The Impression You Make at Your Interview

What is more important at your interview: to look good or to know what the organisation you’re applying to is doing? And how good should your English be?

Here is a list of things that you should do in the interview.

Try to rank them from least important (10) to most important (1).

A To look your best

B To have smooth English

C To be polite

D To know what you’re talking about

E To have lots of technical knowledge

F To know what the job involves

G To know the people in the organisation

H To shake hands and smile

I To be on time

J To know some things about the organisation

__________________________________ (you add)

Can you think of no-noes in the interview (things that you shouldn’t do)?

Here are some possible solutions:

Be on time. Yes, it’s happened to me too that I didn’t get a job because I was late. The interview was at an impossibly faraway industrial area and it took me one and a half hours by bus to get there — I didn’t have a car then. I never realized buses could get stuck in traffic very badly. It was probably for the best, because the job was boring. (I)

Looks are important. Studies show that people who are tall and good-looking stand a better chance of getting a job at an interview. Life is unfair! However, by good looks we also mean being dressed well, having a good haircut and other grooming issues (grooming = taking care of your looks and personal cleanliness). In English you say: Clothes make the man (and woman). I’m sure you have this expression in your language too. It means that people will think you’re competent and attractive if you dress well. (A)

Looks aren’t everything. Talent is. It’s just as important for the management of the organisation to know that they will hire someone who is going to help their organisation do well and increase profits etcetera. Therefore it will almost always be a huge advantage if the candidate displays some knowledge of the organisation, because that means they’re interested. (J)

Being polite is nice. Recruits need to fit into the organisation and be pleasant to cooperate with. Your interviewer will look for politeness and friendliness in a candidate. The least you can do is shake hands and smile! (H, C).

Lots of things can be learned on the job. Although many recruiters now expect candidates to have experience in a million jobs before they come to their current position, they will also realise that many specific skills can be trained while you’re already working. That’s why lots of specific technical knowledge is not always necessary in all jobs, although it may be in some jobs where the company doesn’t have a budget for training (D, E, F).

Good English helps. If the interview is in English, of course you must have intelligible English. It also helps if the candidate is fluent in that language. Little mistakes in grammar aren’t a problem. It depends on the job that is on offer how important the English really is. (B)

Knowing people at a company doesn’t usually help. It’s nice if you have friends working at a company, but the recruiter won’t hire you on the basis of that alone. The same with family. Unless you live in a country where nepotism (giving jobs to family members) is the norm, the recruiter will check out the candidate’s credentials thoroughly (= very well). (G)

As for things you shouldn’t do in an interview, well, that’s easy. Like: be late, be impolite, and the big number one thing not to do: talk about yourself the whole time!

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