I have a been a member of an interview panel on many occasions. I have also chaired some interviews, written up the reports and notified applicants of the outcomes, good and bad. Applicants come in all shapes and sizes with many different backgrounds and expectations. The same can be said about interview panel members as well.
On most occasions people only get to the interview stage if they have met some basic criteria for the job. On some occasions people are interviewed for internal jobs, even when they are not quite ready for the job, but it will be good for the panel and the applicant to become acquainted for future opportunities.
From my experience as an applicant and as a panel member, I would like to share some things that may be helpful if you are going to an interview.
1. I do some background research, starting with the company’s website. I try to get an overarching view of the organisation and its structure, services, values, locations etc.
2. If there is a contact person listed, I always call them and ask a few questions about the position. This can give you the opportunity for some inside information that the other applicants may not have, if they didn’t call up as well.
3. When I call, I ask them if someone is currently “acting” in the position. You can ask if that person is applying for the position. They won’t necessarily answer the question though.
4. I read the job description and selection criteria three or four times and highlight what I believe to be the core aspects of the job. Once I have done that, I can prepare some evidence that can address what they are looking for. I bring that with me to the interview.
5. I need to dress appropriately, think about parking availability or public transport and be on time (even 10 to 15 minutes early is good practice) and be courteous.
6. When I am introduced to the panel members, I make eye contact and try to remember their names. I sometimes ask if I can write their names down and then I can focus better when I answer their questions.
7. If I don’t understand a question, I ask them to repeat it. If it is a long question, I ask them if I can write it down or answer one part at a time.
8. If I get stuck on a question (when my mind goes blank) I ask if we can go on to the next question and come back to it a little later.
9. To help reduce the fear of interviews, I just do the best I can and leave the outcome to chance. No-one really knows what the panel dynamics are and sometimes there are agendas that we know nothing about.
10. Finally, I have some questions about the position or the organisation that I prepare in advance. I then ask them when will they be making the decision and how long until I hear from them. I finish off by thanking them for the opportunity for the interview.
Now I can thank YOU for the opportunity to refresh this topic in my mind for my job interview tomorrow 🙂
- Hiring staff – How to interview a job applicant (premierlinedirect.co.uk)