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Evelyn Oluwole: 15 Interviews & No Call Backs? Here Are 7 Things to Note Before Your Next Job Interview

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I have been working in media sales for over 15 years and worked for 5 top media companies in the UK. I have had over 30 interviews! Now that may sound like a lot or maybe not enough, but interestingly I have never had a second interview and not got the job! So, I believe I am very well equipped to talk about interviews, what I have learnt and what I know will get you through to the next stage to get that amazing job.

So let’s get to it then!
Right, so you have sent an amazing CV and now you have an interview? Great, perfect! You can relax right? Not quite! This is where the real work begins. You must show you are worth the job in less than an hour so here are my top 7 tips:

Research on the company you are interviewing for
Yes it sounds obvious but as a hiring manager I have seen several people who have come into an interview without knowing anything about the company. Start with the company website and look at the ‘about us’ section. Understand their ethos and vision then go onto google, type in the company name and click on ‘news’ so you see recent news relating to that company. This goes a long way to understand how the business is shaping. With all of this information in mind, during the interview you can drop in little nuggets to demonstrate why you are the best person for the job.

Rehearse your answers
There are several questions that will be asked without fail, and these are:
– Talk me through your CV
– Where have you been challenged and how was it resolved?
– Why do you want to leave your current job?
– Why do you want this job?
If you cannot answer the above questions then you do not deserve the job. But if you think you do then rehearse your response in front of the mirror again and again until it sounds like second nature. The reason for this is to make sure you don’t allow nerves to take away your key points. You cannot afford to waffle about irrelevant things! You need this job.

Know your CV
When the question about your CV is asked, start with the most relevant job experience. If you are applying for a job as a bank manager and worked as a waitress several years before, do not talk about it. It is not relevant. Make sure everything you mention from your CV goes right back to why you are perfect for the job.

Make sure you have questions ready
Do not use the obvious ones like “is there career progression” or “what are the perks” but rather ask punchy questions like “What are the challenges in this department”? It’s an opportunity for you to counter respond. Think about questions that will allow you to talk about your capabilities!

Be confident
Arrive to the interview 20 minutes earlier, go to the reception, politely ask for the ladies/gents and then talk to yourself in front of the mirror. Remind yourself how hard you have worked to get this interview and convince yourself that you are indeed the right person for this job. Now go back to the reception, smile at the receptionist and await your interview. You have got this!

The final question you must ask
“Have you got any reservations about me?” This is an opportunity for you to see what the competition is like, and to understand where they feel you fall short. It works every time. Make sure you respond and give examples to solidify your point!

Always leave a 30-day plan
You are not the only person applying for this job and you need to be remembered. You want this job, so create a document with what you intend to do in the first 30 days at the company. Very few people do this, but those that do stand out.

I want to hear how you get on so please share your experiences and good luck!

Photo Credit: Kadettmann | Dreamstime

My name is Evelyn Oluwole and I have over 15 years experience in media sales creating marketing solutions for some of the biggest brands in the world. I am also the founder of Nigerian Top Weddings launching in 2018! I have a deep passion to ‘Take over the world’ and I believe that we can do it. Knowledge is power!

23 Comments

  1. Oma

    July 24, 2017 at 11:40 am

    Wow…Great insights!

  2. Ephi

    July 24, 2017 at 11:44 am

    The last one got me. Very different and a good way to stand out.
    I also like the final question.

    The others are things I would consider common sense, but I may be wrong and some people may not know this already.

  3. marvel

    July 24, 2017 at 11:51 am

    I love this! Thanks.

  4. Dee

    July 24, 2017 at 12:14 pm

    The last one, the 30 Day plan is awesome! Thank you!

  5. Lara

    July 24, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    The last 2 tips are new to me. I will be trying those in future interviews.

  6. Lol

    July 24, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    Well applying for sales positions are easy. Try corporate business executive positions when you are black and abroad then come back and testify…. I await…

    • The real

      July 25, 2017 at 8:41 am

      I concur. I really wish someone would write an article more specific to immigrants in the US. How do you land a corporate job (no, not nursing)? There’s nothing wrong with nursing, but people seem to want to quickly push you to ‘go and do nursing’, even if you cannot hold a needle &syringe.
      What are the prospects for a Nigerian immigrant with several years of work experience/few years of experience/no years of experience in Nigeria in the American job market? Does that Nigerian degree have any value in the US or must you pass through the American educational system to increase your chances of getting a corporate job?
      Yes, racism is real, but how much of that actually comes to play in landing a corporate job?

      I wish I could write the article but I don’t have all the answers. A lot of people, especially women who had to relocate to join the ‘le hubs’, without the right resources and information end up unemployed, under-employed, or stagnant career wise. Yes, you could start a business but not everyone has an entrepreneurial spirit. I know it’s just a matter of time, I’d have the answers and be able to guide people accordingly.

    • Sarah

      July 25, 2017 at 10:31 am

      Actually, applying for sales positions are not easy. To be honest, NO POSITION IS EASY to apply for. I am an executive within sales and believe me, if I had been given advice such as the last two of this article, outcomes may have been different. I think we should learn from articles such as these and perhaps see if there is something different we can do in our interview techniques and approaches. A barrier is only a barrier if you allow it to be.

  7. omalicha

    July 24, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    Thanks for this

  8. Anonymous

    July 24, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    I have attended only 2 interviews and they were for the 2 jobs I’ve had, yes, I’ve never failed an interview. To me, I think the key is just to show how much your skills match the job and you do this by knowing what your strengths are and being honest. If you do an interview right, you’ll notice that in a subtle way, you led the conversation. The perfect combination of confidence and warmth is needed and this happens naturally when you’re playing to your strength.

    I’m a bit skeptical about the 30 day plan as it seems too forward. While you should have a clear idea of what you want to do, you don’t start a new job that way. You read the environment, study the issues, decide who key stakeholders are so you can blend in and stand out at the same time due to your competence and skill in dealing with situations.

    The work place is all about balance. There’s usually a thin line between proactiveness and forwardness, firmness and rigidity, etc

    • Ephi

      July 24, 2017 at 2:26 pm

      In my opinion, you’ve never failed an interview simply because you’ve only done TWO interviews.

      Sometimes, it is simply a case of not being the right fit for the job or the job not being the right fit for you, or other external factors like the interview being a tickbox exercise as there is a preferred / internal candidate already. No matter how well you “do the interview right” or “lead the conversation”, it is NO guarantee of getting the job. Just thought to point that out.

    • curios

      July 24, 2017 at 3:21 pm

      @Ephi can I buy you a bottle of coke? you got it spot on. Everything you said sums it up. There’s no magic to perform if the job doesn’t suit you. For instance as a civil engineer; civil engineering is wide and has so many branches (highway, structures, geotechnics, water etc.). You could show up with your 100years of experience in Highway at a firm that focuses entirely on Structures, and to them you would be so useless. It doesn’t matter how cute and intelligent you sound during the interview. It applies to companies too. Irrespective of how big your company might be, when bidding for a contract if they go through your company profile and discover you haven’t handle projects similar enough to what is being offered. You are turned down.
      Then essence of my comment is this. While this article is superb and offers a lot of insight. Job applicants shouldn’t always blame themselves if they aren’t called back. Keep learning and developing yourself but there’s no guarantee it must be you! And many times when you look back you would be grateful certain opportunities didn’t even work.

    • Jcsgrl

      July 24, 2017 at 5:13 pm

      Thank you @ephi for your sound response. I had an interview two months ago for a job I would consider a dream job. I did everything the writer outlined. Heck I had a 90 day plan presentation. I must admit that I was surprised when I got a 1st and 2nd interview because I truly didn’t think I qualified for the job. It was a big deal with some good perks. Anyway they ended up giving the job to someone who had the experience which I lacked (the reason I felt unqualified). Anyway it was a good experience.

    • Ephi

      July 24, 2017 at 5:59 pm

      @curios
      yes please, coke and fanta! lol

      @Jcsgrl
      you’re welcome. life is not black and white, and doing all the right things does not guarantee anything. Still, we must continue to give life the best shot we can. cheers

  9. Yelema

    July 24, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    Thank you for this.

    What form should the 30 day plan come in? Excel Sheet? PowerPoint slides? Calendar etc
    Can you refer to a sample online?

    Also, I’m always a bit frazzled when it comes to wearing suits, I honestly don’t like them.

    What’s your take on wearing formal dresses for interviews?

    *opinions welcome from everyone

    • Ephi

      July 25, 2017 at 9:49 am

      Yelema, what exactly don’t you like about suits if I may ask….? Is it the fit or does it just make you uncomfortable? For most people it serves as a confidence booster. Also, is it the full skirt or trouser suit you don’t like? Are you okay with blazers? If yes, you could wear a sleeveless dress and pair it with a blazer.

      Most offices these days are more laid-back with attires but during interviews they tend to expect some formality. I always think it is better to err on the side of caution and go the more formal route than less formal.

  10. Anuli

    July 24, 2017 at 5:04 pm

    Great points. We share this and more in our Hire Me Bootcamp for young women. The importance of having a great CV and preparing for an interview is one of many gaps impacting unemployment in Nigeria. You will be alarmed at how many millennials need this in this country. Thank you for sharing.

    • Mahka

      July 24, 2017 at 9:10 pm

      How do I join your boot camp.
      Great article, very bold.

  11. Anonymous

    July 24, 2017 at 8:19 pm

    @Ephi, it’s funny how you helped me buttress my point. I said ‘the key is to show how well your skills match the job’ and you said ‘sometimes it’s about being the right fit and to me, we’re saying the same thing on different ways.

    I’ve attended only 2 interviews because to be fair, I’ve been blessed. After school, I applied for 2 jobs, passed all the stages but chose to attend only one interview because I believed I was better suited to that job. After a few years and promotions, I wanted something else and so I applied for another job, after careful consideration and got the job.

    I admit my story is not everyone’s but I had to comment cos I felt attacked even though we were saying practically the same thing. Maybe if we try to understand more, there’d be less trading of words.

    My point is simple, before any interview, carefully outline which skills of yours are suited to the job and believe it, if you attend an interview knowing; knowing not hoping how you’re suited to the job, it will be easy for you.

  12. Anonymous

    July 24, 2017 at 8:21 pm

    And if you don’t get the job, trust your journey, all things work together for our Good because we love God

  13. Physio Tinu of PhysioCraft

    July 24, 2017 at 11:03 pm

    We’ve had to do some recruiting for our physiotherapy practice this year. It was surprising how few of the applicants bothered to do any research about PhysioCraft before applying. It was ridiculous! From my experience of sitting on both sides of the job interview table, any info you can research about the company shows initiative, curiosity and gives you a leg over others.
    Nice article.

  14. Sarah

    July 25, 2017 at 10:46 am

    @lol Actually, applying for sales positions are not easy. To be honest, NO POSITION IS EASY to apply for. I am an executive within sales and believe me, if I had been given advice such as the last two of this article, outcomes may have been different. I think we should learn from articles such as these and perhaps see if there is something different we can do in our interview techniques and approaches. A barrier is only a barrier if you allow it to be.

  15. Classic

    July 25, 2017 at 11:25 am

    Fantastic article! The key here is to learn and nothing more. I think it’s nice that people are out here helping others and giving back the way that has helped them or the way that they know how. It may not appeal to everybody, but it will certainly appeal to some body. Stop making excuses and start breaking barriers. Don’t allow your location or race be your standard execuse for everything.

    The last two pointers of this article are one of a kind, and I will certainly be trying them out. Thumbs up from me! Thanks for posting Bella Naija!

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