Acing your interview
In today’s competitive market, it’s not easy getting past the first application hurdle, so if you’ve been invited for an interview, give yourself a huge pat on the back, you’ve done well!
To help you shine on the big day, here are some ways you can make sure you get the most out of your interview:
BEFORE YOUR INTERVIEW
Do your research
Information is everything, and these days, it’s everywhere. Interviewers will notice if you’ve made an effort to find out about them and will be impressed if you’ve looked into what the company does, where it stands in their field and any further information, such as news stories, annual reports and financial data, that can’t be gleaned from the website. Your research can dramatically increase your chances prior to an interview, as employers consider it as a reflection of your interest, intelligence, and enthusiasm.
Immerse yourself in your CV
Practice talking through your career, achievements and successes to date. You’d be surprised at how many people stumble on the ‘talk me through your current role’ question. This is because you subconsciously carry out your day-to-day role without a second thought, but being asked to explain it can throw up all sorts of problems…
Read the job description thoroughly
Match your skills, knowledge and expertise to the requirements of the job and company. This will show that you take the opportunity seriously. Reflect on positive experiences with current and past employers, managers and colleagues and steer clear of talking about negative situations. We have all experienced a horrible boss, but keep it to yourself, since most employers will run a mile from a candidate who does not talk favourably about current or past colleagues or employers
Focus on what you have to offer
No matter how little or much experience you have, employers want to hire people who’ll continue to learn and grow within their company. As you answer job-related questions, don’t just focus on your experience, but on how your efforts served the needs of your previous employer and the aims of the company.
Don’t be late – ever, unless you have a dam good reason. Check and double check the location, route and travel time. Being punctual is more than a demonstration of good manners, it’s a reflection of your core values. Arrive early, but not so early that it looks as though you’ve got the time of your interview wrong.
AT THE INTERVIEW
Believe in yourself
When you arrive at your interview venue, repeat to yourself that you have a lot to offer and, if you’ve done your homework, you’re going to give a better performance than other, less-prepared candidates. The more prepared and rehearsed you are, the less stressed and more confident you will be. Remember, likeability and credibility is what an employer is looking for.
Attempt to treat the interviewer with respect but as an equal, and, at the end of the interview, genuinely thank them for their time. If you are interested in the role and company, don’t hesitate to let them know – you would be amazed at how many people don’t!
Nerves will kick in, but don’t worry, they’re totally normal & they’ll soon fade. It’s worth bearing in mind that it takes two to conduct an interview – the pressure is also on the employer to find the most suitable person, and, from their point of view, you could take any job you want.
Take time to listen
When you’re busy thinking about what you’re going to say next, you may miss a vital point, so concentrate on paying attention to what the interviewer is actually saying. Stick to the facts and be honest. Those who demonstrate humility and integrity are instantly likeable.
Stagger your questions
It’s not advisable to ask about hours, holidays, salary benefits or the possibility of having your own car or office, particularly at your first interview. Give it a few months into the job before asking these types of questions. These issues can be discussed towards the later stage of the interview process. It’s best that you let the interviewer take the lead here.
In some respects, interviews are similar to a drama – they are staged, but if you rehearse your lines by thinking about the above scenarios, your chances of making the employer stand up & applaud will increase! Please bear in mind that as competition for the best jobs in 2018 has significantly increased. Employers are comparing more and more applicants and asking more and more questions. Only one or two of the questions will be aimed at your actual job-related skills – your cultural fit is just as important to the employer, so your ability to respond with answers that highlight your manageability, willingness, and credibility will heighten the employer’s interest in you.
JUST AFTER THE INTERVIEW
Share your thoughts
Let your consultant know how you feel about the role, especially if you’re certain that the job is for you. They’ll then be able to contact the client while you’re fresh in their minds and before opinions are hardened. A ‘maybe, probably not’ verdict can be sometimes be converted into a second interview and subsequent job offer.
Think the proposition through
Decide whether it really meshes with your career aims. If it doesn’t, let your consultant know and be open to explaining why the role may not be for you.
Reflect on your performance
Think about which parts of the interview didn’t go to plan. It’s important to recognise any negatives in your performance, as this is the only way you’ll have the chance to overcome them in your follow-up correspondence and during any subsequent interviews.
You may want to consider writing a follow-up email to the consultant or employer so that you stay front of mind. Be sure to emphasise your appreciation of their courtesy, your enthusiasm and interest for the opportunity and show that you would do your best work in their environment.
These interview tips are just the tip of the iceberg, particularly if you make it through to second, or even, third interview and have to take part in different assessments. They are however, a great starting point for getting through the first stage. If you’d like more interview advice, then feel free to get in touch, we’d be more than happy to share more of our insight with you.
Do remember that an interview is a two-way thing: the company wants the right person for the role, and you want to be sure you’re making the right move for your career. Do also bear in mind that no matter how scientific the interviewing style, likeability is a powerful influence in deciding who gets the job. It is human nature to like people who have similar values and interests. When you successfully intimate that you share similar traits and work-based values with the interviewer, you will create affinity that may lead to a job offer.