Wednesday 11th December 2019  

Introduction to making your interview a success

Some people interview really well and have the ability to ‘deliver on the day’. This means they sell themselves well.

Other people, for a great number of reasons, often find it difficult to confidently explain or enthusiastically demonstrate their ability to do the job.

We know from our research that interviewers often make a mental decision as to whether or not they are likely to employ, or see the candidates again, within about 30 to 60 seconds of meeting them for the first time.

This decision all too often takes place before the candidates have had a chance to introduce themselves, let alone explain why they are the perfect candidates for the job.

Question - Are the interviewers decisions based on first impressions only? Answer - Probably – yes!

Roseham Automotive has prepared this printable document as a step-by-step guide to help you make any interviews you have to attend as successful as possible.

In reading this free document, should you find you have something you are uncertain about with your forthcoming interview, you are invited to contact us through the “Contact Us” button and we’ll do our best to give you some advise about your concerns.

It’s a free service – so go ahead.

How to make your interview a success

Prepare yourself – fully!

If you really want this new opportunity, it’s important to attend the interview with an attitude that’s positive and demonstrate to the interviewer you’ve done your homework. There’s no doubt – your actions will influence the interviewer.

  • Someone once said, “To fail to plan, is to plan to fail”
  • Time invested in planning what you wish to say, what you know and what impression you wish to make at your interview, will reap rewards in the long run.

What are you offering your new employer?

Think about your skills, competencies, successes, qualifications and experience. Write them down, and consider ways of highlighting them during the interview.

How do other people perceive you?

Talk to friends, family and particularly work colleagues. Ask them to be honest with you and to describe how they perceive you. You could consider drawing up a checklist of the things that you like and dislike about others.

Get other people to complete the checklist and allow them tell you what they think are your strengths and weaknesses; whether you have any annoying habits or traits you should be aware of, and what changes you may need to make to come across well in a face-to-face meeting.

What is your objective from this interview?

Be clear in your own mind about just how important this job is to you. How much money do you want/need to earn? “As much as possible” doesn’t count!

What are your personal long-term objectives?

What sort of employer do you want to work for? Local, National, Large, Small?

Is there any particular type of vehicle you prefer to sell? Sports, 4x4, Luxury?

Are you sure about your capability to do the job you are applying for?

Are you suitably experienced in the scope or field that the job demands?

Do you think you fit the company culture?

Ahead of the day of the interview

Once you have had your interview confirmed, and you know that you really do want the job; we strongly suggest you need to know some of the following information about the company you are going to be interviewed by;

  • How long have they been established at the current location?
  • Do you have access to market share information?
  • What is their product range?
  • How many other companies do they have and where are they based?
  • What market do they operate in?
  • What is their reputation as an employer?
  • Who owns the organisation?
  • What is the person like who is going to interview you?

You could also visit the company website, or telephone them to see whether they have a brochure they could send you.

Read a good book on body language, so you strengthen your good signals, and are aware of the weak ones.

Prepare a list of potential questions that you would like to ask on the day of your interview. (We have prepared some samples further down this page.)

Think about answers you will give to the stereotypical interview questions. (Examples of these questions are listed further down this page.)

On the day of the interview

Personal appearance

Give yourself plenty of time to get ready; Remember - first impressions count. Are you appropriately groomed with tidy hair, clean shoes and clothing?

Credentials

Make sure you have all the documents you might need.

This could include:

  • Examination Certificates; Training Certificates
  • National Record of Achievement
  • Evidence of past achievements: Awards, Sales sheets,
  • Proof of identity - Driving licence or Passport
  • Photograph

If you are taking papers to the interview, put them in a suitable document folder or case, not in a carrier bag!

Personal presentation

At the interview, you may be nervous and less aware of your immediate self as you settle into meeting the interviewer. They too, will be assessing you from the word ‘go’. Prepare as much as you can before going to the venue.

  • Are you suitably dressed, in a way that matches the culture of the employer you are meeting? If in doubt, dress conservatively.
  • Always wear a business suit, and keep the jacket on until invited to remove it, even in summer.
  • Make sure your hands and shoes are clean, and your fingernails trimmed.
  • Don’t wear too much jewellery, only your wedding or signet ring.
  • We always suggest that men should not wear earrings.
  • Pay attention to your own personal hygiene. Fresh breath and clothing is essential.
  • Don’t smoke, chew gum or drink alcohol prior to attending the interview.
  • Switch off your mobile phone before reporting to reception.

Punctuality

Plan your journey and allow for contingencies. The rule is that you are better to be an hour early than a minute late!

However, if you do arrive at the building early do not walk in until about 10-15 minutes before your appointment.

Don’t wait to present yourself until the time you are due as this could mean you getting delayed in reception, or finding your way around their buildings.

Always be extremely polite and friendly to any support staff you meet as you go through to the interview room.

This may include the businesses receptionist or the interviewer's secretary.

People in these roles may be more important than you realise, and may influence a decision in your favour, or not!

If you are asked to wait in a reception area, always remain standing even if offered a seat.  This will at least keep your clothes smart!

This will give you a distinct psychological advantage over someone who remains seated.

When meeting the interviewer, it puts you at their level, as they will probably already be standing when they greet you and invite you through.

The interview itself

When you meet the interviewer look them in the eye, smile, and shake hands firmly and briefly. Greet them with a 'Good Morning/Afternoon', and if possible use their name. Do not take a seat until you have been offered, and never remove your jacket without permission.

Do not be over familiar with the interviewer.

Tell the truth. Be yourself, or you will get found out!

Always appear interested in what the interviewer is saying. Do this by sitting upright in your chair, lean slightly forward, pointing your body directly towards the interviewer and keep good eye-to-eye contact without staring. Acknowledge things they say and demonstrate you have been listening by asking them to go over something again.

Never smoke, even if the interviewer does, and it’s probably safer not to accept tea or coffee as it can get in the way, or in the worst-case scenario, get spilt! Do not chew gum or eat sweets.

Try not to monopolise the meeting.

Never interrupt or talk over the interviewer. It shows you are not a good listener, and in any case it is rude.

Answer all questions in a fluent and confident (but not over-confident) manner, and do not wander from what the interviewer wants to know.

Offer positive information - don't offer negative information unless asked. Don't harp on about problems, and never criticise previous employers.

It’s important to show that you have done your research, but avoid too much self-opinion on your findings.

Make sure the employer is fully aware of the benefits of employing you, even if they haven't given you the opportunity during the interview.

Close

If there is time, ask the interviewer whether you have come across as the type of person they are looking to employ.

This sort of question will demonstrate your confidence and selling skills, and also offer you the opportunity to overcome any concerns or reservations the employer may have in employing you. Find out what the next stage of the process is.

Typical questions you may be asked:

  • Tell me something about yourself
  • Why do you want to work in this sector?
  • What do you know about our company?
  • What is more important to you, the salary or the job?
  • What achievement has given you the most satisfaction, and why?
  • What contributions could you make to this job?
  • How have you handled a major crisis or problem in the past?
  • What would you say are your main downfalls?
  • What would you say are your main attributes?
  • What do you like doing in your spare time?
  • What are your salary expectations?
  • How did you like your last job, and why did you leave?
  • What is your ideal position, and career path?
  • How do you think you work with others as part of a team?
  • Have you got any questions?
  • Why do you think you are right for this job?

Questions to consider asking at your interview:

  • What are the career opportunities in this job?
  • To whom would I directly report?
  • Who are the key people I would work with?
  • How long has this position be open for?
  • Why did this position become available?
  • How long has this company been established?
  • What training, if any, would I be given?
  • Am I the sort of person you are looking to employ?
  • Is there a specific dress code for this role?

Thank the interviewer and smile when you leave.

Major interview mistakes:

  • Poor personal appearance, hygiene or inappropriate attire
  • Over confidence; know it all, rude or arrogant attitude
  • Having no questions to ask about the job or the company
  • Showing a lack of interest, maturity, courtesy or professionalism
  • Poor language and inability to express yourself clearly
  • Mention of salary, benefits and holiday entitlement too soon
  • Lateness for interview
  • Poor eye contact, lack of confidence
  • Putting hand over mouth when answering a question - implies you are lying
  • Blatant dishonesty
  • Leaving mobile phone switched on during the interview

Follow on from the interview

If there is anything else you want to ask or mention to the interviewer, it may of benefit to contact them, particularly if your role is going to involve lots of telephone work, as is so often the case.

Before leaving the interview, consider asking the interviewer for their permission to call if something comes to mind.

After the interview

Now you must wait. If an employer is interested in you they will contact you for a second interview or make a job offer.

Don't be disheartened if you don't hear anything for a few days, most employers will wish to digest the impression you made and will often be obliged to consider other interviewed applicants.

If you do not hear from the employer after one week, call the person who interviewed you to get an update of their interest in you.

Do not come across aggressively, this will only damage the relationship you have already established.

Negotiation

Everything is negotiable.

If the job offer is not what you had hoped for, go back to the interviewer and explain that the job definitely is for you, but that the package is not up to your expectation. Is there any way they can consider improving the package, either now or after a probation period has been completed?

Acceptance

When you have reached a point of acceptance, confirm the job in writing in an upbeat and enthusiastic manner.

Finally – Good Luck & give it your best shot!

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