What to do on the day of your interview

     
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This video covers how you should present yourself on the day of the interview, what you should do when you first walk into the interview room and some general tips for presentations.

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About this video

You’ve been lucky enough to get an interview and you’ve done your preparation, how should you present yourself on the day of the interview? Sean Russell who is an ex-Director of the University of Warwick and the University of Birmingham Careers Services shares some key tips.

Transcript

Alison: Hello I’m Alison Osborne from jobs.ac.uk and welcome to our video series on ‘How to Succeed at Job Interviews’.

I am here with Sean Russell who is an ex-Director of the University of Warwick and the University of Birmingham Careers Services. Sean has over 10 years’ experience interviewing people and is now a career coach, trainer and consultant.

Alison: Sean, thank you for joining me today.

Sean: Pleasure.

Alison: You’ve been lucky enough to get an interview and you’ve done your preparation, how should you present yourself on the day of the interview?

Sean: Well without going into too much fairly obvious detail about being smart and tidy and clean, although actually its worth saying, there’s a very good motto, if you like, which is you can’t go wrong if you dress smart, and particularly if you are looking for jobs in a university, you’re going to be wearing pretty straightforward formal clothes, that’s really important, and I think in terms of… its key to show that you’re interested, both in what you say and the way you say it, so if you don’t smile at all, if there’s no eye contact at all, then people are going to be thinking well what’s this person like with other people? Particularly if it’s a client role, team members and so on, so that’s really important. And obviously, being yourself, which is such a cliché in terms of interview advice but it’s really important. If you’re generally a measured, reasonably enthusiastic person, then you don’t need to hype yourself up to be hysterically enthusiastic, because the difference between the real you and what you’re trying to perform will be picked up by the panel and it jars, so be yourself.

Alison: So when you first walk into an interview room, what do you do?

Sean: Well one of the questions I’m always asked is about the handshaking, and I think you’ve just got to take a sensible view on that, if you’ve got an interview panel of say 3 or 4 and they’re the other side of a very big table then leaning across to shake everyone’s hands isn’t going to be feasible, so I think just take their lead, and certainly as you’re introduced to people, acknowledge them, nod, smile. In terms of body language, again a question I get asked a lot, really, if you have got some fairly extreme body language hopefully you will know about that before you go into the interview panel, but I don’t think one needs to work too much on little nuances of body language, there isn’t time, it takes a lot of time to shift that, so as long as you are pleasant and you’re attentive, and you show that you’re listening to questions, then I think that’s really key.

Alison: Often you might have to do a presentation as part of your interview, do you have any general tips?

Sean: Yes, although I know there is detailed advice on the jobs.ac website in the careers section, a few general things that I would say is be absolutely clear about the method that the panel is going to ask you to use in terms of doing your presentation, so by that I mean is there going to be flipcharts, is there going to be IT available, or none of those things, there are trends, sometimes people just want people to talk it through with a few prompt cards and a hand out, sometimes they want them to use IT in a fairly sophisticated way, particularly if that’s part of the job. I think one can over prepare and many presentations will be no longer than ten minutes and always assume, even if they don’t say it specifically, that there will be follow up questions. So whatever you put in your presentation be prepared to talk about, or indeed defend, in particular if you’re going for a lecturer post, or an academic teaching post, research post, the culture is very much being challenged on what you present, because that is the nature of the academic life.

Alison: Well thank you very much for your time Sean.

Sean: Not at all - absolute pleasure, thanks very much indeed.

Alison: You can see more videos, careers advice, blogs, case studies and much more on our website www.jobs.ac.uk

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