CPH Career: Interviewing – the devil is in the details

You are just coming out of an interview, very excited and maybe a bit exhausted. You feel it went well and are already visualising another interview and signing the contract. A week goes by (a normal waiting period), then two weeks, and then it becomes obvious you were not selected for round two. What happened?

Well, besides cases in which the recruiter got the specs wrong in the job ad, our failure can normally be summed up for one reason: poor preparation.

Meeting not an interview
I advise my clients to regard the interview as a meeting, since it is important to remember it is a two-way street – that you are also learning about the company and whether you want to be a part of it.

First off, while it is important to look the part and dress accordingly, there’s no point turning up in a smart suit looking sleepy. Ultimately, it’s your energy and personality the company will employ, so make sure you have a good night’s sleep beforehand (easier said than done, as many unemployed people suffer from anxiety and insomnia).

I advise my clients, therefore, to exhaust themselves with some physical exercise the day before. Follow it with a hot bath, some tea and an easy-going movie or book that you might nod off to. Anything but medication, as it could have adverse effects on your presentation.

Thorough preparation
Companies will give you at least a week’s notice before an interview, and as a rule of thumb you should use all the time at your disposal – don’t leave it until the evening before!

One of the most important skills to practise is talking about yourself and your work history. Remember to tell it in a concise manner, with respective summaries that speak with results, rather than just the bullet points.

Examples of experience
Don’t be offended if the interviewer asks you a lot about what’s already on your CV. They’re probably trying to evaluate how genuine your experience is and how much is exaggeration.

Prepare additions for each of the positions listed on your CV that underline your strengths and suitability for the job in question. Too often, it is a lack of experience that will let you down – it’s your job to highlight the experience that is relevant.

Tune in next time for more insights into how to make the right impression at the first interview.