15 Oct 2015

Interview Ettiquette 101

So, if you have been for as many interviews as I have then you can't help but notice a certain pattern emerging. I am 30 now and you are probably thinking why don't I have a carefully thought out career path by now? Believe me, that is what EVERYONE thinks and when you get to my age there is no hiding that opinion. But the very simple answer is; I don't actually know what I want to do yet! However, I quite like being a 'Jack of all trades' as the saying goes.

I did English as my chosen degree subject and unless I want to do an extra year of learning to become a teacher, it doesn't really help me out a lot. Don't get me wrong, I have a lot of admiration for the teachers out there, but for me, I couldn't imagine anything worse! I hated school and couldn't even be paid to go back there!

The career advice that I gleamed at college was just 'Do what you enjoy'. But looking back, what I really wish they had said was 'Do what will earn you a comfortable living'. Which for me would be a full wardrobe and the whole Chanel makeup counter. If I was put in that position again, I would have definitely gone with my head rather than my heart, and chosen something that interested me but also had a specific vocation attached to it that would comfortably keep me in Mulberry handbags for the rest of my life.

Anyway, if you have an interview coming up I understand it can be a nerve wracking time, you will be asking yourself things like; will they be expecting a handshake or am I even right for this job. So here are some handy hints to keep in mind:
  1. Research - Research the company. Anything you can find, usually on their websites they will have a mantra and some history surrounding them. In a couple of interviews this has come up and it really isn't a thing you can just wing! Believe me, I know!

  2. Plan ahead - Plan everything, even down to your bus route. And always have a backup. There is nothing worse than mentally planning an outfit and when you come to put it on it looks like you have got dressed in the dark! Or en route there are planned engineering works on that train line you wanted to get.

  3. The look - This is very important. First impressions and all that. I have found that if you dress similar to what you would be expected to wear in the working environment you are half way there. For example, if you are working with food, wear your hair up with no nail polish, minimal jewellery and a natural face. If the role involves being a bit more done up, maybe incorporate a red lip. I know when I went for an air hostess job (and got it may I add!) a friend had advised me to wear my hair in a smart bun because it makes visualisation easier as you will be always required in that role to have long hair pinned back. No matter what job it is never wear anything too garish, and when you are choosing your outfit, go for neutral colours like black, navy or grey. And lastly, the one thing to always wear, is a smile. Friendliness is key. Not too friendly mind! But the employer will be gauging whether or not they want, and will be able to work with you from the moment you step foot in the door.

  4. Practice the STAR method  (Situation Task Action Result) - There are always going to be questions where they will ask you for a time when you have demonstrated a certain skill. Perfect these, remember them, and you will never be stuck. An example of this would be 'Demonstrate a time when you have worked as part of a team'. Using STAR, describe the situation, the task at hand, what YOU did and then the outcome. Try and make it a positive one! Also remember to always address the person who is asking you the question, but always keeping a certain amount of eye contact with all interviewers.

  5. Don't panic - Probably the most important thing to remember. The interviewers aren't ogres..usually, so if you are stuck don't be afraid to ask for clarification. If in doubt, include everything that you might feel is relevant and be innovative.
If you are unsuccessful it is not the end of the world. I always say to myself it's the experience that counts. I mean, how are you meant to get good at something if you don't practice? Anyway, I hope this has helped, and good luck!

Love, Jo.


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