“Um, could you repeat the question please?” This is the strangest interview question I have been asked so far (see below for my answer!) and it goes to show you cannot prepare for every eventuality. CPD 23Thing 21 looks at promoting yourself in job applications and interviews and although the literature in this area is vast and many of us have received a fair bit of training in this subject I don’t think you can ever have too much good advice. After all, that first job is what lifts you out of the experience catch-22 and sets you on to the road to 9 to 5 drudgery. Um, only joking, I just have commuter grump this morning.
I try to keep me CV fairly up-to-date and all the personal and professional development stuff I’ve been doing lately means that it is pretty shipshape at the moment. However I love the idea of keeping a CV portfolio of everything you might include so you can pick and choose what gets in to the final cut, giving you more scope to re-invent your CV for each different job application. I will use this to stop my CV stagnating now that I have been in one job for a little while.
In terms of my own experience, I have a couple of pearls of wisdom to share, but feel free to throw them back into the ocean of careers advice.
- I have only ever been successful in interviews I have prepared well for. Even if you know you are going into the interview lacking in some things they ideally want the successful applicant to know, read their website, and anything else about the place you can find, so you can at least ask informed questions.
- Practice those ‘standard interview questions’. You will probably be asked a variation of at least one.
- I always try to take my cue from the interviewer(s). If they are serious, I will reflect this, if they are considered, I will appear to think before I open my mouth; if they seem to take a slightly more relaxed angle then I smile back at them. People hire in their own image, it’s a natural instinct.
Finally – an interview is as much a chance for you to judge whether you would like to work there. You may decide to turn them down.