We spoke to Marilyn D’Sa, Managing Director and Owner of OTC Financial recruiters for some top tips on interviews. Marilyn is a specialist in financial I.T. recruitment for the City of London with over twenty years experience.
Be on time
Know exactly where the interview will take place and the name and position of the person you are due to meet. Work out your route in advance and allow a generous margin of error in case of unforeseen circumstances. Have the telephone number of the company handy so that you can let them know if you are running late.
Research the company
Use the Internet as a starting point for your research. Using a reliable search engine, conduct a keyword search on the company name. Learn about the products and/or services offered by the organisation.
Gain an understanding of the employer’s history, philosophies, objectives and policies relating to its history, its current situation and its future. Determine problem or need areas that you would be able to fill with your own unique interests and abilities.
Interviewers ask the same general questions in addition to those of a more technical nature. Learn them, prepare your answers, and practice them on friends. Common questions are “Why are you interested in this position?” “Tell me about your current boss”. “What are the most satisfying/frustrating things about your current employment?” “What are your strengths/where do you think your weaknesses lie?” “Why do you think we should give you this job? “Where do you see yourself in 5/10 years time?”
Organise information about yourself in the areas of educational, work and personal experiences in order to be able to relate to the position you are seeking. Aim to sound natural and conversational, not as though you’re reading from a script. Sell yourself.
Check your CV for possible gaps!
Make sure you know how you are going to explain time gaps on your CV.
Think about what your going to wear on the day. Be presentable, neat and tidy. Wear a suit.
Offer a firm handshake. Your handshake says much about your personality. Give a firm, “full” handshake and use eye contact. Your handshake should be the same for both male and female interviewers. Shake hands before and after the interview.
Think about your eye contact. Don’t stare at the interviewer, but eyes should not wander around the room or be fixed on the floor. Good eye contact can communicate confidence and enthusiasm.
Be attentive. Signals that show attention include nodding, smiling, eye contact, and “minimal affirmations” such as “yes,” “mmhmm,” and “I understand.”
Be Yourself! Present yourself in a confident manner. Be enthusiastic!
Questions to Ask
The best questions to ask are those that are unique and memorable. Many questions can be answered by reviewing company literature; if you do your homework, it shows interest in the company
Who would your ideal candidate for this position?
Have a positive attitude
Above all, don’t wait until after the event to decide that you wished you’d tried harder to get the position. Always go in with the intention of getting an offer, only then do you really have the chance to weigh up how this opportunity compares with others. Many people, with the benefit of hindsight, have regretted they didn’t take a particular interview sufficiently seriously don’t let yourself be in this “if only” category!
Closing the Interview
There are only three important things you need to remember about closing an interview (besides the obvious thank you and firm handshake): If you have questions about the company that would affect whether you would want to spend further time interviewing, ask them now. If the interviewer has failed to elicit some important information about you, make that information known before you close and reiterate your interest in the position. Find out what the next step will be and when it is likely to occur.