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Your Invite to the Successful Interview Club

Polly Amora lets us in on the secrets of success when it comes to shining at job interviews.


Polly Amora is a Philippines based business woman, entrepreneur and blogger. She is the owner of Magniviq Marketing in Manila, Philippines and she runs her personal blog Polly Defies Gravity. Polly draws on her experiences in the business world to share her secrets to achieving success at your next job interview.


You’ve been waiting for days and you finally received that phone call asking you to come in for an interview. Just thinking about it is enough to make you feel stressed and nervous, right? You’ve impressed them with your CV and now is the time to prove to them in person that you are right for the job.

Here are some tips to help you pass ace your job interview.

PREPARATION

  • Do your research. It is important that you familiarize yourself with the industry, the company and the position that you are applying for. The employer does not only want to know you are equipped with the right skills for the job but that you are passionate about the company and have an appreciation for the corporate culture.
  • Beforehand, find out where the company is located, if it has multiple branches, how to get there and how long it will take to get to the interview. The last thing you want to have happen is to take off for the interview only to discover it’s on the other side of the earth.
  • Think about job interview questions ahead of time so you won’t have a hard time formulating answers right on the spot. Be sure to rehearse your answers so you come across natural and confident.
  • Rehearse with mock interviews. Ask someone you are comfortable with to “role play” as the interviewer or try talking to yourself in front of a mirror. This will help you gain confidence in your spoken English and get comfortable with the interview process.

Here are some commonly asked questions:

  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • What makes you unique from other applicants?
  • What is something that is happening in the industry at the moment that takes your interest? How do you think this will affect our business in the future?
  • What transferrable skills did you develop in your previous employment that you will bring to this new role?
  • Why did you resign from your last employer?
  • Imagine you work for our firm – Who would be your ideal client and why? How would our business meet their needs?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • What has been your greatest accomplishment to date?

INTERVIEW DAY

Dress for Success: Present yourself and your qualifications confidently! If possible, avoid anything that is too loud, shows too much skin or figure (like short dresses or tight pants), too casual or anything that will be distracting. Professional business attire is strongly encouraged and highly recommended. Be sure to check your grooming such as your hair, clean fingernails, polished shoes, wrinkle-free clothing and if you wear makeup keep it minimal.

Be Punctual: Try to arrive 10 to 15 minutes ahead of your interview. This will give you enough time to relax and do a last-minute check of your appearance.

Be polite to everyone you meet from security guards to the secretary, show everybody that you are nice and friendly. Remember to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. Interviewers often ask other employees whom you have come into contact with what their impression of you was. This is often used as an indicator as to whether you are an appropriate match for the firm’s work place setting and whether you can represent the firm in a positive light outside of work.

THIS IS IT! IMPRESS THEM!

Greet the interviewer with a firm handshake;  and introduce yourself with a genuine smile.

Maintain a good posture. Sit up straight, lean a little bit forward and make frequent eye contact rather than looking at your resume while coming up with an answer – eye contact conveys confidence and interest in what the interviewer is saying. Do not forget to smile.

Follow the S.T.A.R. strategy – Situation, Task, Action, and Result — it will help you give a coherently structured response to questions. This technique is a useful tool as it ensures you do not forget to include any important details and that the interviewer can easily gain the insight from your answer that they are looking for.

Let them know what you have to offer. Talk about your experiences and accomplishments (without bragging) and how your skills can help benefit you and the company. Confidence is the key  but be wary of over-confidence being misinterpreted as arrogance.

Count 5 seconds before answering each question, it helps you process the question and you won’t appear as though rushed (or nervous). This rule will help you avoid sentence fillers such as ‘um’, as you will have already given yourself the time to formulate your answer.

Use a calm yet professional tone of voice, be sure to speak slowly and use emphasis when appropriate. No need to rush!

Do not speak poorly of your previous employers/colleagues. This can give a potential employer the impression that you may be someone who is difficult to work with or who does not work well with colleagues. If you feel it is appropriate to mention a less positive aspect of your previous employment, make sure you phrase it as a challenge that you overcame – framing the experience as an example of positive personal growth.

It’s your turn to ask. Remember this is not a one-sided interrogations but a rather two-way conversation. Throw relevant questions such as ‘What are the prospects for growth and advancement?’ If you are finding it difficult to think of a question to ask your interviewer, then simply ask them about their job. Find out why they like working for the company and how they foresee they role within the company developing as the industry evolves.

 When the interview comes to an end, do not forget to thank the interviewer and offer a handshake. Small gestures can make big impressions. It is always good practice to email HR after your interview thanking them for their time in organising the interview, regardless of whether or not you ultimately get offered the position.

Your employer is looking for the ‘best’ person for job. So show them that no other candidate is going to fit in with their team as seamlessly as you will.

Good luck!


photo credit: pasukaru76 via photopin cc

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Comments not written in English will be given a translation below the original comment. This is because English is largely the common language of most of GYE's readers and thus we hope this will facilitate discussion and debate.

23 Comments on Your Invite to the Successful Interview Club

  1. Practising my interview technique with a friend was incredibly helpful when I was looking to secure my graduate job. Once you are used to the feel of an interview they seem to get better each time. & good point about asking the interviewer a question at the end – everyone loves to talk about their self so it really does work to ask them about why they like their job etc.

    Like

  2. This kind of article is exactly what I was looking for.

    Like

  3. Jayne Smith // August 11, 2014 at 2:12 pm // Reply

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  7. Thanks for the good writeup. I enjoyed it on all accounts!

    Like

  8. do your research. smile. done. job got.

    Like

  9. It is good to hear advice about interviews as they seem to be unavoidable in job applications so it is a necessity to develop the right skills to make a good impression.

    Like

  10. Best piece of advice i ever got was to do some background digging on your interviewer so you can make small talk about their interests. I’ve done this before and it helps to make you memorable.

    Like

  11. “let them know what you have to offer” – so true! It’s your time to sell yourself and let that organisation know how valuable you are !

    Like

  12. Letze Udinsky // September 23, 2014 at 6:51 pm // Reply

    I don’t there is a winning method for interviews. By the interview stage you are most likely already screened as having the right qualifications – the interview is just down to personality and a bit of charm.

    Like

  13. I hate being asked what my weaknesses are! Why do they ask? They don’t ACTUALLY want to hear about my bad traits do they!?

    Like

  14. cesare kottlowshi // September 24, 2014 at 1:54 pm // Reply

    the trick is to choose a weakness that is actually a strength. e.g. ‘I’m a perfectionist so I like to double check everything I do. This can make tasks take longer’.

    or …

    say that you had a weakness but then talk about what you did to improve it e.g. ‘I was shy and found public speaking difficult but by doing XYZ I am know much more outgoing with clients’.

    Like

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