Young Academic Career Guides: Interview Tips

Here at Young Academic, it is our quest to provide you with student news, advice, tools and support. Read this invaluable information from Meet The Real Me, who give you some great tips on what to do and of course not to do at your job interview.

With today’s high unemployment levels, brushing up on your interview skills can be the fine line between endless job-seeking and job success. In today’s competitive market, why are so many candidates still failing to grasp the basics? Marc Fels, director at video recruitment specialist Meet The Real Me, shares his experience of interview horrors during his years of prepping candidates.

Meet The Real Me’s Top 10 Interview Faux Pas

1.   A complete lack of knowledge about the company and/or job

2.   Lying on your CV

3.   Arriving late

4.   Calling the interviewer ‘mate’

5.   Asking the interviewer out for a drink (yes – this has happened!)

6.   Wearing too many piercings (only the visible ones of course!), or a general untidy appearance

7.   Excessive body odour, or smelling of cigarettes and/or last night’s alcohol

8.   Giving vague, non-descript answers

9.   Showing a lack of enthusiasm for the role

10. Arrogance – some candidates appear to think they are far above the positions they’re applying for

Amid national job cuts and reports that 69 candidates are chasing every graduate job, today’s employers are increasingly ruthless. If a candidate fails to impress at interview, they won’t be called for a second meeting, no matter how perfect they might seem on paper. No matter the qualifications, high job competition at all levels means the value of communication skills, passion and personality should never be underestimated.

Marc Fels comments: “Over the last 10 years of working closely with leading employers I have heard some shocking stories. As a video recruitment specialist, it’s very rewarding now to be able to show candidates exactly where they’re going wrong and work to improve interview technique, preparing for success.

“It may seem a cliché, but when it comes to securing that all-important second interview, failing to prepare really is preparing to fail. A CV can tick all the right boxes, but if the candidate doesn’t make the right impression, the first meeting will spell the end of their success.”

Video CVs are the perfect way to show employers the personality and communication skills that impress at an interview. Companies working with this technology report that having a way to assess communication skills alongside qualifications impacts hugely on the whole recruitment process.

Lesley Kemp, personnel and development representative from Admedia, says that video CVs have “evolved Admedia’s recruitment process”. She explains: “As well as matching a certain skills base, we have identified five key attributes that our people must have. With energy and straightforwardness being two of those qualities, without the Meet The Real Me approach it would be near-on impossible to measure our candidates.”

Top tips to avoid the shockers and shine your way to interview success:

1.   Arrive at the interview at least 10 minutes early. This gives you the chance to read over your notes and relax, while showing the employer you’re punctual and reliable.

2.   When the interviewer enters the room, stand up, shake their hand and smile!

3.   Eye contact shows an employer that you’re interested, focused and confident. You don’t need to stare the interviewer in the eye for the whole interview, but don’t look at the ceiling or the floor for the whole time either!

4.   Body language is a form of non-verbal communication, so it’s important you don’t give off the wrong message. Sit up straight, retain eye contact, place hands on lap, and don’t fidget or fiddle with a pen or your CV.

5.   Make sure you show that you’re really interested in the role, even if on first impression you’re not. You might think differently tomorrow!

6.   Some employers have a dress code (jacket and tie or a suit with smart polished shoes, for example). Many do not set a style, but still want to show their clients that they care and are professional, so prefer ‘smart casual’. This often causes the biggest dilemma, as it is not clear what it means. Put simply, smart shirt with trousers (or skirt) and shoes – not trainers!

7.   If you’re not sure, dress smartly. If you’re in a T-shirt, jeans and trainers and everyone else is in a suit, you’re going to stick out like a sore thumb. If you’re in a smart suit and everyone else isn’t, the interviewer is not going to mind. Actually, they’ll respect you for the effort you made – which is good!

8.   Remember to smile!

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