How To Get That Vital Second Interview

New Graduate


The following is an article made for EirJobs.com in 2006 by Maedhbh Hanley, she can be contacted at maedhbh@feckthat.com.


What you really need to know

The majority of people find interviews a daunting task. You really shouldnít. The long and the short of it is that an interview board have asked you to come see them. Taken time out of their day because they believe from just your CV that you have something they need. They have a vacancy and it is within all companiesí priorities to get the best candidate. Whether the position is for waiting tables or as a CEO always remember that the interview board want you to be there and it is them that are lucky you are. Once you start believing that and knowing it is true,it will certainly ground you. That said it is okay to be nervous.

The last thing you want to do is leave people thinking you are too ďcockyĒ for the role The only thing worse is if your CV speaks volumes about you but your personality or confidence on the day doesnít live up to what they were expecting. Here are some tips that should help candidates.

  • Sell Yourself:

    Donít be afraid to say you were the youngest person to be promoted in your last job, or even that you received highest leaving cert marks in your year at school. You canít do anything wrong doing this. Just remember it is meant to be a conversation and not a fact sheet on you.

  • Answer Briefly:

    When asked something, give direct answers, with minimal detail. Remember most interview boards will see many candidates for the same role. Donít leave them trying to remember the one good point in ten minutes of waffle. It is perfectly fine to ask things like ďwould you like me to give more detail on any of the responsibilities I undertook?Ē In an interview you should ideally be talking one third of the time, and never more than half the time. If you feel you are waffling then round it up and cut briefly back to main point to reiterate, then stop. Practise your own answers before hand it will help you focus on the points you want them to know.

  • The Why You Left Question:

    If people didnít leave jobs then people would never do interviews. Donít come across as defensive or false. Describe why you left or are leaving; give references to support your work performance in your current or previous employment.. Stick with the facts and make sure you donít slate your company. This always scores black marks, even if they are direct competitors nobody wants to hear somebody in an interview with no respect for last job or colleagues. It immediately says you are not a team player.

    If it is the case that you are leaving because you are unhappy in your work place, donít be afraid to say this. The truth in most situations like that is that you know you wonít be given the opportunity to progress, or possibly have been overlooked. Even if it is colleagues that are making you unhappy donít name names. Be diplomatic and simply and openly use something like ďI have been doing my job for X amount of time, I have gotten to the stage now where I donít feel as challenged and (this could be a good place to put due to help of colleagues and team work I have got to this stage etc) I think I can do really well in a more challenging role with the experience I have gainedĒ. You can even say how there are things you would do differently in your next position or how you may be able to avoid an inevitable departure next time.

    It is never any harm to bring up a weakness saying something like "The truth is, I really need to work on my leadership skills. I'm a good worker and totally competent, but sometimes I lack the confidence to stand up and take a leadership position." Nobody is good at everything, and no interviewer expects it.But donít sugarcoat it and certainly donít say i'm leaving just because I want to!

Part II
© Maedhbh Hanley 2006