Robert: Now, one of the biggest hurdles to cross in getting a good job is the interview. There's no getting away from it, because in nearly every case when you apply for a job you will be called for one, or sometimes even two, interviews. It's quite natural that you might also be dreading it; in fact, some people dread them so much they never turn up at all. What I want to try to do today is to take some of the sting out of the interview and get you over what I call 'job interview jitters' to show you how you can make a good impression and even use the interview to your own advantage. I mentioned two interviews earlier because some companies do a kind of screening interview first, where they try to find out what you're like and if you're suitable for the job before you go on to the main interview. This screening interview would probably be with someone from the personnel department, and I'd like now to show you on the video a couple of examples of these screening interviews, which I hope will help to illustrate how to go about it and how not to. In the first, Walter Edwards of the personnel department of a biscuit factory in Southampton is interviewing Anita Jones for a job as a secretary.
Walter: Come in, I'm Walter Edwards and you're Miss ...?
Anita: Anita Jones, er, but my friends call me Nita.
Walter: How do you do, Miss Jones. Do please sit down. Now, your application tells me you were born in these parts. Did you grow up here?
Anita: Er, um, yes. Well, no. I was born here in Southampton, but my dad, that is my father, works in a bank so we, um, moved up north when I was fairly small, which is where I went to school and, um, then we moved back down here, which is why I live round here now, you see.
Walter: Quite. And I see you've just completed a one-year secretarial course. Is this your first job application?
Anita: Yes, er, well, no. I mean, I've had several holiday jobs and part-time jobs but this is, or rather would be my first full-time job. I mean this is the first time I've been looking for one.
Walter: Do you have any special reason for choosing this company?
Anita: Oh, not really. I mean, er, yes, I was attracted by the money but that's not the only reason, of course. (Laughs.)
Walter: I see. And could you tell me about your secretarial skills?
Robert: Without going any further, I think we can all see that Anita is a very nervous applicant: hesitant and indecisive. It's quite clear that she is petrified by the whole idea of the interview, and her faltering and stammering delivery is even irritating for a Mr. Edwards who has, after all, only a few minutes to find out about Anita and to see if she's the right one for the job. Another important point to raise is appearance, which Anita obviously didn't take much care over. Dress is very important and you should never turn up in jeans and an old sweater if you're after a job in an office or a place of work where you will be meeting people, dealing with clients and that sort of thing. Clean, smart clothes are the order of the day, and try to avoid stage fright, like some nervous actor on the opening night of a new play. Job applicants often look upon the interviewer as some kind of ogre who enjoys making interviewees squirm in their seats, a kind of figure to be looked up to and revered. This negative attitude of mind will not help in any way and will only destroy your self-confidence and ensure failure.
Anita also mentioned money straight away, which was bad and made her come across as being mercenary. The one question she did volunteer a lot of information about was her upbringing and that was all highly irrelevant. Before we move on, there's something else I wanted to point out and that was the way Anita moved. As she came into the room she sidled nervously up to the desk and wasn't quite sure whether to shake hands, sit down or what to do and kept looking nervously around her. Throughout the interview she fidgeted about and kept twiddling the strap on her handbag, which she clutched tightly to herself. Furthermore, she sat on the edge of her seat with hunched shoulders and a tense look on her face, all of which indicates to the interviewer she is someone who can't handle pressure and responsibility and who appears indecisive and unsure. You have to remember that you've got about ten or fifteen minutes to show what you're made of, and no matter how good you are normally, it's in these vital minutes that you must project the right image. Now we'll take a look at another interview and see what conclusions can be drawn from that one. In this excerpt, Louise Simpson is being interviewed for a job with a book publishing firm by Audrey Maguire of personnel.
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