How to Sell Yourself in a Job Interview

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1 TOOLS Interview Tips Helpful Interview Hints How to prepare for the first important meeting What to expect Be prepared The Interview Interview Techniques Most frequently asked questions Facing the Interviewer Top Tips for Interviews Face-To-Face Interviews Telephone Interviews Top Tips for Presentation To findout more Call: How to Sell Yourself in a Job Interview How to prepare for the first important meeting You only get one chance to make a first impression so it is important to make sure that the impression you do make is a positive one. What to expect Review the company literature prior to interview. Useful information sources include: Annual Report of Accounts, Company brochures and Website. Read up on the job content. Plan to arrive 5-10 minutes before your allotted interview time. Arrive late and you can put yourself under pressure. Ensure you have looked at your CV and can talk confidently about dates of education and employment, reasons for leaving, etc. Prepare questions to ask at the interview. Questioning the interviewer will demonstrate an active and enquiring mind which is a pre-requisite for most IT jobs. At the first interview stage it s better to restrict questions to job content, departmental structure and reasons why the post exists. 1

2 Be prepared Review the company literature prior to interview. Useful information sources include: Annual Report of Accounts, Company brochures and Web site. Read up on the job content. Plan to arrive 5-10 minutes before your allotted interview time. Arrive late and you can put yourself under pressure. Ensure you have looked at your CV and can talk confidently about dates of education and employment, reasons for leaving, etc. Prepare questions to ask at the interview. Questioning the interviewer will demonstrate an active and enquiring mind which is a pre-requisite for most IT jobs. At the first interview stage it s better to restrict questions to job content, departmental structure and reasons why the post exists. The Interview The interview is very much a two way process. You will also have to bear in mind that interviewers will have their own personal style or technique. The secret at an interview is to be prepared for any style or technique and don t be put off if you encounter a technique that is not familiar to you. Ask questions that relate to the business of the company speak about your accomplishes, strengths and weakness. If interested, go after the job! (Send a thank you message) Interview Techniques Most frequently asked questions What are your strengths and weaknesses? Tell me about yourself. What are your team-player qualities? Give examples. Of the courses you have had at college which courses have you enjoyed the most? What is your GPA? How do you feel about it? Does it reflect your abilities? How have your educational and work experiences prepared you for this position? What work experiences have been most valuable to you and why? What have the experiences on your resume taught you about managing and working with people? Of the hobbies and interests listed on your resume what is your favourite and tell me why? Where do you see yourself in five years? What goals have you set for yourself? How are you planning to achieve them? To what do you owe your present success? Why should I hire you? What makes you think you can handle this position? What is your most significant accomplishment to date? Why do you want to work here? What interests you about this job? What challenges are you looking for in a position? What can you contribute to this company? What motivates you? 2

3 Describe a leadership role of yours and tell why you committed your time to it. In a particular leadership role you had, what was your greatest challenge? Give me an example of an idea that has come to you and what you did with it? Give me an example of a problem you solved and the process you used? Give me an example of the most creative project that you have worked on. Tell me about a project you initiated? Describe the project or situation that best demonstrates your analytical abilities? Since attending college, what is the toughest decision that you have had to make? What industry besides this one are you looking into? Why have you chosen this particular profession? When you take on a project do you like to attack the project in a group of individually? Describe the type of manager you prefer. Tell me about a team project of which you are particularly proud and your contribution? Describe a situation where you had to work with someone who was difficult, how did you handle it? What type of work environment appeals to you most? With which other companies are you interviewing? What characteristics do you think are important for this position? Why do you feel that this company will be a career for you rather than a job? Name two management skills that you think you have. What characteristics are most important in a good manager? How have you displayed one of them? What factors did you consider in choosing your major? What has been your greatest challenge? Facing the Interviewer Ask: about the information you researched. Ask: could you describe my job duties? Ask: is this a newly created position? Ask: what are the company s short and long-term goals? Ask: what do you like most about working for this company? Ask: what is a typical day like for you? Ask: to whom would I report? Ask: what are my line management responsibilities? Tell me about your most difficult decision and how did you go about making it? What types of situations put you under pressure, and how do you deal with pressure? Give me a situation in which you failed, and how you handled it? Why are you interested in our organization? What type of position are you seeking? Where do you think your interest in this career comes from? Discuss: only the facts needed to respond to the question. Ask: what personal development will I receive? Ask: what is the company s promotional policy? Do not: open yourself to areas of questioning that could pose difficulties for you. Focus: attention on your successes. With whom will I be working most closely? Ask: what are your interviews to placement timescales? 3

4 Top Tips for Interviews Face-To-Face and Telephone Interviews Please find below tips for interviews and beneath those, specific tips for telephone interviews. Top Tips for Interviews Interviews can be a daunting prospect for anyone, but one thing to remember is that the company inviting you along already believes that you have the skills and abilities to do the job. You are over the first hurdle. Preparation is key to clear the next one! Top tips for interview preparation 1. Every company will have its own ideas on interviewing and assessment so try and establish from your Parity Consultant what format your interview is likely to take. 2. Ensure you look over your CV thoroughly and can talk confidently about dates of education and employment, your reasons for joining and leaving organisations and your social interests. Brainstorm your strengths and weaknesses. Identify what to emphasise during the interview process and ensure you achieve this. 3. Read through the job description/ content and jot down examples of skills that demonstrate your familiarity and experience with the role. 4. Research the company prior to interview and take an opportunity to show the interviewer that you have done your homework. Useful information sources include: The Annual Report of Accounts, the company website and news and media centre and company literature. 5. Prepare questions to ask at the interview. Questioning the interviewer will demonstrate that you have an active and enquiring mind. You may wish to enquire about the reason for the vacancy, the short, medium and longer-term challenges of the role, organisational/departmental structure and the company s strategy. 6. Make a good first impression - dress appropriately, arrive on-time, remember to smile, make eye contact and extend your hand for a firm yet friendly handshake. 7. Don t dominate the conversation. Remember, this is the interviewer s chance to get to know you and a two way learning process. 8. Be specific with your answers and back up your achievements with facts. Elaborate where possible, without being too verbose! 9. Sit back, take a deep breath, compose yourself and then proceed to answer if you become flustered. 10. No matter what, remain positive throughout and don t forget to ask your questions at the end if you haven t already. Armed with these tips, you are sure to make a positive impression! And...Finally + 1) if you are interested in the opportunity don t sit back and wait to hear; go after the job! A polite thank you emphasising your interest is always well received. 4

5 Top Tips for Telephone Interviews It is common for companies to use telephone interviews to screen candidates in the early stages of the recruitment process. This allows organisations to sift through unsuitable applicants before inviting the most appropriate applicants to a face-to-face interview. Candidates should prepare for a telephone conversation like any other interview; listen carefully to the questions asked and act in a professional manner at all times. Know your CV As candidates, you need to be familiar with your CV i.e. education and experience. The interviewer will be looking to match candidates against the job content. Also be familiar with the job description and what is involved and required from the post. Have good examples ready to impress! Research the company Research the company and its culture prior to the interview. Make notes. The interviewer cannot see what you have written down. Use this to your advantage! Prepare a handful of good questions to ask the interviewer at the end of the session, such as, questions about the challenges of the role, interview steps and company objectives. Create the right environment Make sure that your surroundings are quiet and that you will not be disturbed. Ideally sit in a comfortable chair with your CV and a pen and paper to hand to jot down notes. Listen carefully to what is being asked and answer questions with confidence. Don t be afraid to pause. Interviewers will expect silences whilst you consider your response but avoid unnecessary thinking noises down the phone i.e. pen tapping. Be positive and project your confidence down the phone by smiling. This will also help you to relax. End positively Always thank the caller for their time and express your interest in the role. Reiterate specifically the elements of the role which interested you most and don t be afraid to ask what happens next. Top Tips for Presentation The material of your presentation should be concise, to the point and interesting. In addition to the obvious, such as, content and visual aids, the following are just as important: Appearance first impressions count! Your Voice how you say it is just as important as what you say. Body Language the movements or positions through which you unintentionally show other people what you are feeling. 5

6 Plan Prepare the structure of the presentation logically, as you would for a written report, by identifying the main objectives and points that you would like to cover. Draft the presentation in rough, and then review the draft. Delete anything irrelevant, then double check that the presentation flows and is consistently smooth. If there is anything you are unsure about due to lack of understanding, take it out. Be confident about what you are presenting and be prepared to answer any questions. Know what you are talking about and know it well! Rehearse Never read from a script and know most of what you want to say. Prepare cue cards which have key words and phrases written on them. These can be referred to if need be. It is always a good idea to rehearse your presentation to yourself in front of a mirror and then in front of friends or family. Ask for honest feedback. Use Visual Aids Visual aids can help to improve the interest of a presentation but ensure they are relevant to the content. Be prepared for technology mishaps and have a back-up plan on printed slides. Greet the audience, tell them about the aims and objectives of the presentation, deliver the presentation and ensure you end with conclusions and/or a summary. It is always useful to follow the old adage: Tell them what you are going to tell them Tell them what you have told them Keep to the time allowed and leave time for discussion and questions at the end. Speak clearly, don t rush, pause at key points, use your hands to emphasise specific points and engage with the audience as much as possible. And..Finally Good luck and enjoy yourself! The audience will want to hear what you have to say. Leave them with a handout of the main objectives and conclusions of your presentation and remember to include your name firmly on the front. Contact Details To speak with one of our trusted consultants contact us on: t: e: w: 6 Parity Professionals is a Recruitment and People Development organisation with a network of offices in London, Manchester, Belfast and Edinburgh. We work closely with our clients to source, develop and retain talent, building both capacity and capability to improve business performance.

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