and anxious. Show that you are a happy, confident person and people will want to have you on their team.
10. Never, never bad talk your previous employers or anyone else. This will actually reflect worse on you than them. You can make it obvious that you were not happy with a company or a situation but don’t make personal, negative remarks about anybody.
Also check out “the Magic Wand”, a very effective interview technique I wrote about in a previous newsletter. Note that any jobs listed there are no longer available.
I remember one disastrous job interview I had years ago with a certain cola company. The interviewer told me how he encouraged his children to drink bottles of this stuff every day, especially when they were ill. The look of horror on my face must have killed it for me and we both couldn’t wait for me to get out of there.
Remember that an interview is an opportunity for both sides to establish that there is a fit. You are also sizing them up, and these days it’s very much an employee’s market. So know that you are worthy, and enjoy the experience.
Tell Us What You Think
Letters to the Editor:
(referring to our last newsletter – Loyalty – to Career or Employer First?)
Employers need to step out of the box and not only think of the business from their point of view. I have even had that statement “you need to be more loyal to the company” directed at me when I did an assessment of problems a company I worked at was having with an accounting system and I produced evidence to show the problems were more internal than external (the vendor).
But employers need to look at the employee’s perspective….what is it the employee wishes to gain from your company. Is it just a salary or does he/she want to develop themselves personally as well? What is all this training if there is no room in the company for the employee’s growth?
They also need to look at how they treat their employees. They cannot always expect the IT person to always give, give, and get nothing in return. IT people usually have to work long days/nights sometimes with very little remuneration.
If IT persons were not loyal, wouldn’t the very systems they work on never be working?
In some businesses the training of employees only leads to them getting more work/responsibilities with the same pay. Then employers are surprised when there is a high turnover. Employers need to do a proper assessment of why IT persons are really leaving their organisations.
A lot of companies hire IT persons with skills and assume that they would not need to further train them to upgrade their skills. Just as Shelly-Anne said, they incorrectly perceive that training these employees is an expenditure rather than an investment in their human capital.
So it is a two way street. If employers give, they will receive in return … Dwight
It would be interesting to hear an employer’s viewpoint on this loyalty issue … Susan
We would love to hear what you think of this issue of CRS News. And of course, if you have any suggestions for upcoming issues that you would like to share with us, please send those too.