HR & Employment Law Insights

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How do you feel before a job interview? I get very nervous before and during interviews. I find I get sweaty hands, a dry throat and I feel like I’m not able to get the words out that I am trying to say. I’m sure you can relate.

Applying for a job, going to interviews and starting a new job can be an emotional time for most of us. We can feel anxious, nervous and excited about the prospect of a new position and the opportunity that is available to us.

My name is Emma and I was recently appointed as the Administration Assistant here at The HR Booth.

Over the course of a few blog articles, I’m going to share my experiences as a new employee here at The HR Booth.

In this article, I have highlighted 7 lessons from my own experience during the interview stage of applying for the job of Administration Assistant with The HR Booth. There are both lessons for candidates and business owners and I’m very interested to read your comments at the end of the article.

7 interview lessons from a candidate’s perspective

Lesson 1 – Make sure your CV is up to date and is relevant to the job role

Alistair initially approached me via email to explain that he was recruiting an Administration Assistant via Skills Development Scotland and that they had passed my CV onto him.

After looking at my CV he noticed that I had a lot of the requirements he was looking for and he asked me if I was interested in arranging an interview.

Lesson 2 – Ensure the candidate has a clear understanding of the job role and information about the organisation

In the email, Alistair attached a link to his website which allowed me to see what The HR Booth offers. He also sent an attachment with the job description, which allowed me to see in full what the job would entail.

After reading the job description and looking over the website I was more than happy that I had been asked to attend an interview. I then emailed Alistair back thanking him for getting in contact with me and that I was able to attend an interview.

Lesson 3 – Manage the candidate’s expectations through clear communication

We then went on to arrange a suitable date and time for the interview. Alistair also informed me that the interview would be a fairly informal process and that it was really just a chance for me to discuss my CV with him.

I can be very anxious when I am attending interviews and my nerves always seem to get the better of me. I immediately felt at ease when Alistair told me what to expect.

Lesson 4 – Do your research

I then went ahead and performed some research on The HR Booth. I looked at the website to find out a little more about the business. Although you can never know exactly what questions you are going to get asked in an interview, it is always best to do as much research as possible before attending.

Lesson 5 – Create a friendly interview atmosphere

When I attended the interview I was feeling nervous at first but I was soon put at ease when I met Alistair; he came across very friendly and reassured me that it was going to be an informal discussion and a chance for me to tell him a bit about my work experience. There is nothing worse than feeling intimated during an interview.

Alistair gave me the opportunity to talk through my CV and explain the experience I had gained throughout my admin career. He also explained more in-depth exactly what the role entailed and what would be expected of me to bring to the company if I was the successful candidate.

Alistair was also more than happy to answer any questions that I had.

At the end of the interview, I left feeling confident, something that I had never felt when leaving an interview before, as I always felt so nervous.

Lesson 6 – Test your candidates

I was then contacted a few days later by Alistair to say that I had been successful in the first stage and he invited me along to a second interview.

Chris Marr, who supports the business with our marketing, also attended the interview.

I had been asked to talk both Alistair and Chris on what I would do to market the HR Booth online.

This meant I had to do some research around social media and content marketing. Something which was completely new to me. I did start to panic thinking that the research I would present wouldn’t be what they were looking for.

I went ahead and completed my research; looking again at the website and looking at The HR Booth’s social media platforms. I also had a look at other related and competitor websites.

When I attended the second interview Chris had a few questions for me around marketing to find out my understanding of marketing. I was then able to discuss the information I had gathered through my research.

On leaving the interview I didn't feel as confident as I felt in the first interview. Marketing wasn't something I was familiar with, I didn't feel like I had given the answers Chris and Alistair had been looking for.

Lesson 7 – Let the candidate know how they performed

A couple of days later I was still feeling a bit deflated and thought that perhaps I could I have done more research, which may have made me feel better prepared.

I then received a phone Call from Alistair telling me that I had been successful and that himself and Chris thought that what I had presented was good. I was offered the job and I was very happy to accept.

Concluding thoughts

I feel like this was one of the best interview situations I have ever had. I was given advanced notice, time to prepare, and I wasn’t put on the spot. Alistair made me feel at ease, and even though I was doubtful about how I had performed at the second stage, he didn’t wait too long to contact me to tell me how I had performed.

I hope you have taken a few points away from my experience and I’m looking forward to sharing some of my other experiences with you in future articles.

Your Turn

  1. Please tell us about an interview experience you have had that went well and why it went well
  2. What lessons have you learned that you would like to share with interview candidates?
  3. What advice would you give to other business owners who are interviewing candidates for positions?

Please join the conversation in the comments section below.