Few people produce a really good CV. The first stage in doing so is to consider the function of the document: it is used for two purposes in the context we are talking about.
To enable your agent to understand what jobs to submit you for.
To enable the client to decide who to interview.
Unfortunately you cannot short cut the system and make your CV appealing to all because each client will have a unique set of criteria when looking to recruit the right candidate. Honesty is always the best policy. It is possible however to generate a CV that has the opposite effect and rule you out of jobs that you feel suited for. CV’s that are difficult to understand automatically are a turn off for any would be employer or recruitment consultant.
Before going to your interview, make sure you prepare yourself by finding as much as you can about the hiring organisation. There are numerous sources of information about nearly every company. Information is normally widely available throughout numerous websites on the internet and available from the recruitment company (if the job has been sourced through an agency).
In particular, the internet should give you a wealth of information about the company and the industry in which the company operates. Most industries also have trade publications so have a read through these publications to gain knowledge about the industry and current trends and issues that they face.
Interview research tips:
Call the company/agency and request sales literature, annual reports, technical information, product brochures, information and so on.
Log on to the internet and visit the company website, spending time looking at financial information and gaining a good understanding of what the company does, and their goals and values.
If available, also access the press area of the website. This will give you articles from the media and insightful information about the company. It will also ensure you are aware of recent press releases involving the company.
If the company website does not have a press area, access information online through search engines such as Google. Alternatively, log on to media sites, such as The Financial Times website, and run a search on the company.
Prepare a set of questions that you would like to ask – don’t forget the purpose of the interview process isn’t purely to find out if you are right for the organisation… it is also your opportunity to find out if they are right for you.
Work out the most appropriate route to take to the client site and print a route map to take with you. Add an extra 30 minutes on your journey time to allow for contingencies.
Make a note of any questions that you might want to ask, including anything that you are unsure of about the company. Assume, unless told otherwise, that it will be a formal interview. Make sure that you have a clean pressed suit and polished shoes ready.
An early night before an interview has been proven to increase chances of success.
During the interview
Introduce yourself, shake your interviewer’s hand firmly and establish eye contact. If offered a drink, take a glass of water. Remain professional at all times. Listen to what your interviewer says and allow them to dictate the pace of the interview.
You should have been given a good overview of the company and the job that you are being considered for during the interview. Make a note of any questions that that you feel have not been covered.
If you cannot think of an appropriate answer for any question straight away keep calm and have a drink of water – this will buy you some time to think.
Be honest with your interviewer. Will you be happy in a job you were given under false pretences? At the end of the interview ask questions from your prepared list, or any questions that have arisen through the interview. Be careful not to ask things that have already been covered.
If things have gone as you hoped and the job is one that you want, make sure to let the interviewer know this. A firm handshake and the words “I have been really impressed with what I have seen today, and would be keen to join your organisation” go a long way.
After the interview
Call your consultant straight away after an interview – this will allow you to give feedback while it is still fresh in your mind. It will also show keenness on your behalf should the client call us for feedback from you after the interview. Discuss any areas of concern; parts of your interview.