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Well, thanks for coming in” – five things not to do during an interview

Interviews are important. They are often the make or break point of the employment process because if the employer has gone to the trouble of interviewing you then you are at least in the running for the position.

Quite often we see people lose out at the interview because of a few simple mistakes, some of which are obvious, some are not immediately apparent. There are probably hundreds of good tips for interview techniques but here are five things you should not do.

  1. Don’t get out your phone.

Or your keys, or your pen, or that tissue in your pocket. Basically unless you are doing something with them, such as filling in forms, leave your hands empty. You are at an interview so you will be nervous. If you are nervous and you have a pen in your hand you will fiddle with it. The mobile phone is the worst culprit for this, and it also says ‘I am waiting to do something more important’ to the interviewer.

Solution – Rest your hands on your knee or the arms of your chair (not in your pocket) to stop them wandering.

  1. Don’t tell lies ‘overstate’ your background.

There is a temptation to be a little generous about the level of your skills. For example I know someone who said they had conversational German because they lived in Germany for a few months. This was true provided the conversation was about ordering another round or buying a meal. Not much use when they were whisked off to a German trade fair. Yes, you want to tell the employer your skills but you need to be honest.

Solution - Try making a list of skills in five steps. Very Basic, Basic, Average, Skilled and Highly Skilled. Then, when you are asked you rate them in your head against your list before answering. 

  1. Don’t be a robot.

Try to keep your answers simple and clear. However this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t add the odd personal element to your answers. Interviewers are looking for people with personalities who will get along with the rest of the staff.

Solution - Try adding short extras such as “I really enjoyed working nights at…” or “I can do <skill> and I really would like to do more of it”

  1. Don’t sit like a teenager watching T.V.

You don’t want to appear to be sitting so stiff that you look as if you have thrown your back out, but neither do you want to lounge around. Odd though it may sound the way you sit is very important. Remember Kevin the teenager? As soon as we saw him on screen we knew that he was trouble because of how he was sitting.

Solution – This one sounds a bit odd but trust me it works. Practice sitting in different chairs and be aware of your body language in them. You will soon see if you tend to slouch or lean.

  1. Don’t make snap answers.

Answering too quickly doesn’t make you sound confident it makes you sound hasty and nervous.

Two solutions here - Think a little about your answer without going silent, it shows you are thoughtful and attentive. Try using musing phrases such as “That’s a good question…” or “Well, I would say…” those few seconds of thought will allow your brain to think the answer through. The second solution is to think in advance the questions you will be asked, and prepare answers.

These tips may not get you the job, but they may just stop you from losing it.

Four Words That Make A Difference – Why Feeling Valued Is Important.

Just recently I found myself in a discussion about the workplace.  Now, that may not be that surprising when you consider that the workplace features pretty strongly in our day here at 24-7 Staffing, but what made this particular discussion interesting was a comment made by one of the participants.  We were talking about good times that we have had at work.  There were the usual round of stories of funny moments and narrowly averted disasters that turned into triumphs - then someone dropped in a remark that really got me thinking.  They said:

“One of the best things about my day is when somebody tells me I did a good job. Not casually in a throwaway ‘thanks’ sort of way, but when someone takes the time to stop their day and tell me I did a really good job on something.”

It got me wondering how often we recognise outstanding work.  In the workplace we are all pretty nice people (most of the time) and we say thank you as a matter of course.  In fact we say it so much that it can start to lose it’s meaning.  I am not saying that we don’t mean it when we say it (or that we should say it less – after all we are known for our manners in the UK), but I wonder how often we really, actually sound like we mean it?

When we get off a bus or in a shop we tend to say thanks to acknowledge the person, rather than something they did.  It is sort of ‘thanks I acknowledge you as a fellow human being’ really.  The thank you my friend was talking about was something much more meaningful.

The downside of this common politeness is that occasionally something outstanding that really deserves recognition gets lost in a sea of casual thanks.

As you probably know if you have heard our radio advertisements recently we believe in perfectly placed people being paid a good wage.  In return our clients have every right to expect candidates that will perform their role in an exceptional manner.  We supply the best.  Our clients understand this and that a higher standard of employee means a little more in terms of salary.  In a way, this is a continual thanks for being a good employee.

Salary and conditions make employees feel valued and that is a vital contribution to the process of long term relationships that work for both employer and employee.  We like to feel valued; in fact it is one of the things that is considered a basic need for a good working life.

Perhaps we should reconsider our ‘thank you’ and occasionally, when someone goes above and beyond our expectations, instead of a muttered ‘thanks’ we should stop and take the time to clearly say four words that make a big difference.

‘Great Job, thank you’


Published by Harvey

over 9 years ago


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