JOB INTERVIEW: “To be or not to be”…

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interviewNo, this isn’t about Shakespeare, but about how to act and present oneself during a job interview. Anyone who’s ever gone through the experience, will know the feelings of fear, being judged, the pressure to get the job, and the need to prepare for the interview.

Certainly you know the knot in your stomach, the sweaty palms, and your own shaky voice behind a frozen smile as you sit in front of your potential employer? – Fortunately, that can be just an old memory if you train and learn some tips on how to be more comfortable during the job interview.

Tips about job interview

So, for the those who like the “do-itself”, there are lots of books and websites talking about the job interviews, from, starting with CV, writing the best covering letter, and how to answer all the usual questions an employer might ask. You can even find some examples, as well as learning about gesture analysis.

If you prefer learning about this it with someone, if you aren’t motivated enough to do it by yourself, or if you don’t know where to find the information, there is a solution! In Geneva you can go to the “Cité des métiers” in Plainpalais which has a lot of free seminars to help you find a job or improve your career. You can find their address and agenda here. Even if you don’t need it, you could follow their seminars, because they are very interesting and you can always learn something new or just use it as a networking opportunity with other participants.

For example, you can discover that even some physical diseases are the body’s expression of being stressed or deeply unsatisfied with your job. You can also, learn how to negotiate your salary, and even come to realize the importance of what you do with your hands and feet during an interview, the meaning of your gesture, and so forth.

It was especially entertaining when, during the workshop “Auto-contrôle en entretien”, the speaker showed a video of Johann Schneider-Ammann, the past Swiss president’s speech talking about the benefits of laughter – with a no-expression on his face!

Gesture and body language during a job interview

You can also learn to be more convincing and expressive (but not excessively), to show your motivation in your face and words. You need to explain, it’s not enough to say you’re motivated: everyone can and does say this. Pay attention to the direction in which your feet point: it shows if you want to escape as though you feel in danger, if you are wasting your time, or if you feel at ease where you are. (Hint: keep them pointed in the direction of the interviewer).

Your hands are important too: even if you usually use hands to talk, don’t gesticulate too much. Make just enough signs to help express your words. Some gestures are better than others, so-called neutral ones. You can find examples in this French YouTube video  where,  beside the explanations, you will see how the speaker uses his hands during the video.


Proper presentation: “Clothes maketh the man”

interviewOther tips for your hands: take care of your nails. If you are a man, cut them and make sure they are clean. If you are a woman, the fashion now is to have gel and colorful decorations on your nails but, for a job interview (and even for a hand model’s casting), it is better to just have a well-groomed French manicure, a sober nail polish, or simply be au naturel with clean nails.

Take care with your jewelry too. You can adorn yourself, but remember that you aren’t a “Christmas tree” and you aren’t going out for a party. Usually you have to dress formally, but this depends on the sector of work.

There may be some dress code rules you have to respect because you will represent the company’s image — and not your personal style. Your employer might be amused by the T-shirt with swear words that you bought in a bike fest in Verbier, but the interview might not be the best situation to show how funny and cool you can be.

Instead, present yourself, professionally and show how competent you are. However, if you have a specific style and you’re working in a more creative area, or in a work where you don’t meet clients or the public, you can probably show a little more of your personality.


Let’s talk: how to introduce oneself

Now that you have had some tips about dress code, posture, etc., you should be aware of some recurring questions and how to answer them without falling into the trap:

Can you really say what are you thinking? No.
Can you really say the truth? No.
Also can you be yourself? No.

Well, not really, unless you are popular like a star and you want to create a buzz… One of the most common questions is, “How was it in your last job?” and “Why did it finish?”. Even if you decided to leave because your boss was incompetent, harassing and smelly, and you have all justifications in claiming this, it’s better not to. Instead, tell other truth: you left because you wanted to get a better job, to work somewhere more agreeable to yourself, or even saying that you had a disagreement with your boss whilst remaining vague and polite.

Remember: even in a city, and above all in towns and villages, people know each other. Your last boss could quickly hear what you said about them and for sure he or she will appreciate a nice word and may talk about you in a more positive way So, keep in mind to be always positive and polite. Otherwise, you might make your future boss afraid of having similar trouble with you in the future.Another important thing: you don’t have to answer to all kind of questions.

As you can read in this article, sometimes employers wanted to know more about you but if the questions are too personal (about politics, religion, sexuality, family, and so forth), you have the possibility to not to answer.

Do you want to know more? You can practice your answers to common interview questions both in books or on the internet. Here, you have an example of 34 common questions in French and here you have examples in English.And finally, we wish you the best of luck in your next interview!

Morena Nardone Morena Nardone

Spontanée, créative, j’aime le challenge et réaliser des projets avec soin de la conception à la mise en place. Très polyvalente, avec une formation commerciale et graphique, douze ans d’expérience professionnelle dans l’administration et plusieurs activités parallèles dans le milieu artistique, je me lance maintenant comme rédactrice avec énormément de motivation et enthousiasme.


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