Q: I’ve been called for what the company has described as an informal interview next week. The sector I work in is a closely-knit one and we all know each other, which might explain the informality in this instance. Should I just go with the flow? (DR, email).
A: Tread carefully, DR. An interview is an interview, full stop. A meeting with a potential employer is never something to take for granted, particularly as you have actually applied for a job, writes Liam Horan, Sli Nua Careers.
They might call it informal, and maybe even treat it that way in their approach, but the reality is you are being judged. You are being assessed against some criteria, whether or not they’ve even articulated that criteria. They are going to see if you fit in and meet their needs.
Therefore, you should treat this as a formal interview. Prepare as thoroughly as possible. Research the company.
Think of examples where you did stuff that could meet their needs. Have ideas about the value you can bring to the role. Dress professionally. The meeting may take place in the corner of a coffee shop but your answers will be remembered.
Make sure they are remembered for the right reasons.
Presentation can make a good impression
Q: I’ve been thinking about offering to make a presentation at a job interview coming up in three weeks. The job is in my own company and only internal candidates can apply. They haven’t really outlined what they want us to do to put ourselves forward, but I am thinking about delivering a presentation that would show my experience and the approach I would adopt. What do you think? (TD, email).
A: My inclination is to say, yes, that sounds like a good idea. Given that I don’t know the full lie of the land where you work, you should run it by someone else with an insight into the company, but I think it is always a good idea to put your best foot forward when going for a job interview.
Even if they decide not to permit you to give the presentation, they will remember that you were prepared. Equally, you will benefit from having arranged your thoughts in this manner.
However, it is more likely that they will invite you to go through the presentation. It will be seen as a clear sign of determination and professionalism – good points to score.
If you decide to do it, let them know beforehand. Tell them what you will need – e.g. a projector and maybe a laptop. Or will you do it without any technological aid and simply give each member of the interview panel some printed pages? Whatever it is, have it ready: you don’t want worries on that front to become a problem for you.
One word of caution: they may decide to deny you the opportunity, either beforehand or on the day, so be prepared for rejection. Don’t take it personally. The likelihood in that case is that their HR person has told them not to allow one candidate do something different to what the other candidates are doing.
As long as you don’t allow that rejection to throw you – remember, it’s not personal – I think you have very little to lose.
Broadly speaking, plough on.