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The Edge

Our survey said...

The path from application to employment can be a rocky one. Interview performance will make or break us, and there are things we can do – and practice – that may give us an edge. We asked recruitment managers from a cross-section of organisations to name their interview dos and don’ts, and the results were interesting.

Don’t try to style it out

Not knowing the answer to a question isn’t the end of the world. Pretending to know and trying to cover your tracks with a nonsense answer, on the other hand, is a major red flag. It’s hardly surprising. Who would you rather work with? The honest professional who admits what they don’t know and shows eagerness to learn, or the blustering chancer who’ll risk their reputation and yours?

Dignity, always dignity

We’ve all had bad managers and bad employers, but is a job interview the best time to pour your heart out about them? Even if the person you’re talking to agrees that you have cause for complaint, they might interpret your actions as disloyalty, excuse-making or just plain gossip. One of the key tasks of the interviewee is to present themselves as a trustworthy team player. Being constructive about your experience, showing how you make the best of a situation and find a way to accomplish something and learn something, counts in your favour. Maintaining a dignified silence about your old boss’s bad points will serve you better than tearing them down one anecdote at a time.

What was the company name again?

You don’t have to fawn all over the person who’s interviewing you, in fact you really shouldn’t, but it’s wise to do your homework on the organisation they represent. Employers like their people to be productive and prepared. How can you demonstrate those qualities in interview? Read about recent company activity. Are they growing? Are they in the news? Are they active in areas where you have particular skills or interests? If you don’t know these things, you’ll struggle to demonstrate how you can add specific value. Just do your homework.

I’m here because, well, you know, whatever…

A sense of purpose is a good thing to have in life. In an interview, it’s essential. If you’re lucky enough to feel relaxed in these situations, then take care not to come across as a little too relaxed. If the employer gets the feeling you’re in their office because you just wanted to get out of the rain for a while, they won’t be impressed. You can be both completely calm and completely focused at the same time. Think of reasons why you want this job with this company and make sure you articulate them. Show them you’re not just looking for any position, you’re focused on this one and there are good reasons why they should offer it to you. If you leave the interviewer with that impression, it’ll be a positive one and a lasting one.

There are many things that can rub an employer up the wrong way, and these four examples came up time and time again in our survey. To all of you getting ready for interview, we’re on your side and we hope you get it right. For further advice on job seeking and interview technique, contact the People’s Library today.


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