An interview is your chance to put across your skills, personality and experience as well as to learn more about the company you may be joining, so it is really important that you make the most of this opportunity. Below is a list of hints and tips that will help you maximize your potential to impress the interviewers.
- Read through the job description thoroughly and think of examples from your own experience to highlight key skills they are looking for.
- Re-read your CV beforehand and generally pick examples to support any statements you make. Be prepared with third party evidence to support statements you have made about your personality traits.
- Research the company, including their competitors – utilise all the resources available to you.
- Use social media tools to find out what they have been up to in terms of events and marketing and review the LinkedIn profile(s) of the interviewer(s)
- Have you got a map and any additional information needed? Allow for delays – leave enough time for traffic and finding somewhere to park.
- Length of interview – interviews tend to be around one hour in length but allow half a day for travel and extra discussion if the interview is running well.
PREP FOR QUESTIONS:
When asked the Tell us about yourself question, here’s our best advice when answering:
- Be focused – do not go off on a tangent, keep it simple.
- Expand – only on present/relevant positions, nothing beyond the last ten years.
- Give credibility to achievements – finished ahead of schedule, I designed this, kept the project under budget etc.
- Never take longer than 1-2 minutes in responding to a question. There is nothing more likely to lose the interviewer’s interest.
Prepare for other questions that you will most likely to be asked:
- Why would you leave/have left your present company? Do not put your current company down – give positive answers e.g. limited career progression, looking to learn new skills, better environment etc.
- Why would you want to join us? Use research gathered – because you are market leaders, professional organization, better business strategy etc.
- What are your strengths? Tenacious, adaptable, self-starter, influential, positive, reliable, persistent, accurate, systematic, competitive, time/account/people managing, organized, diplomatic, inquisitive, persuasive, communicative, team player/leader.
- What are your weaknesses? Try and think of positive answers. Explain how your weakness can be turned into a positive – e.g. sometimes I get ahead of myself and become too confident too quickly OR sometimes I can be very demanding of those who work with me.
- What motivates you? Work related positive answers – respect, success, environment, developing others’ careers.
- What are your long term goals? Give the impression of long term – talk about being in this job for the next 3 years or more.
- What salary/package are you looking for? Avoid direct discussion of this until you know an offer is being made. Give the impression that money is not important. At this stage, the bargaining pendulum is very much in the interviewer’s hands. Once an offer is being made, the pendulum has swung and only then is it appropriate to make your demands known.
Employers usually make up their mind on suitability of an interviewee in the first three to four minutes of the interview, so your appearance and how you project yourself in that window will determine the course of the meeting.
A smart suit would usually suffice, but dress appropriately for the occasion i.e. skirts not too short, shoes polished. Be aware of the culture of the organization – if they are a casual, relaxed company, do you need to reflect this? If in doubt, do call us.
FINALLY, ALWAYS FOLLOW UP WITH YOUR OWN QUESTIONS
Prepare 4-5 intelligent/relevant questions to help ensure you come across interested in the role. Here are a few examples to help.
- Company presence within the market?
- Future strategy of company?
- Market direction?
- What are the promotional prospects?
- Training programs?
- What is the company philosophy?
- Who are the most important stakeholders – internal and external?
- What are you looking for in your new hire?