Attitude goes a long way to securing work
A combination of a proper attitude, an apparent willingness to learn, research on the company in question plus a peppering of self-confidence are the perfect tools to nail a job interview.
Giving tips to graduates eager to join the workforce for the first time, East London-based life coach Robert Brain said the right attitude was a primary factor. How is the proper attitude portrayed to a potential employer? By showing up on time, communicating clearly and being prepared. Preparation includes researching the company and finding out who they are and exactly what it is they do.
According to Brain, a typical interview has between one and three people present. It includes a human resources representative to ensure the proper processes are followed, the manager the candidate will report to who ensures the correct candidate is chosen and a third person who oversees the entire process.
Most interviews shoot straight to the questions and answers, except for many technical jobs which often begin with a practical exercise.
Brain said the questions are structured to test the candidate's personality.
“Questions will usually be 'tell me about a time you worked in a team’, ‘tell me about a time when you failed to achieve something’ or ‘tell me about a time when you got angry’,” he said.
“They're looking for real life examples, not academic. The answers need to be chosen and practised. They need to be about two minutes long. Two minutes is not easy because it’s not a yes or a no but it’s also not a book. Also look for examples which place you in a good light.”
Brain said candidates should bring a copy of their CV along, which they can use to refer to during the interview.
“A CV only keeps someone's attention for about a minute so if you bring it along to the interview, it gives you an opportunity to expand on it to sell yourself.”
Next is attire. While it’s important to look professional, candidates should be careful not to overdress.
Looking at how current employees within the company dress is a good pointer.
Posture and how one greets may seem minor but actually matter.
“These come down to first impressions, which really lasts. A firm handshake and making eye contact all show confidence. Sitting up straight and listening shows attentiveness. All of these can be practised at home,” Brain said, adding that many companies had now changed the way they advertise available positions. He explained: “In the past, companies would write a job spec and they would put it in the paper. Lots of people would send in their CVs and they would filter them and take the best candidates as a short list. So if you got onto the short list, then you got into the interview and your chances were one in 1,000, depending on what the job was.
“Companies now just ask their staff members if they know anyone suitable for the position because if they value that staff member, they will value their recommendation. So develop a network. You need to get to know people who are working and to let them know your skills so that your chances of employment will hopefully be better than the next person.”
SOUND ADVICE: East London life coach Robert Brain gives some tips to young candidates entering the job market for the first time.