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One of the most nerve-wracking parts of any Job Search is the interview process.  The job market is definitely getting more competitive, so making a positive and lasting impression during your interview is more important than ever before! You have been selected for interview based on your skills and experience, so don’t ruin it by making a bad impression at this stage.

Personal presentation

It is said that you have 10 seconds upon meeting someone to make your first impression. You have been selected for interview based on your skills and experience, so don’t ruin it by making a bad impression at your interview

–      dress appropriately for the interview . . . it sounds obvious, but if you are interviewing for a position in an office, wear office attire; a smart dress, suit, skirt or trousers are all fine and it is always better to be overdressed than under-dressed. Minimum jewelry, smart polished shoes and nothing too revealing.

Something we hear regularly from our clients in Cayman is that candidates have obviously made the effort to dress up in their favorite outfit, however it really isn’t appropriate for day time office wear. It is actually just as bad to look like you are ready for a night out as it is to have made no effort at all.

–      Good time keeping is essential as employers will make a judgment on your future commitment based on your timekeeping at the interview. Make sure that you leave ample time to get to your interview and we suggest arriving a few minutes early. However, don’t turn up half any more than 10 minutes early as it can be awkward for clients, who have other commitments or may be interviewing other candidates.

–      Ensure that your cell phone or Blackberry is switched off completely . . . or better still, leave it at home! Using a cell phone or BlackBerry during an interview only indicates to the interviewer a general lack of respect and good judgment, and no matter how informal your interview, it would indicate to your prospective employer that if hired, you would probably be using your phone for personal calls and emails during working hours.
So make sure before your interview that your phone is switched off, or at the very least that it is put on mute and won’t be vibrating in your bag or pocket (vibrating is just as bad as a ringtone.)

–      Some clients will Google prospective candidates so please make sure that your facebook and other social media sites are managed correctly. We aren’t suggesting that you delete your profiles or pictures, but it’s better to be safe than sorry! Ensure that your profile is set to “private”, so that your information cannot be viewed by anyone other than your friends.

Research

Before you go for your interview do as much research as you can; you should always find out everything you can about the company and if possible who’s interviewing you, and also go through your resume, so that you can think about your skills and qualifications and how they are suited to the position you are interviewing for. The most important thing you can do in an interview is to convince the interviewer that you have the right skills and requirements for the job.

Also, ensure that you have prepared details of referees from your previous positions to provide to the client. At CML, we require written references from your two most recent employers and we will follow these up with a call. If you know that your old boss has left the organization, make sure that you have researched where they are now and have contact details to present to the client.

Answering and Asking Questions

Keep your answers to the point, you don't want to bore the interviewer!

Always remember that the interview is not only a chance for the interviewer to assess if you are the right person for the job, but it is also an opportunity for you to see if the job and the company are the right fit for you.  During the interview you should make sure that as well as answering all of their questions you also ask your own, when appropriate of course.  Ask questions that show you’re interested in the position and want to learn more about it, such as ‘What are the main tasks and responsibilities of this post?’. Also never sell yourself short, make sure you are getting across you strengths and attributes and why you are right for this role.

Don’t ask questions such as ‘how long will I have for lunch’ or ‘do we leave early on a Friday’ at this stage. It gives the impression that you aren’t interested in the job, but just about how it might impact on your personal plans. Of course for many people – particularly those with childcare arrangements to think about – these are valid questions, but make sure you explain why this is important information for you.

You will often be asked about your strengths and weaknesses, so prepare this in advance. It is important to be able to identify your weaknesses, but try to turn them into a positive, for example you could say that you tend to be a little quiet and reserved at work so say that you are a little shy – but once people get to know you, they soon see that you are loyal, discreet and a good listener.

Confidence and honesty are so important. If you are asked a question and you don’t know the answer, admit that rather than making something up that will more than likely be completely wrong . . .  the interviewer will be more impressed by you this way! Equally, if you left a previous job under a cloud, you need to think carefully about how to address this at interview. You will always be asked why you moved on from one company and often the answer will be to progress to another role. However if there were any issues in your old job, be honest (employers will invariably check up on this) but also if you had a problem with your previous boss, don’t say that you hated your boss and couldn’t work with them any longer! We all have to work with people we wouldn’t necessarily choose as our friends, so think about another way of communicating the issues that existed.

And finally, remember that it is not just the hiring manager you meet that will be assessing you. When you meet with a consultant at CML, this is also an interview, so all of the above advice applies to your meeting with us as we will be recommending you to our clients. Equally, when you have a client interview, be polite and courteous to everyone you meet whilst you are there; from the receptionist to the CEO, as one negative experience can impact on your opportunity for success!

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