Well being: Job interviews are a way to find if the company is right for you

Don't fret about a job interview - instead know your worth and treat the process as a way to find out if a company is the right fit for you.

Zeta Yarwood says the most important thing for job interviewing is knowing your worth. Victor Besa for The National
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Almost everybody messes up a job interview at some point in their lives.

Zeta Yarwood, a British car­eers coach in Dubai, recalls the heart-stopping moment when, back in 2005, she was asked to sell something on the spot during a sales job interview and her mind went blank. “It got to the point where I’d frozen for so long I started to get tears in my eyes,” she says. “My interviewer saved me by showing me what she would do.

“I should never have applied for that job. I hadn’t asked myself the question that all jobseekers should ask – ‘what is it that I really want to do?’ I needed to start listening to who I am and what I’m good at, and apply for those jobs instead.”

These days, Ms Yarwood, 35, who coaches others in CV writing, personal branding and doing interviews, says her clients’ biggest issue is understanding their value.

“They go into the interview believing that the interviewer has all the power, which means their confidence is very low,” she says. If you go in there feeling like ‘we have equal power and we’re interviewing each other to figure out whether we’re a good fit for each other’, it changes the game completely.”

Ms Yarwood also recommends knowing your skills and experience “like the back of your hand”. “It’s vital to have absolute certainty of what it is that you have to offer,” she says. “Don’t perceive yourself as less than the other candidates.”

And calm your nerves with lots of practice, she adds. “Interview yourself in front of the mirror and in the shower, then get a partner or friend to shoot questions at you. You want to have bullet points in your head, maybe some key words that you can keep going back to.”

Ayesha Karumbaya, a director at Edelman Dabo in Dubai, advises jobseekers to check out a company’s social platforms and get familiar with its corporate culture in advance.

She also advocates logging on to platforms such as glassdoor.com and salary.com to check out company reviews and assess what you should be paid.

“Take the reviews with a pinch of salt, but when you find a common thread across the reviews, it gives you a pretty good idea what the company culture is like,” she adds.

Q& A: Zeta Yarwood tells Jes­sica Hill what candidates should say during an interview:

What’s the best question to ask the interviewer?

Something on the lines of “why was it that you joined this company? And how have they surpassed your expectations?” Look at that person’s body language to gauge how comfortable they are when they’re answering to detect whether they’re being truthful.

Should you be afraid to mention salary?

Salary is tricky because if you ask, then you’re automatically going into a position of conflict. Don’t bring it up until they do, and when it comes up be absolutely certain of your value. If you know what it is that you have to offer, you absolutely know what it is that you are worth. This is where recruitment agencies come in handy, because they can handle that for you. You can then say to your interviewee “look, salary is super-important to everybody, but it’s not my main driver. My recruitment agent can go into more details about what exactly I’m looking for.”

Is it OK to negotiate on salary?

Absolutely, there’s always room for negotiation. Go in high and have your bare minimum ready, the one you’re not willing to compromise on. And work out your negotiables. Are you willing to negotiate on holiday? The more clarity you have on that before the interview, the better.

Is it OK to ask for feedback after the interview?

Yes, although a lot of employers might not have the time. But there’s no harm in asking; until you know what you’re doing wrong, you won’t know where to improve.


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