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The interview is probably the most nerve-racking part of the application process, especially if it is a technical interview for a specialist's position. Some of us deal with them better than others, but even if you are the most confident person out there, you still need to be ready.
So let’s get started...
This is the most crucial part of interview success and the area where we can help the most. There isn’t much we can do once you’re in there! There are a lot of things to think about before you go to an interview.
Of course, this will not always be possible, but according to glassdoor.com, this is the most successful time to have an interview. The interviewer has had enough time to wake up, isn’t too hungry or too full and isn’t distracted by that Friday or Monday feeling.
Being presentable is essential and they have to be able to picture you in this role. So avoid panic on the day and prepare your clothes before.
What is the most reliable way of getting there? Do you know the area? Are you likely to get lost? There isn’t much worse than being late for an interview. Their first impression of you is, ‘they’re not here’, so don’t let that happen.
This includes you being late, but also late buses or trains, bad weather and getting lost. Anything can and will happen. Leave plenty of time for a plan B.
Who are the company? What are their values? What exactly do they do? You should be an expert so that any awkward questions that they throw at you can be returned confidently.
Tell me about yourself, What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? These are all likely to come up, so prep a concise self-introduction and think about weaknesses which actually sound quite good. E.g. I’m a perfectionist, I trust people easily – but have examples to back them up!
Interviewers can also ask you to take part in a selection of tests to get a good insight into whether you are the right person for the role. There is a variety of them but the most popular one is the psychometric aptitude test that is designed to assess the candidate's logical thinking. There are a lot of resources that will help you practice for these cognitive ability tests, and you should invest some time to prepare.
Remember, the interviewer is human too.
Once you’re in there, all you’ve got is what is in your head. So, assuming you’re well prepared, what other things should you bear in mind?
Interviewers can smell fear. They are experts in reading people before they even say anything, so don’t slouch, keep your head up and make enough eye contact to express confidence – but too much can come across as aggressive.
Some people have a certain thing they wear in order to subtlety attract positive attention, such as cufflinks with your country’s flag on them. If the interviewer notices them, s/he will remember you and they may be an easy conversation starter; but be tasteful with your choice.
The interview is as much for you as it is for them. So make it balanced. Find out things that you want to know, engage in the conversation. Have some questions prepared for the end when they ask for them.
Give them a firm handshake.
A lot of people think that once they have had an interview the ball is now totally out of their court and it’s just a waiting game. But there are things you can do after the interview to enhance your chances and avoid being forgotten.
Traditionally handwritten, but a professional and personalised email is good and recommended to be sent within 24 hours of the interview.
Maybe mention something in the interview that the interviewer seemed to like or something interesting that came up; but not in a way that warrants a reply. That is not the objective.
You may have given an answer that you really weren’t happy with, or just drawn a total blank and said nothing. This is the chance to apologise and answer the question having had time to think. But keep it cool and confident.
If you are impatient to receive a response from the recruiter, it's okay to contact the company asking for an update. However, try not to be too pushy, as it might look unprofessional. If the company wants you, they'll let you know as soon as they can!
We hope this advice was useful and if you’re interview-hunting why not check out the thousands of jobs at Europe Language Jobs and find yourself a new job! Break a leg!
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