[This post was brought to you on behalf of joininsurance.co.uk]
Sweaty palms and trembling hands, nervous tics and traffic jams – when you’ve finally won an interview for your dream job, it’s easy to focus on the things that could go wrong rather than concentrate on the elements of an interview you can control. Planning, preparation, a nice clean outfit and research are what it’s all about – that, and not using the interview time to show what an inconsiderate or socially unaware person you are!
Dianne McNaughton is a Resourcing Consultant for Direct Line Group, one of the largest employers of those looking for insurance jobs in the UK . She’s got some advice for anyone who’s made it to interview and is looking to impress – as well as some horror stories about job candidates who were completely clueless when it came to making the cut. It’s time to learn from their mistakes…
1. Leave your phone on during the interview : Dianne says, “During one interview a candidate’s mobile phone rang, and they reacted by saying “Oh, I need to answer this – it’s about a car I’m trying to buy”. They then took the next 5 minutes negotiating a price!” Not only is this incredibly unprofessional, it’s just plain rude. Switch your phone off, and make sure anything that’s liable to bleep, chirp or distract is on silent.
2. Turn up late: A late arrival is a warning signal that you’re not punctual or overly concerned with giving a good impression, so it’s worth having a dry run to the office before your interview so you know the best route and roughly how long it takes. Be early, but don’t be too early! It puts pressure on the interviewer to get to you, and hanging around in the lobby while you wait for them isn’t going to help your nerves. Arriving with about ten to fifteen minutes to spare should give you and your interviewer time to prepare.
3. Appearances aren’t everything: Sure, you need to sit up straight and turn up looking smart, but you also need to make sure your teeth are brushed and you’re fresh – so Dianne recommends you don’t smoke before the interview. Or actually during it: “Before the smoking ban a candidate arrived for interview, sat down, then proceeded to light a cigarette. The interviewer said “I’m sorry, but…” indicating that the candidate should put out the smoky distraction. The candidate replied with, “Oh, I’m sorry…Would you like a cigarette?”
And the biggest don’t?
Of all the don’ts, the biggest is probably ‘Don’t be negative’! Think about examples, in advance, of situations which you may be able to use for competency based questions and prepare to use the opportunity at interview to promote your experience, skills, strengths and personality – not to down-talk your former job, or complain about the way you’ve been treated by other employers.
Dianne recalls one candidate, who was being interviewed for a customer service role, putting his foot in his mouth when talking down about his last job: “he said, “I didn’t really enjoy it because I had to deal with all these old birds [slang for older ladies] who used to do my head in.” Badmouthing reflects badly on you – if you couldn’t deal with some ‘old birds’ then, do you have the right attitude to deal with customers on a daily basis?