Interview: Fail to plan, plan to fail!

One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation‘. Arthur Ashe.
This document is tailored to job seekers on the French market and covers interview basics! It is not designed to be exhaustive.

THE BASICS!

  • Be on time! Plan for last minute public transport problems and bad weather.
  • Because you are worth it!” Be the image of your future employer.
  • Be organized! Take a clean copy of your CV and other supporting documentation (written references, diplomas, …). Take notes (you won’t remember everything)!

THE THREE TRUE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS!

All questions are just other ways of asking one of the three questions below. Remember this and questions will become easier to answer.

1. Can you do the job? (Do you have the hard skills?)
2. Will you love the job? (Are you motivated? Will you stay a sufficient amount of time to make our investment in you profitable?)
3. Do I like you? (Do you have the soft skills? Will you fit in? Are we on the same wave length?)

ROUTINE QUESTIONS

  • What are your strong/weak points? If you are uncomfortable describing yourself, we advise you complete some free on-line personality tests. The results will guide you. (soft skills)
  • Why are you leaving your current job? (motivation)
  • Why do you want this job? (motivation)
  • Tell me about yourself? See Elevator Pitches below or narrow the question down by asking your interlocutor if there is something specific they want to know. (soft skills)
  • Give an example of how and when you showed such skill. (hard skills)

PROFESSIONAL “BLIPS”

Many of us have career “blips”, experiences we would prefer not to discuss. Nevertheless, we are sometimes obliged to answer uncomfortable questions. Our advice is:

  • Plan your answer,
  • Remain positive,
  • Remember, most often it is not what you say, but how you say it,
  • Ask your Consultant for advice,
  • If all else fails “less said the better”!

ELEVATOR PITCHES

Interviewers with little time may ask you to introduce yourself briefly. Americans call this an elevator pitch. In a few words, answer the questions below and you have your pitch!

  • Give a few personal details, name, age, residence, married, children, enjoy sport, … (something brief, along these lines);
  • Name your skills (see personality tests, end of year evaluations, think about your transferable skills);
  • Name your greatest strength, achievement or a compliment you’ve received (inspire yourself from professional references, general feedback or some other outstanding experience, personal or professional),
  • State what you would like to do (this obviously should correspond to the position for which you are applying), and;
  • Why you would like to do it (you should know why you applied!).

SALARY TALK!

  • Know your salary expectations! HR professionals talk in gross annual salary (including the 13th month). Discuss your package separately. Interviewers take notes, it is complicated to go back on what was said in the initial interview.
  • As a general rule sell yourself first, negotiate afterwards! Salary is important, however, your first interest should be the job! Asking about salary and perks before being invited and putting too much emphasis on them is badly perceived. Ask your Consultant for advice.

ONE LAST POINT

Planning increases confidence at interview. What is prepared can be used again and again. Leaving an interview knowing you’ve done your best is all you can do. If, despite your efforts, you are unsuccessful, try not to take it personally.

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