10 Interview mistakes, avoiding them, and how to dazzle the interview panel
So your CV has fought its way to the top of the pile, and you have been selected for an interview. Congratulations – it is a tough job market out there. But after drinking the champagne and jumping around the room, it is time to get to work and prepare yourself. You will need to put in some work if you want to ace that interview.
- Be authentic. Trying to be anything else is exhausting and they will find out eventually anyway. Lying, or attempting to be something you really aren’t will result in a disconnect that will probably alienate your interviewers as well. Just don’t do it – it is too easy to do background checks.
- Refresh your memory about what the job is, and why you said you would be good at it. Think of examples where you have solved problems or added value in a situation that you can relate to the job you want.
- Preparation is everything, so do more research. If you want a position in the exciting Print and Packaging industry, for example, then make sure you do plenty of research about the sector, and in particular, find out more about which segment the company you wish to join operates in.
- Do your research. Don’t even think about turning up to the interview without doing due diligence on the company that is interviewing you. Read everything, prepare to explain why you would be an asset to them, and of course have intelligent questions to ask (and not just about how much you will be paid, or when you can take a holiday). For more background read some trade publications, the company website, any press releases particularly concerning recent acquisitions etc. Watch company videos on YouTube which often give an insight into “behind the scenes” within a target company.
- Be punctual. Lateness will make a terrible first impression that you can never rectify. Again, research where you have to be, estimate how long it will take to get there – and double it. Leave at least that much time for the journey.
- Look the part. Think about your personal presentation, i.e. wardrobe. What kind of image would the person who gets this job be projecting? If you appear polished, this should help convince the interviewers and help you exude calm, collected confidence. As you arrived early, you will have plenty of time to freshen up.
- Don’t criticise other workplaces, or former bosses, as this will be perceived as negative and disloyal.
- Expect tough questions. Expect to be asked about how you deal with conflict, and prepare some professional examples that will demonstrate how you can resolve work difficulties – and that doesn’t mean fighting over the last doughnut in the tea room.
- Be polite. No matter how anyone on the panel behaves, conduct yourself with poise and courtesy to show them what a classy act you are.
- Do your homework. If you bring documents or case studies to support your professional achievements, then make sure they are presented impeccably. Find out how many people will be on the panel and bring copies for everyone, and a couple extra, just in case.
Athena Executive Search specialise in recruiting senior leadership positions in the Print and Packaging sectors across Europe. For interview tips and advice please contact us. For access to more articles on industry topics, recruitment and retention strategies, and our upcoming webinar series with industry thought leaders please subscribe here: https://athena50147.activehosted.com/f/1
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