The mere fact that you really want the job can make this a scary prospect so here are our thoughts to make life a little easier on you. The reason you’ve been called to interview is that the employer liked your CV and cover letter and wants to get a better insight in to your skills, abilities, personality and general attitude. The aim for the interviewers is to weed out unsuitable candidates at an early stage, your job is to avoid that cull.
The rules are the same for telephone and skype interviews as they are for interviews in person. An interview is not something you can just wing in the hope of wowing them with your personality, and telephone interviews make that even harder because your body language isn’t visible. So the more preparation you do the more confident you will feel about giving good answers.
If you miss a phone call inviting you to an interview or even a telephone interview, you should listen to voice mail message and call back explaining to whoever answers, who you are, that you have missed a call from… earlier on today/yesterday etc. and ask whether it is possible to speak to them now.
When it comes to the interview season you are likely to receive a number of calls from unknown numbers – do try and answer them they won’t all be call centres, if you can’t always do that you also need to make sure your voice mail message is professional.
- Make sure you research both the company and job you are applying for – look at the web site, read the company literature, check the job spec. and carefully examine the skills required. You should also check to see if the company or their competitors have been in the press recently – a google/bing/yahoo etc. search will bring up those details as will checking out the Student Surveyor Industry News Feed.
- Check how you are going to get there – if you have to travel, book tickets in well in advance, it will be much cheaper. You should also take your receipts with you, many firms of surveyors or real estate departments will reimburse your travel expenses.
- Study your CV, cover letter or application form to try and spot any obvious questions like: Why did you take that year out? Why did you get a poor grade in maths gcse or a particular A’level?
- Check to see if there will be any aptitude tests and make sure you do some practice runs before the actual day.
- Don’t rehearse your answers word for word – not only will it sound stilted and it is likely to throw you off track if the questions don’t pan out exactly as you expected. Just make sure you have all the information to hand and your answers will sound more natural.
On the day
- Make sure you are appropriately dressed, you are applying for a professional position so looking smart is key.
- Always, always arrive on time. It is a good idea to locate the place ten minutes before your interview slot. If you arrive half an hour early walk around the area and try to relax. If something goes drastically wrong and you are delayed, make sure you contact the employer straight away.
- Make sure your body language is positive – you are aiming for a firm (not vice-like) handshake, constant eye contact, do not fidget or fold your arms, make sure you are sat up straight and try to get across how interested you are in the job.
- Do try to smile, you want to look happy to be there and enthusiastic about your opportunity. Nerves can make this difficult but remember this isn’t the firing line and if you don’t get the job you are no worse off than you were before you applied. Try to see the bigger picture this is just a process on the way to your dream job so relax, put the best version of yourself forward and enjoy it as much as you can.
- Do be prepared to talk, being monosyllabic won’t give the interviewers enough information to go on and the more you talk (within reason, you must keep it relevant, don’t witter) the less time there is for them to ask you awkward questions.
Avoid these common mistakes:
- Appearing to lack any enthusiasm
- You have little knowledge about the employer or their activity
- You are overly concerned about how much you will be paid
- You come across as arrogant or conceited
- Your appearance looks unkempt
- What you are saying appears conflicting
- You talk too much about other job applications
- You do not have a clear career path in mind
- Not speaking passionately about your apparent interests
- Being rude or short when asked a challenging question
The important thing to remember is that you can have the best set of qualifications in the world but if the employer can’t envisage how you can fit into their team, then you are not getting that job!