Who doesn’t love a good interview? Wait… what?! There are people that love job interviews… ?! Yes, there are; and no, I’m not one of them! But I don’t hate job interviews, either.
I find that you can gain a lot of experience from job interviews. You find out what kinds of things companies are looking for in a person, and the types of jobs you could potentially be doing within your chosen field. Good or bad, each interview should be taken as – a lesson learned.
I’ve been to several job interviews over the years; the majority of them have been really good interviews, even if I didn’t get the particular job (which only happened once), but I have also been to some horrible interviews.
It’s very important to remember that a job interview is JUST AS MUCH for you, as it is for the company. Yes, they are trying to work out if you will be a good fit for the company, and if you have enough experience for the job. But you should also be thinking in your head –
* Would I enjoy working in this environment?
* Does this job suit me?
* Am I comfortable with the things they will be asking of me?
If the answer is “no” to any of these questions (and to any other such questions that you may have), then you shouldn’t take the job, even if you’re offered the position.
The average working week has 40 hours, which equates to 1,960 hours per year (once annual holidays are deducted). You have to really think about this when you’re in a job interview… you’re going to be working at this place for 8 hours a day, and spending even longer there if you include lunch. Will you be happy, there?
I can tell you from personal experience that it is not as simple as saying, “It doesn’t matter if I’m happy, so long as I have a job.” Wrong! I worked for a company for 18 months, and I hated that job. Like, really couldn’t stand it! I spent at least 12 months while in that job looking for another until eventually something came up. But my time at that company and my really hating that job resulted in me becoming depressed and the doctor suggesting that I take a sick note. This was something I decided to fight, and luckily, it worked out for me. But for so many others, it doesn’t.
So, without further ado, here are some of my tips, regarding job interviews –
* Always make sure that your contact number, email address and street address are up-to-date on your CV. Chances are you wouldn’t have got this far if they weren’t, but double-check them, anyway.
* Research the company that you have an interview with. Finding out as much information as you can, up front will help you to determine if this is the right company for you (in theory, you should be doing this before you even apply). Not only that, but it looks really good to the interviewers if you can recite some of the information off of their website to them. Don’t get “stalker-ish”, though… it can all become too much!
* If you have the names of the people who’ll be interviewing you, try and research them, too. LinkedIn is a perfect tool for this, but be aware that it does tell you when someone has visited your profile.
* Take a notepad and pen… they may tell you useful information that you might want to jot down (because it can sometimes be too much to remember everything).
* Write down any questions that you may have before you go. Usually, the interviewers will ask you if you have any questions, as you’re coming to the end of the interview.
* Take a copy of your current CV with you. If you get nervous like I do, sometimes you may get a bit forgetful and won’t remember where you went to Uni… or what your last job was… or what your name is!
* Always dress for the job you want. This DOES NOT mean turning up in a Superwoman or Batman outfit! This does, however, mean turning up in a smart suit or a nice dress; but this obviously also depends on the type of job that you’re applying for. If you will be on site, most days – for example, as a project manager – you may want to throw some site boots into a bag, just in case they take you out to the area. You can always ask about this kind of thing, prior to your interview.
* Make sure that you have a contact number for the interviewer(s) or the office (of the company) that you’re going to, in case you run into some trouble on the road or even with public transport. If so, give them a call and let them know that you’re running late. Something is better than nothing!
* Make sure that your portfolio is up-to-date (if you’re required to take one). I have so many jobs in my portfolio, but I only ever take the ones that I know like the back of my hand; that way, if they ask me questions about a specific project, I’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
* They will ALWAYS ask about your time management and organisational skills! Don’t lie about this… if you can be a bit messy but can still always find something, then tell them so. The last thing that they want is someone who they think is a neat freak but who turns out to have a desk that looks like an absolute shithole within a week!
* On a similar note – if you’re not organised, try to become better at it. Get a diary, start a journal, get a bullet journal, or even just start out by writing yourself a shopping list (the next time when you go to the store). The slightest bit of organisation will make a big difference to a generally disorganised person.
* DO NOT LIE about something – especially experience – because you will be caught out, eventually!
So, there you have it – my tips for a successful job interview. I hope that these will be helpful, and I wish you all the luck in the world on your new ventures!
Please note: I do have a degree in both Architectural Technology and Building Surveying and these are the types of jobs I am applying and interviewing for. These tips may differ for different jobs.