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Prepare for a job interview in the UK
|After the interview|
Top tips on how to land your first job: Insights into interview techniques for students
(this article is sponsored by Sainsbury's. For more information visit: http://www.sainsburys.co.uk/graduates)
|Are you leaving university soon? Are you worried about how you're going
to cope with the gruelling process of filling out job application forms
and interviews? If so you're not alone, according to new research a lot
of people stumble through the interview phase. A surprising four out of
five confess to have cried, fallen over, spilt coffee on themselves or had
a coughing fit during an interview - leaving a less than desirable first
impression! Nearly two in five people also admit to lying in interviews
and 18% have yawned their way through the process. A bold one in twenty
have actually walked out mid-interview because they were less than impressed
with the experience.
Obviously if you find yourself in the interview seat in the next couple of months then we wouldn't recommend any of the above as a plan of attack. According to the research by Sainsbury's, who believe that having an affinity with the people you work with means you get more done and have more fun doing it with people who share your attitudes and values; there are some simple ways of engaging with the interviewer. Almost eight out of ten said that they maintained eye contact to create a connection with the interviewer and respondents also sent positive body language messages by smiling (78%) and offering up a firm handshake (58%).
You might also want to be careful about what information you put up on social networking sites. Over a quarter of respondents admitted they didn't edit content on their online profile despite the risk that an employer could stumble upon it. Social networking is a great way to enhance relationships with potential co-workers, however it pays to bear in mind what kind of information and pictures you're uploading and who is going to view them.
To improve your chances take a look at the following tips:
- Research the company before you get there. They're unlikely to have prepared a pop quiz on their corporate history but exhibiting a bit of background knowledge will show them you're dedicated to getting the job and will help with that much-dreaded "So why would you like to work for us" question.
- Check and double check the time and date of your interview. Turning up an hour (or a day) late does not make the best first impression.
- Pay attention to your interviewer. Asking them to repeat a question because you zoned out or calling them by the wrong name is not likely to result in a call back.
- Check your appearance before entering the interview. Is everything buttoned and zipped?
- Be friendly to everyone as soon as you enter the building. You never know, you might be chatting to the CEO without even realising it.
|Huijin:||Hello. I've got an appointment at 10 o'clock with the manager, Mr Smith|
|Receptionist:||What is your name?|
|Receptionist:||That's fine, thanks. I'll let him know you've arrived. Please take a seat and he'll be right with you.|
|Mr Smith:||Hello. I'm the store manager, John Smith (offers hand)|
|Huijin:||(stands up and shakes his hand firmly) I'm Huijin. Pleased to meet you.|
|Mr Smith:||Would you like a drink?|
|Huijin:||Thank you. Could I have a regular latte, please?|
|Mr Smith:||Certainly (asks one of the members of staff to bring a
drink for Huijin)
Please come over here and we will talk about your job application.
Please take a seat ...
|Huijin:||(Sits down) Thank you.|
|Mr Smith:||It's Huijin Kim, isn't it?|
|Mr Smith:||Where are you from?|
|Huijin:||I'm from Korea.|
|Mr Smith:||What are you doing in the UK?|
|Huijin:||I'm studying at an English language school. I came here a couple of months ago.|
|Mr Smith:||How long do you plan to stay in this country?|
|Huijin:||My visa expires at the end of June, but I would like to extend it for at least another 6 months after that.|
|Mr Smith:||What kind of visa do you have?|
|Huijin:||I have a student visa, so I'm looking for a part-time job. I can work up to 20 hours per week.|
|Mr Smith:||I see. We do have a part-time vacancy, but it is for 10 until 2 each day. Could you manage those hours?|
|Huijin:||I can be flexible. The school has 3-hour lessons each day. At the moment I am studying in the mornings from 9 to 12, but I can change to the lessons from 3 to 6 if you offer me this job.|
|Mr Smith:||That sounds fine. Why do you want to work for this company?|
|Huijin:||Well, I think the shops sell good products and that the atmosphere is good. I sometimes come to them myself as a customer, and I have always received a good service. Also, my school classmate worked in one of your branches and recommended the company to me.|
|Mr Smith:||Have you had any previous experience of working in a coffee shop?|
|Huijin:||Yes, I worked part-time in a coffee shop while I was a university student in Japan. I was at Costa Coffee for about 9 months.|
|Mr Smith:||Really? What sort of work were you doing there?|
|Huijin:||My main job was to serve the customers, but I also helped to wash up, to clean the shop and to operate the till.|
|Mr Smith:||Did you ever have to deal with customer problems?|
|Huijin:||I'm sorry, would you mind explaining exactly what you mean by "customer problems"?|
|Mr Smith:||Of course. Sometimes a customer is unhappy because something is wrong. Can you give me an example of how you managed a difficult situation?|
|Huijin:||Yes, sometimes there were small problems. For example, one day a customer complained that his cup was dirty. He sounded upset. I apologised to him and offered to get him a replacement. The cup did look dirty, so later I had a quiet word with the person who had cleaned it.|
|Mr Smith:||Do you think you provide a good service to customers?|
|Huijin:||Yes - I always try to provide a friendly and efficient service to customers. For example, when customers wanted a product that was not available, I recommended another product instead. They usually accepted my suggestion and were glad that I helped them to choose something else.|
|Mr Smith:||Do you think you are good at working as a member of a team?|
|Huijin:||Yes - I like to work with other people. When I was at Costa Coffee we used to share the tasks - we would always help each other, and show new members of staff how to do things.|
|Mr Smith:||How do you think the people that you worked with in the past would describe you?|
|Huijin:||I think they would say that I worked hard, I was well-organised and that I was friendly to customers.|
|Mr Smith:||What would they say your weaknesses are?|
|Huijin:||Maybe I was a bit impatient sometimes when things weren't done properly. But I think it is important to have high standards.|
|Mr Smith:||OK. Well, do you have any questions for me?|
|Huijin:||Yes. If you offer me the job, when would you want me to start?|
|Mr Smith:||We have a vacancy now, so as soon as possible. Would you be able to start next week?|
|Huijin:||That would be fine. What would the pay be?|
|Mr Smith:||4 pounds 50 per hour|
|Huijin:||Which days would I work?|
|Mr Smith:||Normally from Monday to Friday. You can take two days holiday each month.|
|Huijin:||How would you describe the working atmosphere in this store?|
|Mr Smith:||Well, it is often busy but there is a friendly atmosphere, I think. We work hard, but like to have fun too.|
|Huijin:||When will you be able to tell me if I have got the job?|
|Mr Smith:||I can tell you now. If you want the job, you can start next Monday.|
|Huijin:||Yes, I want the job, thank you. I look forward to working here.|
|Mr Smith:||Good. Well, come here at 10 o'clock on Monday morning and we can sort out the other details then.|
|Huijin:||Thank you. See you on Tuesday. Goodbye|
|Mr Smith:||Goodbye, Huijin. I'm sure you will like working as part of our team.|
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If you are rejected after an interview
Don't worry. Be aware that you may need to apply to many jobs before you are successful. Telephone the interviewer to ask for feedback - maybe you can use this to improve your CV or interview skills
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