The job interview: some guidelines
The job interview is the most important moment in the selection process, requiring maximum concentration and excellent preparation.
Arrive on time, look your best and above all learn all about the company and the position you’re applying for. Gather information about the company in order to understand its context and target market. Find out who you’ll be meeting and their role in the company.
You must be aware that to be successful in an interview it’s not enough to just to “recount” the skills you’ve acquired during your studies or work experience, but rather do it in the right way, effectively, demonstrating motivation and interest in the company and the position you’re applying for, and, most difficult of all, why they should choose you.
Shyness and nerves can play tricks on you, so it’s important to come to a job interview prepared in order to minimise the risk of making mistakes or making a bad impression that could jeopardise a successful selection. The interview may be done in person, by telephone or online, but the rules for dealing with it are the same.
Here are some skills that HR managers look for most in candidates right from the first meeting:
The 10 rules for a top job interview
- Arrive informed. Arrive at the interview informed about the company and the job you’re applying for, the person you’ll meet and their role in the company.
- The importance of being on time. It’s a good idea to show up 5-10 minutes before the interview, and never late.
- Clothing. Dress in a manner appropriate to the company’s style, preferring serious, formal attire.
- Know how to talk about yourself. Present the skills, experience, strengths and traits that make you the right candidate for the job you're applying for.
- If the interview is by telephone , choose a quiet location and make sure you have enough time.
- If the interview is online , prepare your surroundings so that they’re orderly, quiet and well lit. Make sure that the tools (internet, audio, video) work, and present yourself as if the interview were being held in person.
- If the interview is in a group setting, the aim is to assess your interpersonal skills and your ability to interact with the group, so don’t stay on the sidelines but also avoid assuming a domineering role. Read the test and keep the focus on the role and objectives of the test.
- Relate properly. With the recruiter, remain composed, look them in the eye, listen to the questions, speak calmly and answer briefly but precisely. Show an interest in the position you’re applying for, and ask questions to better understand what it entails.
- The 3 Cs: consistency, clarity and curiosity. Try to be consistent and not to contradict yourself. Clarity is key, and if you get the chance ask a few questions about the company and the job. Remember that curiosity denotes motivation. Don't be deceitful, always be honest and transparent.
- Motivation and positivity. Your motivation must be carefully conveyed. Tell why you’re interested in the job, the company and the opportunity offered. Talk positively about past work experiences. Do not speak ill of former co-workers and employers. Do not instinctively refuse a different job if it is offered to you at the end of the interview: the recruiter may have perceived skills or aptitudes that are suitable for another position.
Don’t forget that the selection process goes both ways: you must not acquiesce to the recruiter or not ask those questions that will help you understand whether you really want to work for that company or in that particular job.
Video job interviews: some tips
Practical and fast, shortening distances and done anywhere: video or online job interviews are a tool available to everybody that allows the candidate to cut travel costs while at the same time making it possible for the recruiter to go through applications effectively, quickly and cheaply.
The most widely used platform for video interviewing is Skype, but other tools such as WhatsApp, Google Meet, Teams and Zoom are also used.
While digital communications have difficulty conveying some human traits that are expressed during in-person interviews, video job interviews should not be underestimated. The basic rules for impressing the recruiter are the same as for standard job interviews, with the addition of a few tricks to make the best of the situation.
The rules for an effective video interview
- Prepare the surroundings. Choose a place that is suitable for an interview: orderly, quiet and well lit. Make sure you’re not disturbed: warn your family and housemates, disconnect your phone and make sure there are no other electronic devices that can disturb you. The environment should be as neutral and professional as possible.
- Look your best. Dress as if the interview were in person, pay attention to every detail and choose clothing that is appropriate to the job you’re applying for.
- Maintain eye contact. Remember not to look at the screen but at the camera, looking your recruiter in the eye. Sit straight, smile and don’t wave your hands. Act as you would if you were in a face-to-face interview.
- Pay attention to details. Create a professional account (name.surname) and check the quality of the camera and connection. Use headphones and a microphone to avoid interference with surrounding noise.
- Practice. Practice by simulating the interview with a friend and record it. See how you look, whether the surroundings are appropriate and if the devices work properly.