You’ve impressed your potential employer and made it through to the interview stage.
Some employers, particularly for relief and contract farming jobs, may conduct a telephone interview first to whittle down prospective candidates further, but eventually you will be asked to attend a face-to-face interview.
In both cases, preparation beforehand is key.
“Some candidates don’t realise how important preparation is,” says Grace Nugent of agricultural recruitment specialists DeLacy Executive.
“Some people just look at the business’ website and think that’s it, but it’s important to go back to the job description so you know what the job would entail and what would be expected of you.”
Doing Google searches to find any articles and latest news about the company is a good idea, as is researching the company’s customer base and any competition.
“Little things like planning a journey are also important,” says Miss Nugent. “Just knowing where you are going and how you are going to get there help.”
First impressions count
Potential employers will make judgments about you in the first few seconds of meeting you, so it’s important you present yourself in a way which creates a good first impression.
Plan your clothes, avoiding too much statement jewellery and any outrageous outfits as it could convey the wrong thing about you.
“If you are worrying whether to go smart or more casual, it’s probably safer to err on the smarter side,” says Miss Nugent.
George Gordon, chief executive of relief work supplier LKL Services, agrees looking smart is important, even when the job will involve you getting mucky.
“If you are going for a senior herd manager role for example, I would expect you to be smartly dressed,” he says.
“If it’s a dairy assistant’s role it’s not as crucial so long as you make a good impression – a checked shirt and jeans would be fine, so long as you are clean and tidy.”
The way you sit, stand and shake hands can all go a long way in making an impression on someone.
If you slouch or slump in your chair you may come across as disinterested. Keeping your shoulders back and head up will help you look confident, as will maintaining eye contact and smiling.
“A lot of people forget to smile, which is actually really important as it shows enthusiasm and energy, which are key things to interviewers,” says Miss Nugent.
Selling yourself and proving what you can contribute to the company is a vital part of any interview, Miss Nugent adds.
“Lots of people read up on the company and forget to think about themselves and what they can offer.
“You got the initial interview from the CV, but when it comes to the interview it’s more important to get your personality across and the chemistry you have with the interviewer is a key part.”
Although you might feel under pressure, take a few seconds to think before you answer questions.
“If you’re asked for weaknesses, don’t say you haven’t got any,” says Miss Nugent. “Show you’re aware of them and explain how you can turn them to strengths.
“Don’t be critical about your previous employers either,” she adds. “It doesn’t go down well as they get concerned you would be critical about them too.”
Finally, ahead of the interview think about things the employer will be thinking and think how you can respond to them.
“An employer will be thinking about why you have applied, how competent you are, whether you could fit in with the existing team and so on,” Miss Nugent says. “It pays to be aware so you can plan ahead how to answer their questions.”