What about the information you provided:
Your general appearance and the initial impression which you have made on the interviewer(s) may have aroused interest in you. However, what will arouse greater interest, and indeed what the interviewer(s) is basically interested in, is the information which you provide about yourself, your experience, knowledge, abilities, etc.
Some information will, no doubt, have been provided by you in your completed application form, letter or over the telephone, and the interviewer(s) may start by asking you questions designed to expand on that – to obtain more information. You must therefore provide that information, fully and clearly, gauging exactly what information is required and, where possible, giving that information which you feel the listener(s) wants to hear; so long as it is true, of course.
If you are unemployed, do not forget that you are very likely to be asked why you left your last employer (and when). Do be prepared to answer fully and without hesitation and, of course, truthfully. This matter was dealt with in the last chapter, but in a face-to-face conversation you may be asked for fuller information that you gave, perhaps, in a letter – and the manner in which you answer can be revealing to the interviewer(s).
If you are hesitant in your explanation, stammer or do not look directly at the interviewer(s), you may give the impression that you ‘have something to hide’. (It is worth remembering that in some cases a prospective employer may check with a former employer – and personnel department staff often have good facilities for doing so – to obtain confirmation of information you give). The foregoing applies equally if you are already in employment and are asked why you want to change jobs.
Some information may be provided to the interviewer(s) in documents: certificates, diplomas, school reports, and letters from former employers, etc. As stated earlier, such documents should be readily available for production when asked for. It is very good idea for you to keep all the documents neatly in a file or folder, perhaps in date order for easy reference. Such a neat presentation shows a tidy mind, and a probable neat, tidy and accurate attitude to work. Letters and other documents produced in a haphazard fashion or from tatty envelopes will not create a good impression.
Personality of Character Traits
In many cases interviewers are looking for certain ‘personality of character traits’, for example evidence of honesty, reliability, dependability, and so on. Different posts may call for people with different types of personality or temperament. For instance, certain receptionist and sales posts call for bright, outgoing, enthusiastic personalities, whilst other jobs may call for more sober, quiet temperaments.
The manner in which you talk, answer questions, provide information, can give an indication of your character. If you speak hesitatingly or stutter, you may give a poor impression of yourself. If you answer too quickly, perhaps even before the questioner has finished speaking, you may give the impression of being a thoughtless or careless person; on the other hand, if you answer thoughtfully, interest in you may be increased because you appear to be a person who will give thought to your work, will not rush through it but will take care, and be accurate.
Your turn to ask questions
In addition to being asked questions, you will probably be given the opportunity to ask questions. Some information may have already been provided in the original advertisement or notice, over the telephone or by the interviewer(s). Such information will probably have included salary/wage rates, hours of work, holiday periods and other terms, working conditions and, of course, the work to be performed (and possibly the conditions in which, or under which, it will be performed).
There is no harm in your asking for clarification of any points or for further information – you are likely to be expected to do so – but avoid asking questions which have already been fully and/or clearly answered. For instance, do not suddenly ask ‘what is the salary?’, when you have already been told what it is. Such a question would tend to indicate a poor memory or that you lack concentration.
The questions which you do ask can also give some indication of your character. For instance, if a question has obviously been given some thought, or is ‘penetrating’, interested as someone who can think, who is genuinely interested, and who may have a clear, logical mind. Your question(s) must be pertinent, relevant to the matter in hand. If you ask irrelevant or ‘petty’ questions, you will probably annoy the interviewer(s). The manner in which you ask questions is also important and can indicate personality traits; for example, if you ask questions confidently or hesitatingly or nervously. Of course, interviews can be nerve-wracking, but do try not to be ‘over-awed’ by the situation; try to remain composed and clear thinking.
Attributes interviewers will be seeking
Exactly what traits or attributes interviewers will be seeking, will, to a large extent, depend on the particular post(s) for which you are being interviewed and/or on how senior they are. For instance, for managerial or supervisory posts, interviewer(s) will be looking for leadership qualities (or their potential), the ability to think clearly and logically, the ability to plan, organise, co-ordinate and control the work of others, initiative, etc. Some posts call for the ability to work under pressure or to concentrate for long periods. Others call for a sense of responsibility, neatness, accuracy, manual dexterity, and other attributes.
One attribute usually looked for is the ability to get on well with others – workmates, juniors, seniors, clients/customers, suppliers, etc. No employer wants to take on someone whom he suspects will cause problems with other employees, or with other people with whom he or she will come into contact during the course of the work to be performed. You must – during an interview – demonstrate your ability and willingness to get on with others.
Other attributes which may be looked for may include being between certain ages, possessing a certain educational standard and/or skill or talent or having certain previous experience, or certain physical characteristics (i.e. good eye-sight, neat handwriting, etc.). The list is long and what prospective employers will look for in you, will depend on the particular posts concerned. However, if you possess any or all of the attributes which you consider are being sought, it is vital that you demonstrate that you do possess them.
Continued in the following post…