Your CV has been noticed and your interview is all scheduled (yay!), now it’s time to prep! Interviews can make even the most confident of people nervous, but preparation beforehand will help it go a lot smoother, so here are some of our interview tips.
We know you probably know these common interview tips already but, to ensure you make a great first impression:
- Research exactly where your interview will be held. Double check your journey and leave plenty of time in case your train is delayed. Being flustered can throw you right off and it’s very difficult to get back on the front foot after a poor initial impression. If you have a virtual interview, check out these tips.
- Know the interviewer’s full name and the correct pronunciation, and his/her title. First impressions are critical, and the small things go a long way.
- You can never be overdressed for an interview.
- If you smoke, do not have one in the car on the way to the interview. Perfume doesn’t hide it! Have your final cigarette at home before you put your interview gear on.
- Do not chew in the interview; take your chewing gum out before your arrival.
- Remove your sunglasses as soon as you arrive at the interview location. Under no circumstances should you leave your sunnies on your head.
- It’s amazing how easy it is to forget to smile, but it helps in creating rapport.
Now to the nitty and gritty…
An interview is a short space of time for you to sell yourself and get across your skills, personality and experience.
As we mentioned previously, preparation in advance of an interview will help you feel comfortable and confident and even if you don’t get the role this time, you can be assured that you gave it your absolute best.
Firstly, always ask your Recruiter what to expect in your interview. Sometimes it’s group interviews, presentations or tests.
Spend some time reviewing your CV and its relevance to the position description.
Also, do some research into your role. If you have a good, basic understanding of the role, you will be able to ask informed questions that shows you know what you’re talking about and allows you to glean more detailed information. If you’re applying to a Marketing position, look at their social media and previous campaigns to get a feel for how they do things. If your role is more specific, such as Email Campaign Executive, make sure you subscribe to the company’s newsletters so if you are asked about it, you can show you’ve done your research and are able to talk about it.
Do your research into the company. Find out their values, their mission statement and get a feel of their company culture (usually found on their About Us page or on social media). Make a note of anything you particularly like and how you feel you’d fit in. Learn a little about their history, read through annual reports and understand the company’s products/services, size, locations, financial situation, and growth potential. Check for any news releases and do a search on the company and their market — read any other news articles, find out about their competitors, look for any developments in the market that may impact them. If you have a network in that space, put in a few calls, get to know the inside story.
Finally, do some research on the person you’re meeting — their background, any articles they’ve been quoted in, etc. The accessibility of corporate networking sites, such as LinkedIn, means locating personal research has never been easier.
Why do you need to do this? It’s simple. You will come across as prepared and knowledgeable. You will be able to ask informed questions and spend precious interview time getting a much deeper perspective on your potential employer. You may pick up a very small bit of information that will enable you to build a high level of rapport with your interviewer. You may even be asked what you know about the company. In summary, you don’t necessarily know if or how it will help you but being prepared is the first step towards success.
The worst part of an interview is not knowing what they will ask you. However, if you apply the STAR (Situation, Task, Action and Method) technique to their situation-based questions it will help you give a strong answer!
(S) Situation. Describe the situation in which the event took place.
(T) Task. Describe the task you were asked to complete.
(A) Action. Explain what action you took to complete the task or solve the problem.
(R) Results. Explain the result of your actions.
For each question, focus on showing the positive of a situation.
Here are some examples of questions they could ask you:
- Tell me how you handled a difficult situation?
- How do you handle pressure?
- Have you ever made a mistake? How did you handle it?
- Give me an example of a goal you reached and how you did it?
- How do you make sure that the work gets completed?
- Give an example of how you worked on a team.
- Share an example of how you were able to motivate employees or co-workers.
- What do you do if you disagree with someone at work?
- Give an example of a goal you didn’t meet and how you handled it.
Don’t forget to prepare questions. Questions show you’ve been listening, that you’re interested and highlights you know enough about the role to know what you don’t know. Try to ask specific questions as this is your big chance to differentiate yourself.
Here are some ideas:
- If you’re in Sales, make sure you ask about targets, sales cycle etc. to see how achievable your target is.
- What do you like most about the role/company?
- What expectations do you have from someone in this role in the first three months?
- What factors and metrics will you use to measure my success in this role?
Be enthusiastic and authentic. Employers want to hire people that really want to work for them. Passion and enthusiasm go a long way to ensuring you get offered the role. The key thing is to have the interviewer walking away thinking you’re the best person for the role. Once they’ve made that decision in their own mind, you’re in a position of strength at the negotiating table.
Good luck with your job interview!