What makes a perfect job interview?

For those who are looking for work or want to improve their current work situation, it is fundamental to dedicate some time to get ready for a meeting with recruiters.

It’s very common for candidates within a selection process to have a passive attitude and think that all the load in the interview must be carried by the recruiter, but it should not be so. Precisely, the thing which in a given situation can skew the decision of those responsible of the process in favor of a candidacy is having had an active attitude during the course of the interview.

This active attitude is not only determined by the concrete moment of the dialogue, on-site, during the interview, but by the previous ripening of those factors that can lead us to the optimal resolution of the situation. When it comes to recruiting we can indicate a series of behaviors that the candidate should have in mind before, during and after a job interview.

We will divide the process into several parts which will go from the preparation of the global aspects that can have a certain amount of influence when it comes to optimizing the result of the interview, up until the first contact with the recruiter. We will later explain the development of the interview.

  1. Preparation

  • Knowledge of their curriculum: The candidate must keep up to date, in his memory, every aspect of his personal and professional trajectory. This means that he must remember dates and should be able to give arguments in order to explain every aspect in his curriculum.
  • Means by which the candidate found out about the process of selection in a company: It’s not always the case that being informed of the possibility of entering a selection process happens through an online ad of a website, but sometimes the information reaches the candidate through friends, the Chamber of Commerce, work agencies and so on.
  • Analyzing the post that will be covered: The candidate should make an analysis of the ad if there is one, as well as the required profile to fill the post. This is, the characteristics, aptitudes, attitudes and so on that the chosen person should have. This way we will be able to have an idea of the viability of a candidacy.
  • Preparing a dossier: The candidate should prepare all the documentation that could be required from him by the company, such as a curriculum, copies of degrees and certificates, references from previous employers and so on.
  • Good questions about the post and the company should be prepared: The candidate should have several questions prepared, to ask the recruiter about features of the position and the company that are interesting to him, when it comes to making a decision about that particular job offer. This way, he will show a positive attitude and interest for the job and the work environment in which he will potentially develop.
A bizarre job interview_jason hanold_

Image courtesy of Quinn Dombrowski at Flickr.com

  1. Personal presentation

The person that attends a selection process must be very careful about the external image they convey.

  • They should be neat and discreet looking: It’s not convenient to wear very light colors, since any stain will be more visible.
  • Clothing should be adequate to the position you are opting for: The way of dressing should always be adequate according to the position, however it’s convenient to go as well-dressed as possible.
  • Don’t wear anything too flashy or controversial: The candidate should not wear any kind of cologne, or jewelry that is too flashy, among others, which can provoke an unconsciously negative attitude in the recruiter.
  • He should not only worry about what is seen, but of what is “smelled”: The final impression depends on every factor, which is why smells such as the ones given by alcohol or tobacco can truly damage a candidate’s image.
  1. Time of the appointment

  • The candidate should be there approximately five or 10 minutes before the appointment: It is not convenient to arrive with more than 10 minutes of anticipation, because a long waiting time can provoke nervousness in the candidate.
  • The candidate should never be late for an interview: It is not justifiable to show up to the appointment late. If we can foresee that this is going to happen, we should try to change the time or give notice of our tardiness with advance.
  • Don’t ask questions about the interview during the waiting time: The candidate should not ask about any aspect of the interview when talking to the rest of the candidates or the company staff during the waiting time. This can condition his attitude towards the interview or the interviewer.
  1. First moments

    This part refers to the moment in which the first contact between the candidate and the interviewer takes place, before the interview starts unfold.

  • Never take the lead: The direction of the interview is the interviewer’s job, hence the candidate should not acquire that role.
  • Shake hands firmly: The way you shake hands denotes vitality and attitude. The candidate should shake hands with the interviewer firmly, with not very little nor a lot of energy, and looking straight at his face.
  1. The interview

  • Listen actively: The candidate should pay attention to everything the interviewer says and he should ask for explanations or to repeat any questions that he may not have understood.
  • Let the interviewer finish the questions he’s asking: The candidate should not interrupt the interviewer or rush to answering until he doesn’t really know what it is that he wants to know.
  • Take the time to answer. The candidate should take the time he needs to give an answer, that way he will show that he’s a reflective person.
  • He should have valid arguments: The candidate should adequately argue everything that he states during the interview. Otherwise, he can convey sensations of insecurity or falseness.
  • Deal with the silences: The candidate should not be impatient and he should remain calm during silences. He must not forget that the interviewer is the one who directs the interview.
  • Use adequate expressions: The candidate should watch the expressions he uses and, above all, he should not use any expression that can belittle the capacity of the interviewer, such as “do you understand?”
  • Avoid bringing up personal issues: The candidate should avoid personal issues such as politics, affiliations, religion, private life and so on. If the interviewer asks questions that are too personal and the candidate prefers not to answer, it is not convenient to react aggressively. A simple apology and a statement that says you prefer not to answer should suffice.
  • Be critical and constructive: The candidate should always speak well of his previous companies, bosses and coworkers.
  • If the candidate has no professional experience, he should take advantage of his youth, vitality, and eagerness to work
  • Don’t be neutral during the interview: The candidate should prove to the interviewer that he is interested about the position by asking the questions that he has previously prepared regarding said position and the company.
  • Take care of the nonverbal communication: The candidate should make moderate gestures, leaning forward to give more strength and support to what he’s saying. Likewise, he should look at the interviewer in the face during the course of the interview.

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