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Making Your Interview a Success



1. Preparation

Find out as much as possible about the company - Products, size, locations, style, reputation both as employers and suppliers, the sort of job they would have for you. Beechwood will provide you with some information and you can usually find out about most companies by looking for them on the Internet.

Think about your skills, competencies, qualifications and experience so you can answer any questions on this without too much hesitation. Try to think in particular about how these relate to the company and the position offered.

Prepare some questions to ask at the interview and prioritise them as the interview may not be long enough to ask them all - see below for some suggestions.

Read a good book on body language, so you strengthen your good signals, curb the weak ones.

Talk to friendly colleagues, present or recent, about their view of you as a team member, your strengths etc as this is a common subject for interview questions.


Personal presentation
First impressions count! Practise a good positive handshake; not too firm, not too weak. Always smile and make eye contact with the interviewer.

Are you well-dressed, in away that follows conventions in this job sector? This is not the time to show how much of an individual you are, as they want someone who will fit in with the company - it is advisable to always wear a well-ironed, dark coloured suit and well-polished shoes.

Take a copy of your CV with you, carrying it in a suitable folder or case. You may also want to take along some samples of your work. This all adds to the impression of you being well organised and enthusiastic.


Timing
Plan a reliable way of getting there which allows you to be a few minutes early - consult our Route Planners for the best routes by road, rail and coach. Allow for any unexpected delays.

You do not want to arrive looking flustered. Remember that if you arrive at the company exactly on time , you will often be delayed at reception or while locating the correct department so a few extra minutes can make a big difference to that all important first impression.

If you are late this may mean that your interview is cut short so you may not have a chance to convince the interviewer of your skills.


On arrival
Be polite to support staff you meet including those at Beechwood. They count too - and may be able to influence a decision in your favour. Make sure you know who it is you are meeting as it will look bad if you get their name wrong

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2. At the Interview

Helpful hints

  • Try to relax as much as possible. The company has taken the time to interview you and they need to fill the position so it is in their interests too that it is successful.
  • Try not to monopolise the meeting - let your interviewer talk.
  • Do not be too passive - ask questions of your own as this shows you are really interested.
  • If they do not tell you, find out what are the key parts of the candidate specification so you can show how you meet them.
  • Ask how the job contributes to the success, efficiency and profitability of the organisation.
  • Try to show, without being contrived, that you have done some research.
  • Be honest about your experience. Lies will always be found out.
  • Avoid too much self opinion.
  • Never smoke, and it is probably safer not to accept tea or coffee as it can get in the way.
  • Keep your replies simple, but avoid just saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
  • Offer positive information - do not harp on problems or criticise previous employers.
  • Ask about the existing team and show how you would be able to join and enhance this.
  • Make sure the employer knows the benefits of employing you.


Questions you should be prepared to answer

  • Describe your work experience to date?
  • What knowledge, skills and experience from your current/past employment would be relevant to this job?
  • What have been the highlights, major achievements, challenges etc. of your career to date of which you are most proud?
  • What has been the most difficult work challenge you have faced and how did you deal with it?
  • What are your strengths in terms of technical competency at work?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses terms of your personality and working style?
  • What elements of your work have you found most and least enjoyable?
  • What are your ambitions for the future. What would you like to be doing in 1, 5, 10 years time?
  • Why are you interested in this job?
  • How do you regard your communication skills (written, verbal, one-to-one etc.)?
  • How do you regard your management skills (planning, problems, supervision, motivating, negotiating etc.)?
  • In the context of work, what motivates you?


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Questions you might need to ask

  • How secure is the company financially and in terms of future prospects?
  • Are there any plans to expand, contract or relocated?
  • What is the company’s reputation in the marketplace?
  • What are the major threats and opportunities facing the company?
  • What investment is being made for the future e.g. products,services, marketing?
  • Why has the vacancy occurred?
  • Who would I be working for and who would I be working with?
  • What are the terms and conditions of employment?
  • What would my future prospects with the company be like if I performed well?
  • If there is time, ask them if there is anything more they need to know about you.
  • Never leave without asking if you are suitable for the position.
  • Ask what happens next i.e. when they will make a decision.This is important as it will show your enthusiasm.


3. Follow up


Send a brief thank you letter confirming your interest in the position and add if there is something else you want to mention. Sometimes a good phone message if the job involves lots of phone contact.


4. Salary Negotiation


Try to avoid mentioning the subject of salary yourself at the first interview. Either wait for the interviewer to bring it up or wait until the second interview. You should have given Beechwood your salary expectations so the salary offered should be within this range.

Everything is negotiable. If the final offer is not what you had hoped for, say that you like the job, but the package is not up to your expectations - can they be flexible at all - now or after a probationary period.

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Beechwood Recruitment Limited
221 High Street, London, W3 9BY

Tel: +44 (0)208 992 8647
Fax: +44 (0)208 992 5658
Email:cv@beechwoodrecruit.com

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