Congratulations on securing an interview – you are a step closer to securing your next career move!
The current employment market is candidate driven, which means meeting the criteria on a job specification won’t guarantee a job offer, however being the best at interview will.
This article is designed to help you prepare thoroughly to enable you to showcase your skills and suitability during an interview.
Our top tip? Prepare thoroughly! Even if the interview is likely to be of a more informal nature, it is always better to be over prepared – it will make you stand out from the crowd.
R E S E A R C H
Prior to your interview make time to research the following;
- Visit the company website
- Understand in brief the company history
- Familiarise yourself with products and services
- Recent News
- Company Vision and Values
- The job description and main competencies
- If possible visit the interviewers LinkedIn profile
A T T E N D I N G T H E I N T E R V I E W
Appearance & body language:
- Remember the old adage: you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Typically, recruitment decisions are made in the first five minutes, during which time you have had little or no opportunity to speak in your own favour.
- Make sure you are I smartly dressed (99% of people make a decision on a person before they have even opened their mouths and spoken!)
- Make sure your handshake is firm (a firm handshake is perceived as a strength of character)
- Be polite and friendly from the moment you walk into the employers building
- At the interview, be positive and enthusiastic throughout – save any reservations you may have for your recruiter to handle for you.
- Monitor the interviewer’s body language – if they appear uninterested or restless, you may be waffling or have become side tracked.
- Maintain good eye contact whilst talking to the interviewer at all times (this gives a the impression that you are keen and sincere)
- Your future employer is not only looking for specific skills and experience, but also for someone who will fit in with the team. It is therefore important to sell yourself and build rapport with the interviewer
Think before you speak:
- Showing an interest and maintaining regular eye contact is important
- Listen to the questions and respond slowly and clearly
- Always review your CV before the interview and make sure that you are completely familiar with its content
- Your answers should demonstrate the benefit and relevance of your skills and experience to prospective employers whilst being relevant to the question- don’t answer a question you wish you had been asked
- Be honest and remember that enthusiasm and personality can often compensate for a lack of specific experience.
- Whilst the interview is your chance to impress your potential employer, don’t forget that it is a two-way discussion and it’s also your opportunity to find out more about the role and the company. Is this organisation and this job what you are really looking for?
- Salary, holidays and benefits negotiation should only be entered into after you have received the offer and by your recruitment consultant.
- Never criticise your previous or current employer
Y O U R C V A N D I N T E R V I E W Q U E S T I O N S
Think about the achievements you have detailed in your CV. It is likely that the interviewer will probe deeper into these achievements so make sure you have additional information about them such as statistics and references or letters of recommendations.
Also, be prepared to answer questions on:
- Gaps in your CV
- Why you’ve made those particular career moves
- What you would have done better with hindsight
- Long term career plan
- Problem solving
- Make sure that you are doing the majority of the talking. ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ answers will not impress anyone.
- Make sure that you answer the question, do not be tempted to skirt around and issue (this will create the impression that you are either avoiding the issue or that you do not know what you are talking about!)
- When asked about your experience, make sure you are explaining your duties in full.
E.g. an Accountant is in an interview and has just been asked what their current role involves, the candidate replies with
“Tell me about yourself”
Summarise your qualifications, career history and abilities, highlighting those relevant to the position.
“What do you dislike about your current role?”
The interviewer wants to ascertain whether the aspects you dislike in your current role are also present in the position in question. The best approach is to highlight an aspect of your current company which differs from the company you are talking to.
“Why do you want to leave your current employer?”
Make sure this is a good and valid reason. Stick to simple facts e.g. “I have come to the end of my learning curve there”
Whatever you do, do not use any examples, which may give the employer cause for concern e.g. “The boss doesn’t like me and I don’t like him”
“What are your strengths/weaknesses?”
Ensure when answering this question that you do not mention any real weaknesses such as “I’m a bad communicator” or “I am not organised” What will the employer think of you if you were to say this?
You must say something that can be seen as a positive too e.g. “In an effort to be a good team player I find it difficult to say no to additional workload and sometimes work late to finish it” What does the employer think now? They see this as a positive although you are saying that this is negative.
One final and essential consideration: Before answering questions asked by the employer, take a few seconds to think WHY they are asking you the question and what answer they may be looking for.
Always ask a couple of questions if given the opportunity. Make your questions relevant and use them as a chance to show that you have researched the company.
- Ask about training and what future plans there are for the position?
- Who would you be working with/your direct reports?
- Any plans for the company/department as whole?
Ask a friend to ask you difficult questions like these. PREPARATION IS VERY IMPORTANT – IT WILL MAKE YOU STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD!
At Dot Recruit we schedule a call to you the evening before every interview for an in depth interview preparation session and to give you an insight of our client’s expectations to ensure you perform your best.
You may also be interested in the following article: Are you a stand-out candidate? Make these 5 small changes to get noticed…