The Interview - A Guideline for Candidates
Before arranging the interview, Reflex Computer Recruitment would have identified that you are a suitable candidate. It is therefore important that the key, relevant features of your experience are correctly projected in the interview. Interviews can vary enormously, from an informal chat through to a formal panel interview. You cannot prepare for every eventuality, so you should expect the unexpected. If you are going to impress and perform at your best, you will need to arrive confident and well prepared. Below, we have set out a list of general guidelines in order to help you achieve this. Naturally, these are designed to be entirely flexible and need to be adapted to each interview situation as it arises.
1. Find out in advance as much as possible about the company. View their website, search the internet for any information about the company and offices, and read the job description again thoroughly. Should you have any queries regarding the role you are being interviewed for, please do call us. Have questions prepared about the company and the job role itself, ready to ask in the interview.
2. You only get one chance to make a first impression, so dress appropriately e.g. business / office attire. Arriving well rested will not only make you look and feel better, but your mind will also be sharper. Do not arrive smelling of strong food or alcohol. You are on parade as soon as you arrive at the premises.
3. Refresh your memory on the information in your CV. If you think it appropriate, take with you any testimonials, certificates of courses attended and examples of your work (which are not confidential). It is also advisable to take a notebook and pen.
4. Plan your journey to the interview in advance. Allow for any delays, traffic and getting lost on route, and ensure you arrive 5 to 10 minutes beforehand (not earlier). If travelling by rail, you can check the train times and any delays to your journey by visiting http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/planmyjourney or by telephoning National Rail Enquiries on 08457 484950. If travelling by road, you can visit the RAC web site on www.rac.co.uk to view their route planner and gain the latest traffic and road information affecting your journey.
5. Ensure that your mobile phone is switched off prior to entering the company's premises.
1. Once you have arrived, make sure you know who to ask for and do not worry if you are kept waiting. Working in computing means that unforeseen problems can happen at the drop of a hat.
2. First impressions are important. Always give a firm handshake and remember, good eye contact also conveys a feeling of confidence. You should strike the right balance so as not to be / appear too eager to impress at every turn, however Interviewers will be seeking candidates who have a positive attitude to life and to work.
3. When seated, consider your posture. Sitting upright, but not too stiffly, will not only project self-confidence but will also help improve your voice.
4. Each question you are asked should be regarded as an opportunity e.g. explain what you know of the role or briefly highlight your skills and technical abilities required in the job. Interviewers, generally, are not seeking to be dazzled by technical brilliance or an effervescent personality. They are seeking confidence that you have the knowledge and skills needed to do the role.
5. LISTEN carefully to questions. Pause if need be before replying. Answer the question clearly and precisely, and then stop. Do not ramble on. If you are unsure of your reply, ask, "Have I satisfactorily answered the question?" If appropriate use your notebook to take down notes.
6. If you get stuck answering technical questions because you are rusty, explain this and give an estimate of how long it would take to brush up. If asked a subject you have not covered, again explain but offer other experience which is closely related.
7. Interviewers ask open questions. These are intended to draw you out of yourself - your opinions, and so on. They are questions to which you cannot answer "YES" or "NO". Make your answers clear, concise and avoid broad statements. If the interview has not started well do not panic, it can be remedied if you provide structured answers. You should also prepare answers to the more usual questions, but never respond in parrot-fashion. Some possible questions to prepare:
- Tell me why you are looking for a new position?
- Tell me about yourself? (NB. Talk about your profile/skills/achievements - not full life history).
- Tell me about your strengths? - Have 2/3 ready and give examples of achievements (technical and personal).
- What are your weaknesses? - Always admit to 1/2, but always turn them into a possible benefit.
- What If I called your last boss, what would he say about you?
- What did you like doing best in your last job?
- What frustrated you in your last or current job?
- Where do you see yourself in 3-5 years' time?
- Do you need to relocate for this position and how does your family feel about this?
- What do you think of your last company?
- Why should we offer you this position or why do you want to work for us?
- Why did you choose this career path?
- How do you react to criticism?
8. Make sure you ask questions of the interviewer, i.e. regarding the company and the position on offer. Lack of questions from you can be misinterpreted as lack of interest. Some possible questions to prepare:
- How do you see IT providing more value to your company in the future?
- How would you describe the culture of your company?
- What changes do you foresee in your company over the next 2 years?
- What challenges are your company looking to solve with use of new technology?
- Where do you see my role in 2 years' time?
- What are my future long-term prospects?
- What new IT projects or systems are envisaged for the future?
9. Always use the final question from the interviewer (i.e. is there anything else you wish to mention?) to show your experience will be useful to them. Show your interest in the job, but avoid asking questions about salary & benefits on your 1st interview. Instead ask about the next stage and timescales to which the interviewer is working.
Remain 'on parade' until out of the building. When off site when convenient, call your consultant at Reflex as soon as possible and let us know how you got on.
Why Interviews Go Wrong
Over the year, we have analysed the results of interviews and have listed below the most common reasons as to why interviews go wrong. They are listed in no particular order:
- Interviewed for role "A", but expressed desire for role "B"
- Lack of specific IT technical or application skills
- Lack of questions and interest about the job
- Too much emphasis on money / salary
- Critical of past employer
- Lack of eye contact
- Arriving late without calling ahead
- Talked too much during interview
- Showing lack of energy or drive
- Trouble in communicating
- Poor personal appearance
- Being unprepared
- Lack of confidence
- Fidgeting during the interview
- Not listening well to questions asked
- Being too familiar