secret interviewer

June 26, 2015, by Laura Estrop

The Secret Interviewer – Part One

By Jennifer Balloch, Employability Officer

Interviews, they are something everyone has to go through at some point during their career. Whether you love them or hate them, we can all agree that we want to know the secrets to interview success.

To try and help, we have asked a range of employers to tell us about some of their best and worst interview experiences. In the first in our four-part summer series, we will share with you their stories to give you an idea of what to do and not to do in order to get that job!

Being proactive really pays off

“I was interviewing six candidates for a marketing assistant role, some of the candidates had experience and some were seeking their first job out of university. The first five candidates all performed really well and the panel and I were dreading having to make a decision. The sixth candidate, who was actually the youngest and had no formal work experience, blew the others out of the water. Without being asked or prompted she had brought examples of her work with her, a portfolio of things she had done at university, and design work – on top of this she performed really well, but it was how proactive she was that really impressed us. The work was great quality too, just what the marketing team were looking for.”

What questions should I ask the interviewer?

“I was interviewing a range of candidates for a graduate position and the applicant who stood out the most was the one who, when asked if he had any questions at the end of the panel’s questions, asked about the strategic direction of the company: this really impressed me as it showed he had a real interest in the company as a whole rather than just the role. It also showed that he was interested in how the role he was applying for fitted into the wider goals and strategic direction of the company.”

If you would like to know some of the best questions to ask during an interview see our blog post on The best and worst questions to ask during a job interview.

What not to wear…

“I was interviewing on a very cold day early in the year; the candidate who I was interviewing made a great first impression; he made eye contact, smiled and seemed relaxed and smartly dressed. When he came into the interview room, he took his smart jacket off, unfortunately for him, he was wearing a Mickey Mouse T-shirt underneath his crisp white shirt – I don’t think this was quite the look he was going for!”

“I was interviewing for the University Open Day Student Ambassadors one year, the dress code for the interviews is casual, but sometimes candidates choose to dress more smartly. One student came to the interview in a shirt, however, the shirt was so creased it looked like it had been screwed up under the bed for weeks! Again, not the impression the candidate was going for – perhaps one last look in the mirror would have saved this candidate from making the wrong type of lasting impression!”

Watch out for next week’s edition of The Secret Interviewer, for more tips on how to shine and avoid faux pas during an interview. In the meantime, we want to know, have you got any interview tips or blunders you would like to share with us? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

If you need any help with interview preparation then have a look at our website. Remember you can always book an appointment with a careers adviser to talk about an interview you have coming up. 

Image: StartupStockPhotos

Posted in Applying For JobsInterviews