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You rarely get a second chance to make a good impression on a prospective employer, so at your first interview it is important that you get it right first time. The following information contains some advice on how to prepare and tips on how to succeed in that all important first meeting.
However, we are all aware of how competitive the market is, therefore in order to be one step ahead of the next candidate you'll need to take your preparation and performance one step further. If you would like to know how, take a look at our Career Support Services.
Interviews are two way meetings. Not only are they an opportunity for the interviewer to find out about you and if you are a suitable candidate for the position but they are also an opportunity for you to find out about the organisation and if the position will provide you with the challenge and job satisfaction you are looking for.
Think about your skills, qualifications and experience and ensure that you can talk confidently about what is written on your CV. Particularly ensure that you can talk about those skills that are relevant and valuable to the position you are going for.
Prepare some questions to ask at the interview. At the first interview it would be wise to restrict your questions to the details of the job and the organisation. Salary and benefit discussions are best left until a second interview or a job offer is made.
Find out as much as possible about the company prior to the interview. A good starting point is to look up their web site and find out about the products and services they offer, the location of the office/s, and the number of employees. Ask the consultancy if they have any extra information on them. You could also phone the company and ask them to send you an annual report.
Ask your consultancy what the client's dress code is. For office work, smart business dress is a must.
Ensure you are well groomed with tidy hair, clean shoes and clothing. Do not wear too much perfume or aftershave and keep make-up, jewellery and nail polish simple.
Plan your journey beforehand to ensure you arrive a few minutes early. Allow for possible travel delays. Just in case of a major hold up, make sure you have your contact's telephone number so that you can call if you suspect you will be late.
Interviews come in many forms - panel interviews, one to one interviews, group interviews etc. Ask your consultancy what form of interview it will be beforehand.
You may be asked to take a test before the interview, depending on the type of organisation. These might consist of psychometric or aptitude tests.
There are many different interview styles and each interviewer will have their own personal style. Some interviewers will fire questions at you while others will start off with an open question such as "tell me about yourself" leaving you to do most of the talking. The majority of interviews will be somewhere between the two. Be prepared for any style of interview.
Agree exactly what the next steps will be, such as who will contact you to let you know if you have been successful and by when. You should also find out whether there will be second interviews and who will conduct them. If you are really interested in the position make sure you tell the interviewer.
Tell the consultancy how the interview went and get feedback from them.
Everything is negotiable. If the final offer is not what you had hoped for, ask the consultancy to talk to the client. Say that you like the job but the package is not up to your expectations and ask if the company can be at all flexible. Good luck!
The REC (Recruitment & Employment Confederation) is the UK association for the staffing industry. Consultancies and individual consultants who are members of the REC abide by a Code of Practice and are subject to stringent membership criteria. An REC member consultancy can be recognised by their display of the REC logo in their window or on their stationery. An REC member consultant will display the letters FREC, MREC or AREC after their name.
For a list of REC member consultancies in your chosen field of work call 0800 320 588 or visit www.rec.uk.com
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