7. The job interview

Like an athlete before a match, prepare yourself psychologically. Get into the right frame of mind by taking comfort from a certainty: the recruiter is eager to meet you. Keep this in mind without forgetting that he will be assessing you against objective criteria (skills, results, etc.). Golden rule: be yourself, have confidence, express yourself!

The different phases

  • Making contact: firm handshake, make eye contact, no banal comments, make yourself comfortable (take off your coat). Take out your notepad, a pen: your “tools” will be your footholds. And relax.

  • The recruiter's introduction: he wanted to meet you so he must have liked parts of your CV. Feel free to ask him which, or whether he wants you to expand on certain points. Candidates rarely do this, but it could be a good departure point for your presentation.

  • Your presentation: 10 minutes maximum, take a step back from your CV, summarise your experience, think benefits gained by you/added value for your employer, lead the recruiter into your territory while leaving him free to ask for clarifications.

  • The recruiter’s questions: e is looking for details, particularly on figures (be aware of variations in your answers from one interview to the next!), to check information by going back over your previous answers or using his knowledge of the job.

  • Dialogue: seize the opportunities to give the conversation new impetus and to establish dialogue (for example: In your current position what is the sales cycle? It is a long cycle of around 6 months. How do things work at company X?) Over the course of the exchange, by asking questions and therefore managing your interview, you should be trying to characterise your possible future job.

  • The conclusion: 90% of candidates skip this stage. Stand out from the crowd by not ignoring this crucial moment! See also “preparing for the job interview”.

The errors to avoid

  • Not being prepared of course!

  • Making it look as if you have studied the company: for example, by looking at their website when they don’t have one yet. Or, if they have one and you haven’t looked at it, when the first question is asked about it, you will have to explain that you have skimmed through the site, that you didn't have enough time. Negative impact guaranteed.

  • Not knowing the details of the job advert you are being interviewed about: you will then find it difficult to answer the classic question: “What interested you about our advert?”

  • Talking for too long about your career: how long should your presentation last? Between five and ten minutes however much experience you have. You will not send the interviewer to sleep and you will leave the door open for questions and therefore dialogue.

  • Putting too much pressure on: keep the balance of power in perspective! A recruiter who asks to meet you has found points in your CV which she likes, she needs to take somebody on and she wants to understand and discuss. With positions requiring rare skills or management posts, she also needs to sell her company.

  • Not paying attention to what you wear: if you are dressed in a casual way, don't be shy of telling the recruiter that is your company’s style and that you didn't want to arouse suspicions. Keep two principles in mind: be at ease in your clothing and be in step with your interviewer.

  • Poor judgement of travel times: check where the company is on a map (a call to the switchboard can also prevent a delay). Choose the most reliable solution for getting to your interview.

  • Lacking tools: take a copy of your CV and of the job description, and a notepad – taking notes is a sign you are paying attention – which can be used as an aide-memoire for your presentation and for the points about the position that you would like further details about (without resorting to systematic interrogation, or making it look like you are filling in a questionnaire).

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