Interview Behaviour and Etiquette
Below is another snippet from our Pro Resume Write (www.proresumewrite.com) Interview Guide – hope it helps you in preparing for your next interview!
Now you are prepared for you the interview questions, it is important that you understand the expected interview behaviours and etiquette. Through all of your engagements with the company you must ensure you make a good impression. In this section we will go through what is acceptable behaviour and what is not.
1.Try to be flexible with interview times:
You will normally have a good couple of days to prepare. That said sometimes things can happen last minute so if you do get a call asking you to come in for interview in a day or two’s time try to be flexible as this shows that you are keen for the opportunity and can be adaptable.
1.Research the interview panel:
The Recruiter should provide you with the name and job titles of all the people who will be interviewing you, however, if they do not it is ok to ask them to share this with you. Once you have the names of the interviewers, take a look beforehand at their experience on LinkedIn or depending on the seniority see if there is a blurb on the company website about them and their experience. It is helpful for you to know who you will be meeting and where they have come from as they may be things in common and you will know how to better present information to them.
Be careful and tactful in your approach, for example; do not just come out with “you studied at UWA and I did too”. This is likely to put them on edge as they do not know why or how you know this information. Instead try “I was doing some research beforehand and saw on LinkedIn that you had previously attended UWA which is the same university I went to”, this is much less invasive.
1.Name dropping mutual contacts only:
If you notice that you have a mutual contact then you can casually drop a name during the interview if it links to a relevant example or company you worked for, but do not continually name drop different people. You also want to be careful of who you mention, as you do not know the interviewers feelings of that person and you could be considered guilty by association.
1.Note taking prior and during the interview:
This is an undecided point with both Recruiters and Hiring Managers if it is favourable or not for candidates to use notes during an interview. The best thing to do is; prepare and have notes which you can refer to if there is an opportunity to, but know them well enough that you do not need to rely on them if they are not permitted. Bring them with you to the interview but check with the Recruiter if it is ok for you to use them. Many will feel that it demonstrates that you are organised, prepared and keen to make a good impression. However, it is critical that if you are given the opportunity to refer to your notes, that you do just that, refer only! Do not get caught up on reading from them verbatim, this will not go down well.
The notes should be prompts only, dot points or visual aids, not long sentences that you read from. You should know your own experience, so a reminder should be all you need. If you get nervous and start to waffle or stumble, you can then refer to these prompts. Before you interview you should have already noted down specific examples that you think are relevant and have practiced beforehand, so you should not need to check your notes. An example of a prompt is; Safety Procedure – Warehouse Supervisor – X company.
1.Language used including the universal “we”:
It is very important that you consider the language that you use during an interview. This is a time to sell you skills and experience, but there is a fine line between selling and coming across and arrogant. The purpose of the interview is for the interviewers to get a good understanding of you have done during you career. Many people find themselves referring to ‘we’ throughout their interview. Whilst the word ‘we’ implies that you are team oriented, which is a positive attribute, it does not tell the interviewers what you particularly did and what you are capable of. On the other hand, those who refer to ‘I’ throughout the interview can be perceived as egotistical and not someone who recognises the value of their team members.
6) Listening – Be sure you listen to the interview questions carefully:
Not actively listening is surprisingly a very common mistake. When you are nervous you may find that you will only listen to one part of the question and not the rest of it or you will hear what they want to hear and end up giving an irrelevant example. Do not be afraid to jot down notes when the interviewer is asking a question and pull out the key criteria you need to address, for example;
“Tell us about a time you have been busy and pressurised at work and still ensured the safety of yourself and others was not compromised.”
The key things you need to address;
- Provide a busy/ high pressured situation (do not say every day is busy, give a specific example which is over and above your general duties).
- What did you do (your actions) to ensure the safety of yourself and your team.
- What was the result of the situation due to your actions
If you feel that you haven’t got a grasp of the question do not start waffling in the hopes it might come to you or you might strike it lucky and get the topic. Ask the interviewer to repeat the question, this will not look bad as the interview panel prefer you to give a relevant example rather than waffle. Remember do not be general or theoretical (avoid I would do this) and remember to be specific i.e. “I am busy on a day to day basis however one specific example where I was busy and under pressure was…”
The best way to communicate your answer is by first stating whether or not it was a team effort. For example you could say; “it was a team project and we were tasked with delivering X, however, I was responsible for Y. I did a,b,c to contribute to the project and we then won an award for the work we produced”.
7) Engage with everyone in the room and make eye contact:
Make sure you engage with everyone in the room, not just the hiring manager. Everyone at the end of the interview will provide their thoughts and feedback to come to a general consensus on how they felt it went. Although the manager will make an overriding decision, if you have ignored anyone in the room they will not comment favourably on your interview. Make sure to make eye contact when talking to people, don’t look at your hands or feet, don’t fidget in your chair, don’t lean back in the chair etc. Be interested and show it.
8) Time Keeping:
Interviews are normally only one hour in length and compromise traditionally of a minimum of 6 questions but can go up to 9 or 10. Therefore it is important to be clear and concise with your answers, on average you will only have approximately 4 – 5 minutes to respond to each question. It can sound like plenty of time but you will be surprised how quick it goes. Practice responding to one of the standard questions and time it, chances are you will go over. Being brief is really all about practicing; not waffling, not getting caught up in detail and making sure that what you are saying is relevant, on point and follows the STAR technique.
9) Asking questions of the panel:
At the end of every interview there should be time allocated for you to ask questions of the interviewers. Be sure that you always ask a couple of questions, you should already have these prepared but you may find that you have through of some others throughout the interview. By not asking a question it can give the impression that you feel you know the job already which let’s face it no one knows the job fully until you are in it. Again you want to come across as interested in the position and not over-confident.
Most importantly remember to close out the interview by thanking them for their time and the opportunity to meet with them.