Interviews – Success

What employers are looking for

Primarily, employers are looking for someone who can do a good job. But they are also looking for someone who has a positive attitude and great interpersonal skills. Here is how some employers have described what they are looking for:

The right person for us will have excellent interpersonal skills; an upbeat attitude and they will get on well with our customers and staff. – Catering company

A candidate who loves working with people will always do well. – Resort

We look for good communication skills and a can-do attitude when we are hiring. They must be ‘people’ people to do well. – Bridal shop

Employers want to know that you will be able to get on well with their customers, that you will be efficient, courteous, friendly and professional. If you can demonstrate these qualities at an interview, you should do well.

Experts say that we form an impression in the first few seconds of meeting a person, so be aware of the impact you are having right from the start. Your attitude and ability to get along with people are being judged from the first moment you walk into the room.

To make a good impression, you should be well groomed and professionally dressed.

As well as being enthusiastic, be positive. Avoid saying anything negative, especially about former employers. Focus on what value you would bring to the company as an employee, and not on what you want to get from the job. For example, don’t discuss how much vacation time you want or bring up salary until the employer does.

Above all, you want the interviewer to think: “What a nice person! It would be great to have someone like that working here.”

Questions to expect

Here are some of the standard interview questions you can expect to be asked:

  • Why do you want this job?
  • Why do you want to work for our company?
  • What kind of position are you looking for?
  • What did you like most/least about your last job?
  • What are your strengths/weaknesses?
  • What experience do you have with ………… ? (Selling, wedding planning, catering etc.)
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • What sort of salary are you expecting?
  • Do you have any questions?

You should study up before your interview so that you know the background of the company you are being interviewed by. In this way you can prepare yourself for the questions they may ask. Read their website, if they have one. Or stop by the office and pick up any promotional materials they might have, or their annual report (if they are large enough to have one).

Also be prepared for behavioural questions – these questions require you to think on your feet a bit more. For example:

  • How would you handle a difficult customer?

You can answer in a hypothetical way by imagining what you would do, but it’s always better if you can draw on real life experience – you may have had to deal with a difficult customer in your last job, and you can cite that as an example. The employer wants to know how you resolve difficult situations.

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