When preparing a candidate for an interview it is always good to remind them of the five P’s!
What are the five P’s?
Prior preparation prevents poor performance!
Being well prepared will ensure they come across as the best candidate for the job. This will also help your candidate to be better composed, confident and competent.
In preparing for an interview, it is vital that your candidate does their homework on the company that they are going to for an interview.
They should make sure they have prepared questions and that they use the opportunity to interview the employer.
It is a two-way street, and in this candidate driven market it is important for them to use that time to make sure they are happy with the information they gather from that meeting, too.
Encouraging your candidate to prepare well will help them to avoid asking dumb questions such as: what does your company do? Pre-interview research should have answered this most fundamental query.
Questions about pay, benefits, and other self-interest items should be asked only after they’ve received a job offer.
Questions that send the wrong message at the first interview stage include: What is the salary? How often are your salary reviews? What pension schemes do you have in place?
Do you have a good profit-sharing plan? Etc. etc.
You also don’t want your candidate asking questions such as: How much vacation time would I get? Would I have to work overtime? How many sick days do employees get?
The answer to these questions is invariably covered in the offer letter or contract of employment.
Your candidate should be prepared for questions that require competency-based examples from their past.
Again, get them to try and think about those questions before they go for the interview. The old-fashioned strengths and weaknesses [questions] are still there but in a more scientific way. So, try and get them to think of ways to demonstrate those to their prospective employer, backed up with competency-based examples from their career to date.
Get your candidate to think about how they can display where they have excelled, made a difference, come up with an innovative idea or have adapted to change or leadership.
Things not to be done during the interview include chewing gum, sucking on a water bottle and not having a mobile phone on silent or better still switched off. It is also a mistake to badmouth previous employers, workmates, jobs, lecturers or tutors.
It’s true to say that job interviews can make even the most confident person nervous, but a little bit of preparation goes a long way. Sometimes candidates can let themselves down at the interview stage by doing or saying some crazy things that you just cannot plan for.
I have picked out my top 10 of the most amusing ones that I have come across.
1. One candidate without asking had a sip of the interviewer’s tea.
2. Another one hugged the interviewer at the end of the interview.
3. Applicant refused to sit down and insisted on being interviewed standing up.
4. Candidate commented that he would do whatever it takes to get the job done, legal or not.
5. When asked why he wanted to leave his current employment one candidate said that he had worked for his Mum for three years, but it was now time for a change!
6. When asked the question where do you see yourself in five years’ time a graduate replied “Student today. Vice president tomorrow.”
7. An interviewee was asked what person they would most like to meet, living or dead, and their response was the living one.”
8. One interviewee mistook one of the female interviewer for a man! Not good!
9. When asked who the best person would be to contact for references a candidate responded ‘please do not contact my immediate supervisor at the company. My colleagues will give me a better reference.”
10. And finally, when an interviewee was asked the reason for leaving they responded I would still be at the company if some muppet hadn’t snitched on me.
Recruiters can also get it wrong with clients. A bit of self-deprecation here; one Friday I visited a blue-chip client in central London, the HR director greeted me in a corduroy suit. I said oh I see your company has a dress down Friday policy; she said no why do you ask?
Ouch! Needless to say, I did not win the business.
P.S. General tips for answering questions
Most interviews start with introductions and informal conversation followed by questions from the interviewer or interview panel, and then a chance for you to ask questions.
Speak clearly and vary your tone to show you are interested and enthusiastic.
Take time to think about each question before answering so that you can give a good response.
Listen to questions carefully and let the interviewer lead the conversation. If you don’t understand a question, ask for it to be explained or repeated.
Be diplomatic and discreet, and don’t criticise previous employers or co-workers.
Give examples from your experience that demonstrate your knowledge and skills.
Show confidence in your skills and be positive about what you have done. For example, instead of using phrases such as “I only have…” or “I don’t have…” tell the employer what you do have to offer.
Thought For The Day
“It’s not the will to win that matters. Everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters, which few have.”