How to pass a job interview in Dubai

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We every one require to include a job interview at a number of point, excluding doing your explore and altering your move toward is more important than a lot of people often grasp.

We’ve all been there, sitting in the waiting room pretending to look cool and nonchalant, wearing our best with a pack of CVs in one hand and a palm load of sweat in the other. Going for a job interview can be an anxious experience for many of us. But to overcome the – perfectly natural – sense of anxiety, have you ever tried changing the way you look at interviews?

Gulf News Guides spoke with Gareth Clayton, Senior Director at Charterhouse, Dubai. An experienced HR and recruitment consultant, Gareth has over 15 years experience dealing with interviews.

“Interviews are an integral part of your job search; it is the ultimate opportunity to sell yourself on a face-to-face basis”, says Gareth. “They should not be viewed as a one-sided interrogation with relentless questioning; rather they should be experienced as an open forum for two-way information flow.”

Be Prepared

Of course, it goes without saying that prior to any job interview it is imperative that you do your homework on the company, and that goes beyond just learning the address; preparation is the key. Gareth says that “Preparation is the first essential step towards a successful interview. There is no excuse for a candidate possessing little or no information about the company with whom they are interviewing.”

We’ve all been there, sitting in the waiting room pretending to look cool and nonchalant, wearing our best with a pack of CVs in one hand and a palm load of sweat in the other. Going for a job interview can be an anxious experience for many of us. But to overcome the – perfectly natural – sense of anxiety, have you ever tried changing the way you look at interviews?

Gulf News Guides spoke with Gareth Clayton, Senior Director at Charterhouse, Dubai. An experienced HR and recruitment consultant, Gareth has over 15 years experience dealing with interviews.

“Interviews are an integral part of your job search; it is the ultimate opportunity to sell yourself on a face-to-face basis”, says Gareth. “They should not be viewed as a one-sided interrogation with relentless questioning; rather they should be experienced as an open forum for two-way information flow.”

Be Prepared

Of course, it goes without saying that prior to any job interview it is imperative that you do your homework on the company, and that goes beyond just learning the address; preparation is the key. Gareth says that “Preparation is the first essential step towards a successful interview. There is no excuse for a candidate possessing little or no information about the company with whom they are interviewing.”

It’s important to research the company, and to understand its products and services as well as the location of its various offices and plants. To really impress, you can go further by investigating its future growth opportunities, such information is generally accessible from documents and publications on the company’s annual report, corporate website, or even its business publications.

Being able to talk confidently about this information will show you in a very good light.

What should you wear to an interview?

It goes without saying that you should dress conservatively for any job interview, regardless of what the position might be, and regardless of what type of company it is.

Whether you like it or not, it is still a person’s prerogative to judge someone by their attire and personal hygiene and since the very core of an interview is based on judgment, you have to make a good impression.

Scrappy shoes and a creased shirt won’t look very good, and those turning up in jeans and a t-shirt may as well look elsewhere.

What other traits do interviewers look for in their candidates?

Interviewers will have a pre-determined set of questions to ask you, but there are also countless other areas which will make all the difference. In reality, the interview starts the moment you walk through the office door, before you’ve even met your prospective employer. It is, therefore, crucial that you arrive on time.

Gareth says quite clearly that you must “Arrive on time, having previously checked the address and exact location of the interview.” He says that it’s also important to “Know the interviewer’s correct title and the pronunciation of their name, and make and maintain eye contact, smile, and have a firm handshake.”

It is important to remember that the UAE is an Islamic country, and therefore the customary handshake is not always appropriate. Members of the opposite sex may not be keen to shake your hand, so wait for them to offer theirs first. It may not always be easy to gauge, but you should do your best to be as polite as possible.

Then there is the tricky business of small-talk; knowing what to say isn’t always easy, so stick to the basics, such as weather, and how easily you found the place. Gareth adds: “Use small talk to establish rapport, but let the interviewer initiate and lead this, as being over familiar at this stage could set the wrong tone”.

If you are offered tea or coffee then you should accept it, whether you’re thirsty or not; it is considered rude in Arabic custom to refuse such an offer. Accepting it will suggest that you are aware of local traditions.

What questions should you ask in an interview?

It is obvious that the interviewer will ask you a set of pre-determined questions, and then perhaps some bespoke ones that relate directly to your past experience and application. But remember what Gareth says: an interview is a two-way exchange.

It is crucial, therefore, that you go into your interview prepared with some questions of your own. Avoid asking about the salary, leave, and benefits. While these are important things to know, they should be asked at a later date if you succeed in the first round of interviews. Asking them straight away will make you appear selfish, and suggest that the job isn’t as important to you as it should be.

You should ask intelligent, meaningful questions, such as: Is this a newly created position? Why has the position become available? How would you describe the corporate culture? What are the company’s plans for future development? Is there an induction or training programme for new recruits? What is the next step? These will make you appear – and under no false pretence – that you are interested in the company and are keen to gather as much information as possible.

An interviewer will be impressed to hear these questions.

What can you expect in an interview?

An interviewer is going to want to learn as much about you as possible, so knowing what to expect and how to conduct yourself is going to be important.

You must be prepared for technical questions. Saying that you have expert knowledge about one particular accountancy software is all well and good, but if you can’t explain how to perform a certain function with it then you will have been exposed.

It is also essential that you prepare relevant and recent examples of your work or achievements. You may not be asked, but it would look good if you can show the interviewer a personal portfolio on demand. Be warned, however, that using sensitive company information – such as your previous company’s accounts figures or web traffic figures – can be illegal, and interviewers will be well aware of that. Be smart as to how you demonstrate your work.

The interviewer is not only going to be assessing your work experience and qualifications, but also absorbing your personality and motivations. Gareth says that it’s important to come across as “keen, but not desperate”. Govern your passion, and don’t just heap meaningless praise on the company to which you are applying, being a sycophant will get you nowhere.

Crucially you can expect to be asked to explain certain career moves. At first glance, if it appears that you have worked for three companies in the space of six months, it suggests to the interviewer that you are either not going to be committed or you have been fired for – most likely – being unreliable.

That may not be the case, you could be so good at what you do that you have been head-hunted by bigger and better companies, or perhaps you have been unlucky with involuntary redundancy. Make sure your explanations are air-tight and justified.

Understand your SWOT

What is SWOT? SWOT is an acronym which stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. In short, you should write down a list of points under each heading which apply to you.

Strengths should be areas which make you stand out, not just assorted things you’re good at. If you are applying for a job as an accountant, then it is obvious that you are a capable mathematician. Saying that you’re “good at maths” won’t stand you apart from the rest. Talk about how well you communicate with clients, for example.

Weaknesses are much harder. Going into an interview and saying that you’re “always running late” will see you ushered out of the room. The trick is to try and turn your weakness into a positive, or at least to try and highlight a positive. To say that “I get nervous with public speaking; standing before a crowd means that I lose the ability to convey my passion” indicates that you are human, but still passionate about the job.

Don’t say things like “I work too hard”, “I take on too much”, or “I’m too ambitious” as this really doesn’t make any sense.

Opportunities are slightly trickier to identify. You could mention something along the lines of a recent seminar or event you attended, and that you got talking to a potential client. Or perhaps you have read of an upcoming project which is taking place nearby which you feel could help the company. Of course, you can note down several opportunities which you can keep to yourself for later on; such as learning from an experienced professional.

Threats are by far the hardest to identify, and aren’t always relevant when talking about yourself in an interview. You could identify the activities of rival companies. For example, what is the recruitment company next door doing differently? Is their approach working or not? Are they a threat to the company for which you are being interviewed? What ideas do you have to “beat them”?

Interview DOs and DON’Ts

Interview DOs

  1. Arrive on time, greet the interviewer by his or her title and surname and shake hands firmly (shake hands with an Arab national of the opposite sex only if they offer their hand first);
  2. Accept any offer of tea, coffee, or water;
  3. Wait until you are offered a chair before sitting. Sit upright in your chair and look alert and interested at all times;
  4. It is very important that you demonstrate your interpersonal skills during the interview. Try to be charismatic without being overly friendly;
  5. Be a good listener as well as a good talker;
  6. Look the interviewer in the eye and smile, let them feel that you are enjoying the process while taking it seriously;
  7. Follow the interviewer’s leads and make sure that your good points get across to the interviewer in a concise, factual, and sincere manner. Waffle will get you nowhere;
  8. Conduct yourself as if you are determined to get the job you are discussing. Remember you cannot reject a job that you are not offered.

Interview DON’Ts

  1. Try not to be too friendly and do not answer questions with a simple ”yes” or ”no”. Explain yourself whenever possible;
  2. Conversely do not ”over answer” questions, make your comments relevant and to the point without waffling;
  3. Do not lie. Answer questions truthfully, frankly, and as close to the point as possible;
  4. Avoid making derogatory remarks about your present or former employers;
  5. Try not to use the term “we” when you are talking about your own achievements and avoid making very general statements that lack any real substance;
  6. Do not enquire about salary, holidays, bonuses etc. at the initial interview unless you are positive the interviewer wants to hire you;
  7. Finally do not slouch, mumble, smoke, or answer that mobile phone you forgot to turn off.

Gareth says that candidates should “be realistic and aligned to the market; as to what your level of experience can achieve. Remember the regional bargaining culture, be prepared to negotiate but back it with facts and objective reasons.

“Be balanced in your appraisal of any offer (is it purely financial or simply the medium term goal?). Remember where you are, as it’s important to recognise the regional competition for your skill-set”.

Remember that everyone has to have a job interview; so prepare well, relax, and don’t look at it as an interrogation, treat it as, like Gareth says, “an open forum for two-way information flow”. By adapting your approach, you won’t need to try to look cool and nonchalant, because you will do naturally.