Interview Advice for School-Leavers

We’ve been really happy to be involved in helping SWANCIC (Sout West Area of Northants Community Interest Company) deliver some job-seeker training to local soon-to-be school-leavers. We’ve been involved in helping our young people understand the reality of the job market in 2012, and in providing some practical experience of job-seeking situations.

Most recently we took part in a mock interview day for Year 11s at Campion School.  For some it was their first taste of being interviewed, but many of them came across like they’ve been doing it for years.

We normally work with skilled, experienced jobseekers – in fact, this was the first time we’ve worked with youngsters, and we were very interested to see that many of the specific problems that they encountered were exactly the same as those described by the much more experienced people we normally work with.

We finished the day with some general advice and summing up, and promised to post that up here for the guys to see.  So here you go….

1 The best candidate isn’t guaranteed to get the job
…the best prepared is.  This has become something of a catchphrase for us, and we believe it’s central to interview success.  Interviews are pretty scary experiences – even for seasoned veterans – and that’s largely because there are so many aspects that are outside of the interviewee’s control.  Not having control make us humans nervous, and that is often where poor interview performance comes from.  So take control of what you can – and in your case that means prepare!  Your preparation should include plenty of practice, lots of research on the company and lots of pre-emptive work (trying to predict the questions and issues that will arise during your interview).

2 Smile
Great interviews are enjoyable experiences for both sides.  In order for the interviewer to have a good time, he or she needs to see a happy, smiling person looking back at them and not a mumbling, miserable-looking shadow.  So smile!  Stop yourself a couple of times during an interview and ask yourself what kind of emotions you are conveying. 

3 Answer the question
Doing well in interviews is actually quite simple: it’s about answering every question positively and finding common ground with the interviewer.  Note the first half of that sentence…answer the question!  If we showed you all some videos of poor interviews, you would be surprised at the number of times the interviewee answers a completely different question to the one they were asked.  Keep it simple for success…listen to the question!

4 Show some passion
No good interview ever happened without some passion.  You must demonstrate to the interviewer that you are interested in them, their company, their industry and the opportunity they are offering.  You MUST ask them questions, and take the opportunities you’re given to demonstrate your knowledge and interest in them.  If you don’t show any interest, why should they?

If you stick to the principles of prepare, smile, listen and get passionate you’ll never go far wrong…you won’t get every job you apply for, but you’ll be on the way to success before you know it.

Happy hunting!


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