How to be a success during an interview

Even when you’re the most qualified candidate with references galore, a poor interview performance can leave a lousy impression on a potential employer.

Yet, you can avoid nearly all interview mishaps if you prepare the right way for your interview. This means always knowing which talking points to bring up — and why these points are important in determining if the position is a good fit for you.

Here are 10 things to always bring up in an interview:

1. The Work

The most fundamental goal of the interview is to determine whether you have the skills and experience to do the job. Prepare yourself with a list of facts and goals you have achieved which prove your accomplishments to your interviewer and leave them in no doubt you are more than capable of the role.

2. The Company

The number one interview mistake encountered was little or no knowledge about the hiring organization. Don’t let that happen to you. Do your homework ahead of time so you are ready to say why you want to work at that job and for that company.3. The Culture

The work environment can determine whether you love your job or hate it. Address the work culture with your interviewer to make sure your values align. There’s nothing worse than landing a job only to realize the organization is not a place where you would feel comfortable working.

4. Industry Knowledge

Wow your interviewer by showing off your knowledge of the industry. Talk about recent newsworthy events or the company’s newest products. Thoroughly understanding your industry proves your passion for the field. In addition, having this knowledge suggests you have a deeper level of expertise than the average candidate.

5. Past Experiences

Your past experiences demonstrate how you would perform if you landed the job. So, you want to be prepared to describe past experiences where you had a big impact. If you have numbers to back up your claims, that’s even more persuasive.

6. Portfolio

A portfolio is a visual representation of your past work. It not only shows off your accomplishments, it also gives you added value. While a portfolio may not be essential for many positions, having physical representations off your work that you can share upon request will make you look good because you went that extra mile.

7. Your Plan For the Position

Your interview needs to show the company what you can do for them. Lay out what you’d do, should you get the job. This plan doesn’t need to be detailed–it just needs to illustrate how you would positively contribute to the position. For instance, presenting how you would reduce customer turnover is an easy, yet beneficial way to show an employer why you would do well.

8. Your Referral (if you have one)

There’s nothing wrong with name-dropping if the person helped you land the interview. If you were referred to the position, be sure to remind the interviewer. This connection may put some legitimacy behind your candidacy, as well as spark a positive conversation between you and the interviewer.

9. Thought-out Questions

Always make sure you have questions at the end of the interview. From queries about the interviewer’s role to thoughts on the history of the position, questions show your desire for the job. They can also give you more insight into the role, which may not have been addressed during the more formal portion of the interview.

10. Next Steps

Understanding the next steps in the interview process is essential. Always ensure you’re aware of what these are. It may be a second interview. It may be giving the company a list of references. It may mean you won’t know the outcome for a few weeks. By asking about these next steps, you’ll know what to expect and gain some peace of mind. You’ll also show your enthusiasm for this position.

As you can see, job interviews can be a much smoother process if you use this checklist. Do your research, emphasize why you are the best candidate for the job, and always leave on a good note. You’ll find the outcome of the interview will be much more positive if you do

Executive Networking for Success

 Networking can help you build productive business relationships which are essential in the running of a successful business.  However, remember that networking should be a fun and informal way to make and strengthen business relationships, so avoid a hard sales pitch style introduction, and instead, make your exchange friendly and informal.  Highlighting your company’s most recent accomplishments such as a new client or completed project keeps the conversation relevant, and you will always win people over if you are enthusiastic and passionate about your business.  Discuss what inspired you in starting up your business or taking your position within the company, but be aware not to hijack the conversation, so ask appropiate and interesting questions in return.  Researching who will be at the networking event is crucial if you are looking to make particular connections, and be sure to follow up your new contacts via connecting on LinkedIn, a friendly email. The Poole Business Women’s Lunch Club is a friendly and supportive networking group who meet monthly, with guest speakers, at Storm fish restaurant in Poole.

Finding the right networking group for you is essential.  The Engage Directors run a networking group for Women which meets monthly at Storm fish restaurant in Poole and features relevant and inspiring guest speakers – from Lush founder, Mark Constantine, to best selling author and founder of Company Shortcuts, Lara Morgan.  For more information on the Poole Business Women’s Lunch Club, see

Senior Managers; Making Your Employees Happy

For senior managers, an important element to keeping all areas of production high, and the running of your department smooth, is the happiness and contentment of your team.  Below are just 3 simple ways in which you can improve the contentment of your employees, which in turn are going to have huge benefits to your department and company.

Invest in them

Employees are unlikely to be happy if they continue to come to a job that offers no room for growth and advancement. Offering training opportunities and mentorship helps an employee feel they are improving themselves, professionally, as well as being valued by their boss and company. The best businesses out there invest in their employees. Send them off to conferences; encourage them to grow in their understanding of your industry by spending a bit of time and money on their professional advancement. This shows you have high expectations of their future within your Company and you see them as a long term investment.

Bonuses – Say Thank You!

Offering bonuses – no matter how small – improve morale within your team.  Bonuses make your staff feel valued, increases their loyalty to an organisation and makes them want to work harder for you.  The bonus doesn’t have to be financial.  Depending on your industry and the type of work your employees do, offering small tokens of appreciation – such as a voucher for a meal at the local restaurant, flowers etc – will make employees feel their work, particularly in hard economic times, is not going unnoticed, or unappreciated. Have clear work targets and acknowledge when these are achieved.  So often an employee will feel the brunt of not reaching a target, yet their effort and achievement goes apparently unnoticed when they do.

Make the work environment comfortable

It may sound obvious, but making your employees work environment comfortable, will go a long way to making them want to be at work.  Although work production is of course your primary objective, working in a sterile office environment with no ‘distractions’ will actually have a negative effect on your staff. A decent coffee machine, complimentary soft drinks, fruit and biscuits, an area away from their desks to relax – just a quiet corner of the office space with comfortable chairs and a sofa, if you can’t allocate a separate room – all makes a huge difference. Out of the office, if budget permits, and your employees have to travel in the name of business, booking them a business class seat on a flight or into the airport lounge or a first class train ticket, will not only make them feel appreciated, but will mean they arrive at their destination refreshed and better able to deal with the business meeting.