The Career Doctor: your employment questions answered
Thursday 02 December 1999
A: Yes, but only if you don't want the job you're applying for. This stale old adage is one of the laziest and most useless pieces of wisdom that ever gets trotted out. You're there at the interview to market yourself. Would you ever try to sell a car without washing it till it gleamed and getting the engine ticking over smoothly? Around 75 per cent of jobs go to people who are only good at interviews, which means that you'll be competing alongside applicants who are able to put in a very powerful performance.
Research, plan and practise. Discover the personality qualities needed for the job and develop them. Self-coach yourself towards managing your nerves by arming yourself with a mental list of all your USPs (unique selling points). Go through all the questions you think may be asked. Then rehearse the step-by-step mechanics like making an entrance, shaking hands and sitting down in the mirror until you look and feel comfortable.
Q: I was told that the company I am applying to has a "dress-down day" policy. What exactly does this mean, and what should I wear if I get the job?
A: "Dress-down" days are a ghastly transatlantic business that has caught on in some of the more formal-wear companies in the UK. Rest assured that nobody really knows what to wear on these days and confusion generally reigns.
Top-of-the-range stuff such as ties and suits are out and so is scruff- stuff like jeans, shorts or trainers. Never see "dress-down days" as an off-the-leash fashion-fest. Play it safe until you get the hang of it by opting for semi-smart trousers like chinos and an (ironed) shirt.
Q: What's the toughest interview questionthat I'm likely to get asked?
A: Probably the one about what value you can add to the company. That well-honed British talent for self-effacing modesty can scupper success at this point, but so can arrogance. Fit benefits you could offer to the company's needs and describe them positively, as in: "I am a hard, thorough and enthusiastic worker," rather than negatives: "I've been told I'm not bad at team working," or "I struggle with being organised and punctual but enjoy the challenge and am learning to improve."
Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year
TVBBC hopes latest Danish import will spell success
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Which country would be hardest to invade?
- 2 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 3 Indonesia executions: Death row British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford will refuse to wear a blindfold when she faces firing squad
- 4 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 5 Royal baby girl born: Duchess of Cambridge's second child will be a princess thanks to Queen
Grace Dent on TV: Peter Kay's Car Share made me genuinely LOL
Avengers: Age of Ultron set to make box office history with $84.5m US opening
The highly NSFW poster for Gaspar Noé's Love makes Nymphomaniac look like 50 Shades
Red Dwarf returns: Craig Charles quits Coronation Street to return to comedy sci-fi series
New on Netflix UK May 2015: From Fast & Furious 6 to World War Z and Grace and Frankie
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils