Transcript: Top 10 Tips for Maximising your job interview potential

Kevin: So welcome back again to the Maximise Potential podcast. Today I’m going to be interviewing Jo Taylor who is the group marketing executive for the Jenrick Recruitment Group. Jo and Philip Fanthom who is MD of Jenrick IT recently Volunteer their time over at Kingston University to help graduates in what is called a “boot camp.” It is a two day intensive interview and job hunting skill workshop and seminar program that graduates volunteered to go on over at Kingston. Philip decided to volunteer his time to actually sit on interviewing panel and give his expert opinion on how well these grads are doing after interviews. Off the back of that, he came back to the offices with Jo and put together a definitive top 10 guide of hints and tips to help not just the grads on boot camp improve their interview skills, but any grad who is currently looking for a job.

So, over to Jo now who’s going to introduce one by one these top 10 tips. Hi Jo!

Jo: Hello Kevin and thank you for taking time to see me today. Yes we managed to put together a 10-point list which as you said is not just targeted to those students who were at the boot camp, but it is also for any people or any student that is looking for jobs at the moment. Indeed, it is interview advice the general public can also find advantageous to listen to.

ï?· The first point, number one is dress. Dress smartly. It doesn’t matter if you’re going for a graphic designer position, a cleaner position, or an executive assistant position. Always go in smart business dress. Men, always make sure they are clean shaven and they have a tie with that suit. Also make sure, for the ladies, that your makeup is neutral and have a limited amount of jewelry.

ï?· Research the company and find out who you’re going to meet. Research the person you’re going to meet, and the Army are going to be working in. Do some research on them. Also consider doing a strengths weaknesses opportunities and threat analysis on the company. You’ll be amazed how you can drop in these little points during the conversation and they may set you apart from other candidates. Also, show that you’ve researched the company by asking generic questions for example:
So how did you achieve your recent award?
Was it difficult to achieve?
Do you intend to go into that award again this year?

ï?· Answer common questions. This interviewer is going to be looking at your CV, the course you’ve taken, why did you take that course, your dissertation subject, why you chose that subject. Highlight your achievements. These are all key areas you can use in the interview experience to highlight why you have chosen different areas in your general direction in which take your career.

ï?· Handshake. A clean firm handshake both at the beginning and the end of the interview. Try and look the person in the eye whilst you are shaking their hands as it shows sincerity.

ï?· Eye contact. If you are being interviewed by a panel of people, insure that you retain eye contact with all people, not just the person who specifically asked you a question. This ensures that they are all listening and are interested in what you’re saying and also enables you to drop in a quick smile every now and again. It will make you feel a lot more comfortable.

ï?· Don’t fidget. Avoid playing with pens or pieces of paper during the interview. It’s a good idea however to take in a copy of your CV in any company brochures or information along with him. Put the items on the floor beside you and have them ready to refer to when it comes to you being able to ask questions.

ï?· Posture. It is very important that you sit up right and as I said earlier maintain eye contact. Look energetic, enthused, and look interested. Show that you want the job.

ï?· Smile. Again, it sounds very minor but it is something very small but if you smile at somebody they are more likely to smile back, which will help you and put you at ease during the interview process, which as we all know can be rather nerve-racking.

ï?· Ideally, switch your mobile phone off and leave it outside the interview room as it may cause a distraction. If not, put it on silent but ensure that it is away from you and unlikely to distract you during your interview.

ï?· Competency-based interviewing may not be something that you’re familiar with but more and more companies are using it these days during the interview process. Say how you did something, how you completed the research for your degree, and how it impacted on the project. If you have any work experience, you might want to show how you did a certain project, how you did a piece of customer service for example, and what impact it had on the customer.

That is it, Kevin! That is my 10th bullet points that will hopefully help the students and the general public when seeking employment.

Kevin: Perfect, Jo. I really appreciate that. Just to recap, all of this information that you put together today is very much coming from the live examples that Phil particularly saw when he was on the interview panels. So, I guess I can accept that although he probably saw in the region of a dozen different people that I think the points that you picked up on are probably relevant and proportionate to all of the graduates seeking their roles right now.

Jo: Absolutely! In fact, Phil and I were actually separated during the interview process and put on different panels. We had a discussion afterwards and we had the same points, so they are very widespread. Maybe not all of the students did all of the 10 points, but at lease one or two was achieved by every student during the interview process.

Kevin: Yeah, I know what you mean, it is probably a case of each one is probably got a couple of those traits within their armory. Someone was probably sitting there fidgeting with a piece of paper, someone turned up a bit too casually dressed, that type of thing…

Jo: Absolutely, we did have a number of students that showed up.. A couple of the guys didn’t have ties on, a couple of the girls had rather a bit too much makeup on or rather too much jewelry. In terms of if they were coming to interview for Jenrik for example there were definitely things that would be going against a candidate, so there are things that they do need to bear in mind.

Kevin: I think also for discussions we’ve had as well, people underestimate the power of your attitude and your enthusiasm within your first interview in particular. I think a lot of the first interview or, more importantly being invited back for a second interview, is actually based on your attitude.

So people can actually use the eye contact, do a firm handshake, and be full of enthusiasm, even if they didn’t quite tick all of the boxes from the skill capacity, from an attitude basis, their chances of being invited back are far higher.

Jo: Absolutely! The other thing I would highly suggest is the research on the company… thoroughly reading the job description going there showing that you know about the company and about the job and why you would be so good for that job I think are key things that really do set candidates apart.

When we interview candidates, or pre-interview candidates, we do ensure that they are ready for their interview with the clients by ensuring they know the company website, the person that they are meeting, ideally a bit of background information on the person they are meeting, and I think every little bit of information you can get. You can go in and you can just drop something slight in the conversation, for example at Jenrik, we’ve achieved the Times Top 100 award. That can easily be dropped in the conversation. And, again, it just reiterates to that client you’ve taken the time and you are interested.

Kevin: And that you’ve gone that extra mile! That makes a lot of sense.

Jo: Absolutely!

Kevin: Like a lot of the resources that we put on maximize potential, we are going make sure we put this top 10 list writeup on the website page so that people have this on the website that they can refer to. You’re more than welcome to take the toys away as well as listen to this podcast time and time again so they can get those points clear in the head. The clear rule we want to leave everyone with is: practice. Practice, practice, practice. Go on a mock interview. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing the interview with your friends, but you’ll feel better with practice. I think the point that you and Phil came back with a particular was that you could see how nervous these grads were, and if they can get over their nerves, then they will probably at their same time be able to concentrate on the top tips that you’ve put together.

Jo: And, hopefully, by that little bit of preparation, they will go into the interview forget about their nerves because they have all the information, have done their research, have all the information for the job. Therefore they will want to get their information across as opposed to panicking about how they come across in the interview because they will have the knowledge.

Kevin: Perfect! Jo, appreciate your time and research and I know that the grads over at Kingston Will also appreciate all this effort as well in helping them with their job hunting. So, thanks very much.

Jo: No problem at all!

Transcript provided by: A Writer’s Magic
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About the Author

Hi, I'm Tom Burkinshaw, I co-produce the Maximise Your Potential Podcast and Website and my goal is to help as many people as possible be successful in life, careers and business, by offering free coaching and mentoring through a series of unique interviews from inspiring people who all display exceptional self-belief, mental toughness and desire to achieve. Thank you for taking the time to visit Maximise Your Potential!