The toughest part of getting any job is usually the interview.
Getting through job interviews and making them work effectively for you is something that everyone can do, it just takes careful planning. Here are some useful tools and techniques which will help you to make it through your interview with Formica.
First things first, preparing for your interview
Preparation is essential and greatly enhances your chance of performing well at interview. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Research the company and the job. Read and re-read the job description so you can anticipate questions and determine where your skills are applicable. Also visit the company’s website to learn about its people, products and the laminate industry. Here we have information about us, our people, our projects, our businesses, the careers we can offer and much more.
- Anticipating potential questions and practising your answers is great preparation. At Formica Group, we generally use a behavioural approach to interviewing to determine how well your skills fit the requirements of the position you have applied for. This involves asking specific questions about your past experiences and behaviour to determine how you might handle similar situations in the future and to illustrate a particular skill set or competency in action. You'll need to study the specific competencies required for the role you are applying for and think about examples of you putting them into practice in your previous roles.
- A sample question for a customer focused role might be "Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer?" When answering questions you should outline the situation, explain clearly how you approached it and why, as well as describing the outcome or achievement.
In addition to a series of competency-based questions relating to skills required, be prepared to answer questions such as:
- What do you know about our company? Our products? Our services?
- What is the ideal role for you?
- Where do you want to take your career in the next 5 years? 10 years?
- What have you enjoyed most in your career to date?
- What management style gets the most from you?
- What motivates you?
- What does teamwork mean to you?
- What has been your most notable achievement to date?
- What are your strengths?
- What are your limitations or weaknesses? (Remember to think of these as areas for development and further training and turn a potential negative into a positive).
- Are you able to undertake travel in relation to your work?
- Are you willing to relocate?
- Why do you want to change jobs?
- Why did you leave your last job?
- Why do you want to work for this company?
It’s also important to prepare some questions you can ask at an interview. Asking relevant questions about the job and the organisation is another opportunity to demonstrate the preparation you have put into the interview, and to determine whether the company will give you the opportunity for the career growth that you seek.
- Why is the position open?
- What are the key requirements for the position?
- How is performance measured?
- What is your company mission?
- What are the challenges the company is facing?
- Describe the company culture?
- Who are the company’s main competitors?
- What are the challenges that are unique to this job within the organisation?
- What internal development opportunities do you foresee for this position?
- How do you feel I fit the requirements for this job?
- What are the company’s plans for the future?
- What sort of induction and training do you normally provide?
- What else would you like to know about me?
Find out who you know within the company you are interviewing with. LinkedIn is a great tool for this, if you are logged in to LinkedIn you will be able to see who you know in your network right on the page.
Plan your route to the interview. Know exactly where you are going, how long it will take to get there and where to park. If you aren’t sure, make sure to ask. Plan to arrive on time or even a few minutes early. Never be late. Know who you are meeting, how to pronounce their name correctly and what position they hold in the company.
Refresh your memory regarding details of present and past employers and your work history and take a copy of your CV with you to the interview for reference.
First impressions really do count so dress presentably and professionally for your interviews.
The first impression counts! Here’s a quick-fire guide to the Dos and Don'ts:
- Shake hands firmly
- Look the prospective employer in the eye while you speak to him/her
- Follow the interviewers leads
- Look alert and interested and never let your attention waiver
- Be a good listener as well as a talker. Remember to smile!
- Ask good questions
- Fill out application forms neatly and honestly
- Conduct yourself with confidence but not complacency; a positive attitude is acceptable, arrogance is not.
- Don’t answer questions with a simple “yes” or “no”. Explain wherever possible
- Don’t make derogatory remarks about your present or previous employers. If you are unhappy with them, try to phrase your remarks positively
- Don’t over-answer questions
- Don’t enquire about salary, holidays, bonuses or retirement benefits at the initial interview unless asked. However you should know your market value and be prepared to specify your required salary or range
- Don’t panic if there’s a silence. Take a few seconds to think about your answers.
You’ve made it to the job interview, what’s next?
Sell, sell, sell – the only person to sell yourself is you!
What is most important is that you sell yourself to best advantage. Use the interview to demonstrate your personal attributes, your strengths, personality, ability to communicate and how you react under pressure. The short time you have in an interview could have a dramatic effect on your career prospects. It is therefore important that you perform well because no matter how good your career record is to date, the interview remains an important step towards fulfilment of your ambitions.
Closing the interview
If you are interested in the position, make sure you say this to the interviewer. Thank the interviewer for his or her time and consideration of you.
Every interview is a learning experience and each one teaches you a little bit more about what to say and do and what to avoid. If you are unsuccessful then don't be disheartened - there are always more opportunities and the better your interview technique, the more likely it is that you will succeed.