I have always been a strong believer that the most exciting part of the recruitment process is securing an interview (yes, even more exciting than securing a role). It means that thanks to you, and your recruiter, you have managed to make your CV stand out and already made an impression on the client without any personal interaction. So well done! It’s now time to back it up though during the interview, so what is the best way to do so?
Interviewing, whether it be face-to-face, via Skype and/or Telephone, is a daunting task for the best of us. I tell my candidates constantly that even though I prep people on a daily basis on ‘how to best interview’ if I had to myself, I would be just as panicky! There really is no magical step-by-step formula to follow that will ensure an amazing interview (unfortunately) but below are some simple tips that could put you at ease before your next one:
- Always, always, ALWAYS be prepared:
I know, you have probably heard this one 100 times – but it’s with good reason. It is alarming how many candidates go into first-time interviews unprepared. Ask yourself; what industry is this company in? Who are their competitors? Where do they rate against their competitors in the market? Why are they good at what they do? Why do I want to be part of it? Why will I be a valuable member of said company? What makes them stand out in their industry? Google for any up to date news on the business, press releases? If you do not have the answers to these questions, you should not be attending the interview.
Make sure you also have succinct examples of your previous roles ready to go. Using the STAR Method is a great way to do so. Ensure these examples are relevant to the job of course and that they highlight what the challenge was and how you overcame it. These do not always have to be success stories though, do not be afraid to use examples of times that did not go so well – as long as you provide a solution as to how you will do it better the next time round. Showing that you learn from your mistakes is a great quality to possess!
- Research your interviewers on LinkedIn prior to attending:
We are so lucky today that we have great tools such as LinkedIn at our disposal, so make sure you use it to your advantage! Looking at your interviewers’ career progression, their previous experience and roles will not only make them seem ‘more human’ and put you a little more at ease, but you may be surprised at the mutual connections you could have. Perhaps you have worked at a company that they have been at, or you are connected to similar people in your network – all these could be great talking points during your interview.
- Don’t be afraid to challenge the interviewer/s:
You have to always imagine that your interviewer/s are meeting another handful of candidates similar to you, so you do not want to be asking the same old stock standard questions. Do not be afraid to challenge your interviewer/s as to ‘why do they do X that way?’ or ‘have you thought about doing X like this instead, I had a good outcome when…’. This will ensure that the interview becomes more of a two-way conversation rather than questions being fired at you. (Disclaimer, the conversational interviews in which the client learns something are always the best). Be careful to not overdo it though, it may have been the interviewer/s that established the current practices and processes; it is important to have a point of view on this but nobody likes the new guy that instantly challenges normal practices.
- Say yes to that drink:
So the introductions and the ‘nice to meet you’-s have been exchanged and you have now been offered a drink. You may not be thirsty but your answer to the glass of water is YES PLEASE! This will not only put you at ease but will also put the interviewer at ease. It seems simple but this unassuming gesture of accepting your interviewer’s offer will make them feel good and should set you up for what will be a memorable interview (for all the right reasons).
I hope these friendly reminders will ensure that your next interview is fluid, conversational but that most importantly you are relaxed enough so you still have fun!
P.S. A smile goes a long way 🙂