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Tips on Job Interview Technique
(originally published in the May 2009 issue of Expat In Switzerland)

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Part two of a two part ExpatInCH.com series on job hunting. The Employment page on our site is the second most frequently visited, after the main index page and we produce this series in response to demand. We hope that these steps will help you or your family/friends to find a job.

1) Good preparation is crucial and will make you stand out. Prepare yourself by:
a) Checking the job description and the company/organisation’s website and try to read between the lines. Find out whether one of your friends knows someone working there so that you can get an insiders view.
b) Finding out who will be interviewing you and try to get an understanding of the interview process.
c) Analysing your strengths and weaknesses. The strengths should be relevant to thejob and the weaknesses should not scare them off. Have two weaknesses ready as it is common to ask you for more than one and try to have stories ready for them e.g. what you achieved and how, what problems you faced and how you overcame them. Rehearse you stories so that your are comfortable telling them during the interview.
d) Check your journey route to the interview and even do a trial run. This way you can also see if there is a coffee shop nearby where you can relax before the interview and where you can make a last-minute check of your outfit and appearance. It might also be possible to have a look at some of the people outside the building in the morning or evening so you can see how they are dressed. Try to wear something that fits in and most importantly that you are comfortable with.

2) If you are very nervous try to do something that relaxes you before the interview, perhaps read a book, speak to someone you like, breathe deeply or meditate.

3) Upon arrival smile at the people you meet and be friendly. Make eye contact and exchange it during the interview, alternating between the members of the interview panel if their is more than one interviewer present. Shake hands, sit up straight, relax and be yourself as much as possible.

4) When the interviewers ask you questions, try to relate to your own real-life examples or experience in your responses. If you do not understand a question or you are not sure then ask for it to be repeated or explained in more detail.

5) Ask if they have time for questions, and then ask the right ones. Not about the annual leave or overtime remuneration. Turn a statement about how you would perform in the job into a question. For example: ―In my last/current job I’ve been able to implement some cost effective ways to reduce the workload, is there scope for new ideas in your company?‖ Or, I’ve really enjoyed planning and organising special events for our clients in my current position, would there be any opportunities for this in your company?‖

6) Know why you are the right person for that job.

7) If you have to do a presentation, then ask them the following beforehand: How many people will be there? Who will be there? How long should it be? Is there a flipchart or is there a beamer for computer presentations? Computer presentations with slides are brilliant as they will sort of keep you organised during the presentation. Use keywords and do not overload the slide with information. You should say more than what is on it and keep eye contact and do not be too afraid of it and remember at the end of it you will be happy that you have done it no matter if you get the job or not. It is all experience and it will help you to do better in the future.

8) If they do not want you, then stay positive and learn from your experiences and ask for feedback - even ask for feedback if you have the job. Yes, the feedback upon failure hurts but it is essential for you obtain a perception of how others see you. This is a lot of times quite different.

9) As mentioned in our last newsletter, believe in yourself because otherwise nobody does. You have to believe in yourself and have to want the job and then your chances are pretty high and if not then it was not the right one for you.

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