by Alberto Aleo
Personally I have never really appreciated those candidates who arrive at the interview dressed up as if they were going to a wedding. I have always wondered ‘don’t you think that’s a bit inappropriate?’. I can’t stand those who are late (even if they are only a few minutes late) or those who arrive too early. Arriving early is fine, in order to get ready and relax, but be careful not to ‘disturb’ your interviewer. Therefore wear simple and practical clothes in order to convey the impression that you are an efficient person, not some kind of dandy or showgirl. Arrive at least 5 minutes early to get familiar with the place; smile, socialize and be pleasant to the receptionist and to other possible candidates in the waiting room. This is where you can obtain a lot of information which could prove useful during the interview itself!
When I interview potential employees I like to ask lots of questions. Here is a list of my favourite ones, and some tips on how to answer. They are very common job interview questions so I suggest you consider how to answer beforehand.
- How do you plan to achieve your career goals within this company?
This question requires a well-structured answer which should include both the candidate’s professional plans and the ways in which these align with the company’s goals. Be careful not to give generic answers such as ‘I want to do my best’, ‘I like working in a team’ or ‘gaining experience is important for me’: be specific!
- What type of working experience are you looking for?
- What exactly are you expecting from this job?
- What do you think you can and will be able to achieve once you start?
Don’t be afraid to appear ‘less professional’ or less ambitious just because you are being specific. The important thing is that to the interviewer your answers sound sincere and real.
- What do you know about us?
Again, try to avoid standard answers such as ‘you are leaders’ or ‘I’ve always wanted to work with you’, or — even worse — ‘I don’t know much about your company because the job post only mentioned the role’. Try to explain what REALLY caught your attention. Before the interview, examine the employer’s website and all the material regarding the company which you can have access to (including what you find in the waiting room). Do some research on Linkedin and check out the profile of your interviewer (obviously once you have acquired the interviewer’s name).
Your aim is to identify the ‘uncommon qualities that you have in common’ with the company and the people in the organisation.
- Why do you want to leave your current job?
“I’m looking for a satisfying job, I want to find a job that allows me to improve myself…blah…blah…blah…”. Try to be clear and sincere. I have always appreciated applicants who give honest answers to this question.
I’m no longer satisfied with my job, I’d like a better salary, I want to use and develop a specific skill, etc…
My advice is to provide appropriate explanations when you mention some ‘negative aspects’ of your previous job. Remember to keep it positive. Therefore if you say ‘it wasn’t the right role for me’, you should add some positive comment like ‘I prefer a client facing position involving direct interaction with the clients’.
- Do you have any questions?
Even if you don’t have any, avoid keeping silent and say something like ‘I haven’t got any questions right now, I’m going to contact you to ask for updates about the selection’. In general it is useful to ask for some details about the job position and the short, medium and long-term objectives of the role, as well as to enquire about the following steps.
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Keep in mind the golden rule for all business meetings (which definitely include interviews): “good leaders ask questions”.
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Just think of when you invite someone for dinner, if you keep talking all the time the other person will think you are boring. Although you are the interviewees, allow your interviewers to talk about themselves and their companies.
Bear in mind the three keywords for a successful job interview: simplicity (express clear and understandable concepts), conciseness (keep it short and effective) and reliability (be punctual; balance topics, behaviour and attire). Make sure everything you say and express follow these principles. As for the rest, be genuine and ‘good luck’.
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