Interview Techniques
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Interview Techniques

Preparation is the first essential step towards a successful interview. Employers will not be impressed with candidates that do not prepare themselves for interviews and possess little or no information about the company for which they are being interviewed.

Your Dress

Dress in smart clothes. Do not wear casual clothes even if you know that it is company policy.

Ensure that you know the following things:

  1. The exact time and location of the interview.
  2. The interviewer's correct title and pronunciation of his or her full name.
  3. Specific facts about the company
    • its plant, office or store locations
    • its products and services
    • its recent business growth
    • its growth potential for the future

In most cases, Middle East Bankers will be able to provide you with this information.

There are also a number of helpful documents and research publications:

    • The company's website
    • The company's annual reports

You should also be aware of relevant facts and figures regarding your present or former employer. Refresh your memory on this, as you will be expected to know a lot about a company for which you have previously worked.

  1. Questions to ask the interviewer. Remember that an interview is a two-way street. The interviewer will try to determine through questioning whether you are the right person for a specific job. Likewise, you must determine through questioning whether this potential employer will provide the opportunity for career development that you seek.

Besides this, the interviewer will be impressed by your interest in the company and by intelligent questions.

Some questions you might ask include:

    • Can you give me a detailed description of the position?
    • Why has the position become available?
    • What is the culture of the company?
    • What induction/training programmer is there?
    • What kinds of people have previously been successful in the company?
    • What advanced training programmers are available for those who demonstrate ability?
    • What plans has the company for future development?
    • Which are the company's best selling products or services?
    • What is the next step?

The Interview

During the interview, you will be assessed for your strengths and weaknesses. In addition to this, specific personal characteristics will be examined, such as attitude, aptitude, stability, motivation and maturity.

Some interview do's and don'ts:

  • DO arrive on time or a few minutes early. Late arrival for a job interview is never excusable.
  • DO fill out any application forms neatly and completely. If you have a personal resume, be sure that the person to whom you release it is the person who will actually do the hiring.
  • DO greet the interviewer by his or her title and surname. If you are not sure of the name pronunciation, ask the interviewer to repeat it.
  • DO shake hands firmly.
  • DO wait until you are offered a chair before sitting. Sit upright in your chair and look alert and interested at all times.
  • DO be as charming as possible; it is very important that you demonstrate your interpersonal skills during the interview.
  • DO be a good listener as well as a good talker.
  • DO smile.
  • DO look the interviewer in the eye.
  • DO follow the interviewer's leads. Try, however, to obtain a full description of the position and it’s duties at an early stage so that you can communicate your appropriate background and skills accordingly.
  • DO make sure that your good points get across to the interviewer in a clear, factual and sincere manner. Waffle will get you nowhere. Bear in mind that only you can sell yourself and make the interviewer aware of the benefits that you can offer to the organization.
  • DO always conduct yourself as if you are determined to get the job you are discussing. Never close the door on opportunity. It is better to be in a position where you can choose from a number of offers - rather than only one.
  • DON’T wear your sunglasses, either on your face or on top of your head.
  • DON’T wear too much make-up.
  • DON’T have your mobile phone on. (If you need it switched on to trace calls, put it on silent, not vibrate.)
  • DON'T smoke even if the interviewer smokes and offers you a cigarette.
  • DON'T answer questions with a simple ''yes'' or ''no''. Explain yourself whenever possible. Describe those things about yourself that relate to the position on offer.
  • DON'T lie. Answer questions truthfully, frankly and as close to the point as possible.
  • DON'T make offensive remarks about your present or former employers.
  • DON'T ‘over answer’ questions. The interviewer may steer the conversation into politics or economics, which can be controversial topics. It is best to respond to such issues honestly, yet trying not to say more than is necessary.
  • DON'T enquire about salary, holidays, bonuses etc. at the initial interview unless you are positive that the interviewer wants to hire you. You should, however, know your market value and be prepared to specify your required salary or range.

Be prepared to answer questions such as:

  • Why did you choose a career in accountancy/IT/sales/banking/marketing..etc?
  • What kind of job are you seeking?
  • What is your technical experience?
  • Why would you like to work for our company?
  • What do you want to be doing in your career five years from now?
  • When was your last salary review?
  • What style of management gets the best from you?
  • What interests you about our product/service?
  • What have you learned from some of the jobs you have held?
  • Which did you enjoy the most and why?
  • What have you done that shows initiative in your career?
  • What are your major weaknesses and what are your strengths?
  • What do you think determines a person's progress in a good company?
  • Are you willing to relocate?
  • What are your hobbies?
  • What does ''teamwork'' mean to you?

Negative Factors to Avoid

During the course of the interview, the interviewer will be evaluating your negative attributes as well as your positive ones. Listed below are some negative traits that are frequently evaluated during the course of an interview and which most often lead to rejection:

  • Poor personal appearance
  • Overbearing, aggressive, arrogant ‘superiority complex' - 'know it all' attitude
  • Inability to express thoughts clearly - poor diction or grammar
  • Lack of career planning - no purpose or goals or foresight
  • Lack of interest and enthusiasm - passive and indifferent
  • Lack of confidence - nervousness
  • Over-emphasis on money - interested only in remuneration
  • Disapproval of past employers
  • Failure to look the interviewer in the eye
  • Limp handshake
  • Failure to ask good questions about the job and company
  • Lack of interview preparation - failure to research the company - resulting in an inability to ask intelligent questions

Closing the Interview

  • IF you are interested in the position enquire about the next interview stage. If the interview offers the position to you and you want it, accept on the spot. If you wish for some time to think it over, be polite and tactful in asking for that time. Set a definite date on which you can provide an answer.
  • DON'T be too discouraged if no definite offer is made nor a specific salary discussed. The interviewer will probably want to consult colleagues or interview other candidates (or both) before making a decision.
  • IF you get the impression that the interview is not going very well and you have already been rejected, don't let your discouragement show. Once in a while an interviewer who is genuinely interested in your possibilities may intend to discourage you in order to test your reaction.
  • THANK the interviewer for the time spent with you.

After the Interview

Lastly, and most importantly, call your consultant at Middle East Bankers immediately after the interview to explain what happened. The consultant will want to speak with you before the interviewer calls

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