At the Interview

How to perform in an interviewThere are some do’s and don’ts when it comes to interviews, but it depends where in the world you want to work. Make sure you ace your interview by following a few basic tips and interview techniques and you’ll soon have employers eating out of the palm of your hand…

Audition tapes…

If you are looking for an international job there’s a chance you might have to go though a telephone or video interview before you leave the UK. If so, make sure you speak clearly and don’t waffle; talking too much is a guaranteed way of fluffing your lines. Make sure you listen and leave pauses, so your employer can ask all the questions they want. If you are talking through a video link, dress appropriately and set the scene by making sure your surroundings are clean and uncluttered. You can’t rely on good body language on the phone, so make sure you’re pitch perfect and give the vocal performance of your life.

Razzle-dazzle them…

Once you get to the face to face interview stage, it’s key to make that all-important good first impression. Show you’ve got true star quality from the offset and have your prospective employers mesmerised by your interview performance. While shaking hands and introducing yourself is the best way to make a good impression in most destinations, in some countries, for example in parts of Asia, you might be expected to greet your interviewers with a nod of the head or a small bow. If in doubt, take your lead from your interviewer and follow suit. Impersonation is a skill after all!

Meet your critics…

While it can be intimidating sitting before a panel of experts, there are a few key skills that are translatable across the globe and can put you firmly into character. Common questions you will be asked include ‘why do you want to take this job?’ and ‘what is your previous experience?’ Emphasise why you want to work for that company in particular, what future skills you are looking to gain and what you can bring to the company. Focus on your team skills, as being part of a whole production is greater than any individual part. Demonstrate examples of when you have worked strongly as a team and prove you can collaborate and don’t just want to be the star of the show.

Commit to the role…

If you have always wanted to teach, work with kids, or have landed an interview for your dream professional internship abroad, make sure your enthusiasm and interest in the work comes across, and underline any previous relevant experience you have in your chosen area. If you are primarily searching for a job to fund your gap year travel and just want to earn some money, don’t fall into the trap of making that obvious to your employer. You should always approach every role, however small, with the same commitment you would show to any prospective job. A job program is a great way of making sure you are perfectly matched to the type of role you have always dreamed of and ensure you don’t mess up at the audition stage.

Look into my eyes…

Maintaining eye contact is usually considered a must in many English-speaking countries, such as Australia or the USA, but in countries like China, you will be expected to avoid direct eye contact as it can be considered challenging or aggressive. You will need to moderate your tones to suit too; in America you may want to project your voice confidently and sell yourself, but in China you may want to talk modestly and quietly and respect the dramatic pauses in conversation.

Make yourself understood…

If you are looking for work in a country where English is not the first language, make sure you speak straightforwardly, enunciate your lines clearly and even throw in a few words of your interviewer’s language to show you are serious. Don’t let them think you’re fluent if you aren’t though, or you may find your interview needs subtitles!

Closing curtain…

Act in a professional manner until the very last minute of your interview and you’ll prove you’ve got what it takes to go all the way. Make sure you thank your interviewer and show you’re keen, but don’t push for an answer about whether or not they’ve cast you in your favourite role. Again, shake hands or bow goodbye, taking your cue from the interviewer, and leave them dazzled by your professional manner and star credentials. Then breathe out, relax and look forward to an exciting adventure abroad!