Rose Rambles: Nailing an interview!

Saturday 25 May 2013

I've agonised over the past week or so about writing this post. Mainly because I don't want people to think in any way that I am bragging, because I'm not trying to. Also because I don't want people to feel like I'm saying this is 100% what you should do, because I'm not. I'm just sharing how I go about interviews, which is why I also decided not to call this kind of post 'advice' because I don't do advice, that way I can't get in trouble!

So you may or may not know that I had a couple of interviews last week, and I didn't really post this anywhere, but I got offered all three jobs. A few weeks prior to my return home I did an online job search and applied for three jobs, one with VUE Cinema, one with Vodafone, and one with a Debt Management Company. Weirdly they all called me on the same night asking if I could come for interview. Technically Vodafone called me Wednesday (8th May) and scheduled a telephone interview for the Thursday (9th). The telephone interview was simple, it was mostly the lady from recruitment talking to me about my CV and the role that was on offer. So I guess that brings me to my first rule of interviewing:

1. Always know what you've written on your CV!

This may seem like a total no brainer, but they WILL ask you questions about your previous employment and about your CV. So if you've lied about something on your CV that in real life you know little about, you'd best start doing your research on it. Obviously I don't recommend you lie on your CV, nothing on my CV is a lie, and in fact my CV is rather bare, but I make sure I write a covering letter whenever I have the option to send one!

A quick note on covering letters: This is your opportunity to tell the employer why you want the job, and what experience you have that you think fits the role. So in the case of the office job I applied for, I have no experience. However I mentioned the skills I had gained in my years in retail, and talked about how I believed that they were transferable to the role which they were offering. So although I wasn't necessarily the perfect candidate for them, I showed that I had an interest, and managed to secure an interview!

Anyway, after my initial phone interview with Vodafone, the recruitment lady confirmed that I had passed it, and asked me to come to interview on the Tuesday (14th). So I was pretty excited to have one interview, especially with the job market the way it currently is! Then I got another phone call from a gent at the Debt Management place asking if I could go for an interview on Monday (13th), which of course I said yes to. At this point I was a little shocked, two interview offers in one night, that's pretty epic! THEN 30 minutes later the cinema called me asking if I could come for an interview on Monday too! At this point I was just totally in a state of shock, as were my friends and mum. This was all before moving home, in fact, I moved back on the Sunday and had interviews Monday and Tuesday. It all moved very quickly. So Monday came around and my first interview was with the cinema. This brings me to rule #2!

2. Dress Smartly

This is again an obvious one, but I've seen people turn up to interviews in jeans and it shocks me. Basically white shirt, black trousers and a blazer. It's not hard. Even if the interview is for a cleaning job, you want to look smart, and serious about the job. Which brings me to the next rule!

3. Research the role/company!

If the role you are going for is in a Cinema, obviously they are going to ask you questions related to films. Such as, what are you favourite films? What is the last film you saw at the cinema? Obviously I had a bit of an advantage with this interview, seeing as my degree subject is in film, I had a fair bit to talk about! Even if you don't know a lot, a little bit of research can get you a long way. In the case of my Vodafone interview, I was actually told there would be a section of the interview where I was asked about my knowledge of the company. So I spent a little bit of time looking into the company, their history, and what they do outside of the general business! I even took 5 pages of notes with me to peruse on the way into town! I even managed to drop in a few facts that the assistant manager had never heard, which the manager confirmed. It was a little different with the Debt Management job, mainly because I have NO idea what they do. I did a little research but it's all a little difficult to understand, so instead of pretend to know anything, I simply admitted that I didn't know a lot about the company. Which thankfully didn't earn me any bad points!  

4. Act confidentially, even if you are nervous as hell!

This is probably the most important rule! You need to be confident (not cocky), you need to ask questions and show an interest in the company/role. If you have no idea about an answer, then own up, and they will fill you in. Funnily enough they don't expect you to know everything before you start the job, they give you training 9 times out of 10. I'm going to give you a bit of TMI here, but I was SOOO nervous during my cinema interview, that when I stood up the chair was soaked in my sweat, but I managed to disguise it pretty well! Did the manager think I was nervous? Nope. The best thing I did for my confidence was taking Drama at secondary school, it means I can hide most of my nerves 80% of the time! When I don't know something, I laugh it off, having a bit of a laugh in the interview, and smiling a lot shows you to be a positive person! The interview I was the most nervous about was the Debt Management one, seeing as it was the only role in which I didn't have any direct experience. However my interviewer even commented on how confident I seemed, which of course I laughed at, because inside I was a nervous wreck! So it's all about keeping the outside cool, calm and confident! This also helped me for one part of my Vodafone interview that was a little new to me!

During my Vodafone interview I was put on the shop floor, and paired with several members of staff, and all the time I was being watched by my interviewer. They were basically looking to see how I interacted with staff and customers to see how I would fit in the store if I got the job. So instead of standing there and feeling awkward (although I did), I asked questions, to the staff, and the customers. Of course when interacting with customers you need to make sure you are always polite, and if asking them questions make sure they don't mind being pestered by you! At one point I was placed at the front of store with the greeter, who basically sees what customers need and books them in with an adviser. I was told that if two customers came in at once I would have to deal with one, so I made sure I watched him carefully, and when two customers did come in at the same time, I was able to serve one, with confidence, despite not knowing 100% what I was doing. I think it was the way I dealt with that situation that ultimately bagged me the role with them! My next rule kind of fits in with all this confidence stuff.

5. Ask Questions!

Always ask questions! Especially if there is something that you don't understand, they won't think you are stupid, they'll be glad that you are asking. Asking questions also shows that you are interested in the role! At the end of every interview they normally always ask if you have any questions, and this is your chance to ask about pay/hours/holidays etc. Also if you have any dates you are unavailable then this is the time to give them to the interviewer! I took a notebook to all of my interviews and when it came to the questions section of my interview I made sure I got it out and wrote down any information that they gave me. As well as meaning I had everything in one place, it makes you look professional!

So after all three interviews, I was feeling pretty confident that I might at least get one of the jobs, but imagine my complete shock when I got offers from all three! I immediately turned down the cinema job, but I agonised over the other two jobs for an entire week! Finally settling on the office job, mainly because I don't have to work weekends and bank holidays!

So there you have it! The five rules that I follow when going to an interview! As I said, these aren't necessarily what I think everyone should do, and I am in no way trying to brag about my situation! If anything the situation was very stressful for me, particularly when it came down to choosing between the Vodafone and office job! I hope this helps someone out there, and I'd love to hear from anyone that has had an interview recently/has one coming up!
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  1. Great post! I have an interview on Tuesday so will keep this in mind!

  2. Great post Hun, agree with it all especially asking questions xx