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Chad's blog 6 - First steps of the interview process

21 Mar 2013

Here we go into the sixth part of my recruitment blog and helping you get that dream job!

From Part 5 we have seen how you have researched and gathered information to prepare for your interview. You have looked up the company website, made notes, researched the role, made more notes and found out what course details are involved in your apprenticeship or traineeship. And again, you’ve made more notes!

Now, with all this information you should be ready to go to your interview. But there are a few things still to think about. Firstly, do you know how to get to the interview location? Has the correct address been given to you and do you have all the relevant contact details. Double check all the information that you have been given and make sure it is all correct. Look up the address of the interview and make sure you know how to get there. If you are traveling by public transport allow for a cancelled train or bus to ensure you do not arrive late. If you are driving, ensure there is adequate parking for you. Again, give yourself plenty of time to get there and allow for any potential traffic problems.

Secondly, make sure all the information and documentation you need for the interview goes with you. It is amazing how many candidates come for interview and tell me they left all their paperwork at home.

The third point is what do I wear? This is a very important question and I may take up most of the blog on this point!! Presentation is very important when it comes to an interview and again a lot of people do not place a great deal of importance to it.

For an apprenticeship, a large number of candidates believe they can come in dressed in a casual manner as it is normally a job where you wear work clothes. Unfortunately this can be a mistake. The perception from an employer is that if your presentation and dress is sloppy then that is how your work performance is going to be. It’s the same principle applied from putting in sub-standard resumes.

So make sure you go to an interview dressed well. For an apprenticeship interview you do not have to wear a business suit but you should wear clothes that are neat and tidy. For guys, you cannot go wrong with wearing a collared shirt, dress trousers and black shoes and for girls, smartly dressed in a blouse and long pants. 

For traineeships in office roles it is a much clearer picture. Guys should dress in a suit and tie, girls in business suits and jackets. Remember to be well groomed and have any piercings or tattoos covered. Piercings and tattoos are sometimes looked upon with a frown in interviews so don’t give the interviewer any reason to reject you. Basic piercings such as earrings are fine but others through the lip, eyebrow, tongue or back of the neck should be taken out.

So. You have now dressed for the interview, researched the company, role, and location and have now arrived at the company’s office and walked into their foyer area. What is there to consider now? Has the interview started yet? If you answered no to that question you need to think again. The interview has started the moment you have walked into the company’s premises. Anyone from the company who sees you will quickly judge you on your presentation, behavior and body language. How long does it take for someone to judge you? Literally in the first second they see you.

You may enter a building and the access to the company may be through an elevator. It is rare for you to travel on an elevator alone; there will probably be other people in the lift with you. How do you know that they don’t work for your prospective employer? It is hardly likely to make a good impression on them if you are talking loudly on your phone, making inappropriate comments to them or listening to music on your iPod and singing away at the top of your voice. And while we’re on the subject of iPods, phones or laptops etc, leave them at home. They have no place in an interview. Phones may be a little harder to leave at home for safety reasons but if you need to take them with you, turn them off once you enter the company premises.

Clearly, you need to assume that everyone you meet on the way to the foyer or interview area is a representative of that company and can pass on information to those that are interviewing you. So your behaviour and presentation needs to be impeccable at all times.

When you arrive in the foyer area of your prospective employer, greet the receptionist with a smile and clearly state your name, your reason for being there and the name of the person you are to meet. Make sure you have the full name of the person, if it is a large company there are sure to quite a few people named John and it may take some time for the receptionist to track down the right person.

The person on front desk reception at any company needs to be treated with respect. Too many times people make the mistake of thinking a receptionist is at the bottom of the chain but this person has the ability to make or break you. They will almost certainly pass judgment on you, so you need to make sure you are friendly and courteous at all times. Follow any instructions they give you and if you are required to complete any paperwork, do so with eagerness and co-operation. If you show at any time that you are difficult to deal with, the interview will end up being a quick one.

Once you have completed the paperwork, make sure you promptly hand it back to the receptionist and wait patiently in your seat to be called. Make sure you are sitting properly in your chair, do not slouch or fold your arms or do anything that can draw attention to you.

Now comes the moment. The door opens and the interview comes into the foyer area and calls your name. You are ready to enter the final frontier of the interview process! Good luck and stay tuned for my next recruitment blog detailing the finer points of the interview.

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