When you get an interview date for the promotion you’ve been looking for or the dream job that you’d tentatively applied for, you may well rub your hands together in glee thinking your CV has landed you the job already.
Think again. Just because you have great experience doesn’t necessarily mean you can do a great interview. “The more experience you have, the more difficult it is to get it across in a short space of time. Just because the last interview you had was a success doesn’t mean the next one will be. You really need to concentrate on each one,” says Denise Gavin, a human resources consultant and interview coach based in Co Clare.
Preparation is key and people have 30 to 45 minutes to make an impression. “You should never go into an interview room and be answering some of the most basic questions for the first time.
“If you haven’t had a chance to think about it and prepare, you’ll have a conversation for 30 or 45 minutes, but when you’re driving home you’ll think you should have told them about this, that and the other.” At that stage it’s too late.
If you’re unsure during the interview as to what you’ve been asked, it’s better to ask for a clarification of the question. At the same time, says Gavin, “Don’t be afraid of silence. When the question is asked, just take the time, think about it and respond.” It’s not a quiz where you’ve to respond straight away.
While shy people may feel they will lose out at an interview to a confident candidate, Gavin says, sometimes those who spend more time preparing may end up doing a better interview than someone with all the confidence in the world.
Interview on cue
Denise Gavin has rules of thumb for preparing for an interview:
• Get as much information as possible from the job ad or job description to equip yourself. The job spec will include required experience and things of an interpersonal perspective they are looking for.
• Look at your CV, look at the job description and tick off what you do and don’t have experience of and figure out where your gaps are as per the job description. You also have to put effort into how you are going to overcome these gaps.
• You need to know your CV well and be able to speak very confidently and comfortably about everything on it from your education to your work experience.
• Find a bit out about the company. You can go to its website or ring the company and ask for a brochure or talk to someone you know who works there.
• Do the above and your confidence will increase allowing you to get across in 30 minutes what might have taken you an hour and a half without preparation.