Direction Recruitment's Interview Tips

Interview Tips

Research the company and the position! 

Information - including company history, locations, divisions, and a mission statement are available in an "About Us" section on most company web sites. Review it ahead of time, then print it out and read it over just before your interview to refresh your memory.

Arrive in plenty of time

Walking in for an interview even five minutes after it was scheduled to begin sends a negative impression and you haven’t even started yet! You’ve gotten off on totally the wrong foot – especially if it is for a position where timeliness is important. If you can make it 10-15 minutes before the interview, even better. Why? While you're waiting you can be observing how the business functions. You'll get a sense of the atmosphere in the workplace. Are the staff relaxed, happy, friendly, and talkative? Is this the type of atmosphere where you'll feel comfortable? Can you picture yourself working alongside the people you are observing?

Professional appearance

Wearing clothes and being groomed in a manner not in keeping with the role you’re applying for can jeopardise an interview. No matter the position, casual clothes are a no-go.

  • Dress smartly, in attire appropriate for the role, but not overtly. Polished shoes are a must.

  • Dressing inappropriately can work both ways. You will certainly want to wear a suit if you are interviewing for professional position, however when interviewing for a summer job at your local theme park or as a lifeguard, for example, dress accordingly in neat and casual attire.

  • If you aren't sure what to wear, visit the organisation and watch employees coming in and out of the office to see what they are wearing.

First impressions count!

  • Always dress smart - not casual.

  • Make sure your clothes are clean and pressed.

  • Good grooming is very, very important irrespective of the job you are applying for.

  • You're selling yourself here!

  • This is the time when you're going to be judged by your appearance, presentation and attitude.

  • Ensure that accessories and make-up are in keeping with a professional image.

  • Polish your shoes.

  • Ensure you are clean-shaven, use deodorant and breath-fresheners are always a good idea.

Good communication

You’ve arrived on time, smartly dressed and neatly groomed – so far so good. Now you have to talk your way into the job you want. A candidate with bad grammar, who talks too much or even worse, is a poor listener, has just made life very difficult for themselves. Be candid, but not verbose and don’t go into length about personal problems – it’s about how qualified you are for the role, not how deserving you think you are. The best piece of advice you can get is to take your time before answering questions so you can think before you speak, and look people in the eye when talking to them.

Well prepared

A job interview is no place to ‘wing-it’. Find out as much as you can about the role of the position you’re applying for, and about the company you’re hoping to join. Introduce yourself and offer your hand with a firm handshake. Keep eye contact with the interviewer at all times. Be polite, friendly and courteous at all times.

Positive attitude

Unenthusiastic, bored or arrogant behavior will kill you dead in the water. Be confident and enthusiastic – this is a far cry from cocky. Motivated and self-assured individuals are what interviewers like.

  • Do not put down a former employer as it will quickly turn off an interviewer. It's important to communicate well with everyone you meet in your search for employment

  • It is, however, most important to positively connect with the person who might hire you.

  • Shake hands, make eye contact, exude confidence, engage the person you are speaking with, and you will let the interviewer know that you are an excellent candidate for this position - before you even answer an interview question.

Full attention!

Believe it or not, a recent candidate for employment, who, by the way, didn't get the job, didn't hesitate to answer his cell phone when it rang during an interview. Leave the phone behind or at least turn it off before you enter the building. Same goes for coffee, food and anything else other than you, your resume, your job application, and your list of references. They don't belong at an interview.

Answering questions

There is nothing much worse than interviewing someone who goes on and on and on... The interviewer really doesn't need to know your whole life story. Keep your answers succinct, to-the-point and focused and don't ramble - simply answer the question.

Enough information

It's really hard to communicate with someone who answers a question with a word or two. I remember a couple of interviews where I felt like I was pulling teeth to get any answers from the candidate. It wasn't pleasant. So, even though you shouldn't talk too much, you do want to be responsive and fully answer the question as best you can.

Giving the right answer

Make sure you listen to the question and take a moment to gather your thoughts before you respond. Like the following candidate, you'll knock yourself out of contention if you give the wrong answer.

Being Truthful

Don’t go there – ever. Whether it’s on your resume or during an interview, dishonesty is a one-way ticket to trouble. For example, do not falsely claim degrees or certificates and do not cover up a criminal record.

Confirming your interest

Once the employer has explained the details of the organisation and the job, reaffirm your interest and ask what the next step is. This will entrench in the interviewer’s mind that you are keen and willing.

Fuzzy Facts

Even if you have submitted a resume when you applied for the job, you may also be asked to fill out a job application. Make sure you know the information you will need to complete an application including dates of prior employment, graduation dates, and employer contact information.

Being positive about Past Employers

  • Your last boss was an idiot? Everyone in the company was a jerk? You hated your job and couldn't wait to leave?

  • Even if it's true don't say so. I cringed when I heard someone ranting and raving about the last company she worked for. That company happened to be our largest customer and, of course, I wasn't going to hire someone who felt that way about the company and everyone who worked there.

  • It's sometimes a smaller world than you think and you don't know who your interviewer might know, including that boss who is an idiot...

  • You also don't want the interviewer to think that you might speak that way about his or her company if you leave on terms that aren't the best.

Following Up

Afraid you didn't make the best impression? Are you sure that you aced the interview? Either way, be sure to follow up with a thank you note reiterating your interest in the position and the company.

Finally, even if you do flub the interview, don't take it to heart. I don't think there is anyone hasn't blown an interview or two. If it happens, look at it like it just wasn't meant to be, learn from your mistakes and move on to the next opportunity.