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When you know the name of the potential employer

When you attend the first interview for a position you may know the name of the employer either because the company has placed the advertisement itself or the recruitment company has placed its client’s logo in the advertisement. In this case you need to research the company on the internet and in the marketplace (if you have the contacts) and if it is a public company, through its annual reports. You should have a clear idea of its products, ownership, structure (state, national, multinational or global), markets and customers. However, it is important not to swamp yourself with detail, as you won’t have the opportunity in an initial interview to go into depth.

Just as important is for you to have a clear idea of what you want to know about the company and its people by the time you complete the first interview so that you can make a decision about whether you want to proceed to the next interview if you have the opportunity.

When you don’t know the name of the potential employer

Often your first interview for a position will be with a recruitment consultant who will be working to a set procedure. The larger the recruitment company and the more inexperienced the recruiter, the more obvious will be the procedure. Generally the more experienced recruiters offer more information about companies and markets and industry sectors. In these circumstances you need to have a clear picture of the job and company before you leave the interview. Therefore you need to leave the interview with the a similar amount of information as if you had researched the company beforehand.

On rare occasions you may leave the first interview without knowing the name of the potential employer. This can occur for one of two reasons, namely:

  • The company, for reasons of confidentiality may not want its name disclosed.
  • A position does not exist. While advertising positions which do not exist is unethical, the practice does occur. If you are certain this is the case, we advise that you let the interviewer know how you feel and not to deal with that company again.

Personal presentation and grooming

People in the business of recruiting, whether they are consultants or employers; really want their interview of you to be successful. They want to know that potentially they have found the solution to their position vacancy in you. Therefore it is important for you not to give them any reason to knock you out of the process before the interview starts.

Key points about presentation and personal grooming:

  • Make every effort to attend the interview in full business attire (suit and tie for males and business suit for females). If you are a tradesperson or have to wear a corporate uniform, at the time of arranging the appointment, let the interviewer know that you will be coming straight from a production floor, construction site etc and won’t be able to change clothes. Wherever possible, make enough time to change to present yourself at your best.
  • Call into the bathroom first to check that your grooming is at its best.
  • Choose an interview time when you will be most relaxed and able to focus on your preparation.
  • Present yourself in a professional and warm manner to reception. Receptionists can be asked for their opinion at times. They may give their opinion unasked for at times if they feel particularly good about their interaction with you, or if their interaction was particularly negative.
  • Don’t sit while waiting in reception. Getting out of a chair can look ungainly.

If the weather is cold and your hands are cold, warm them while you are waiting in reception.

  • Ensure your hands are not clammy. This can be taken as excessive nervousness whether it is or not the case.
  • Shake hands firmly enough. A limp handshake implies timidity. An excessively firm power handshake suggests insecurity and/or a desire to dominate.
  • Make eye contact when you meet and shake hands with the interviewer.

Don’t be late for the interview

If you are not five minutes early, you are late. If for some reason, you are late, phone ahead and advise what time you think you will arrive, ascertain whether your time of arrival is acceptable and will not further disadvantage you by shortening the interview. If you believe that you will be disadvantaged by the limited time remaining for your interview, reschedule if that is possible.

Don’t be too early for the interview

If you are half an hour early, this may be seen as excessive anxiety or poor time management. If you are half an hour early, don’t present yourself at reception until ten minutes before the agreed interview time.

a. Preparing for the interview
b. Typical interview questions

d. What to do during the interview
e. What to do after the interview