So you have secured an interview for a job you are REALLY excited about but don’t know where to start to make sure you put your best foot forward? Some of these points may seem quite straight forward but I would love to know if you follow each step or if any of this is new to you?
Nobody is trying to catch you out. Your future employer will evaluate you across these 3 areas to aces your fit and suitability for the role:
- Do you have the right skills and experience to hit the ground running in this role? What value will you add?
- Do you have a good track record of performance and delivery? Are you likely to make an impact in the role?
- What are you going to be like to work with? Does your personality and work style preferences suit our culture? Will you be able to engage and influence stakeholders to get things done? Or not?
How to prepare:
Research the company
- Know whom you are meeting and look them up online whether it be on LinkedIn or a google News search.
- Research the company you are interviewing with and be able to talk about it.
- Familiarise yourself with the companies social platforms (website, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.). What is the latest news on the company? Are there any recent press releases you can read up on? What are their key brands/products/services? Have they recently done any marketing campaigns? What are the latest company results? Who are their key competitors? Who is the current CEO?
- Talk to people who work or have worked in the company to get an understanding of the structure & culture.
- Prepare to be asked a mix of questions personal and competency–some directly on your CV & key achievements, others more competency based. Quantifying your achievements comes across very well.
Research the role
- If going through a recruitment agency then ensure you get a thorough debrief of the role.
Competency based questions
Candidates are asked to give examples of how they have acted in particular situations in the past.
It is very important to prepare fully for a competency based interview because it is very difficult to respond under pressure to question after question with good examples. Prepare by writing out examples to key scenarios and examples that match up the competencies of the role you are interviewing for. Practicing out loud or in the mirror has proven to help candidates prepare too so give it a try. Ensure that each example explains succinctly the context, what you did, why, who else was involved and most importantly what the outcome (result) was. This takes a lot of work the first time, but over time you only have to add new up to date examples to it.
What not to do:
Avoid saying “we” too often when you explain your experience. Remember you are promoting YOUR experience so always be able to communicate the projects or aspects of the project you had ownership for and how you made a difference.
Don’t side step the “weakness” or other uncomfortable questions. This is a question used to probe your self-awareness & to get insight into the real you. You must be able to communicate a genuine weakness or developmental area and crucially how you are addressing it. For example, I realised that I did not have the social media skills needed for the position so I took a Digital Marketing diploma or I felt I need to boost my numerical ability by taking a course in finance…etc. We all have weaknesses, but it is how we manage them that is important.
Equally, if you have obvious skills or experiences gaps don’t bury your head in the sand. It is likely to come up in an interview. Prepare ways of addressing it to the best of your ability. For example, “I know I haven’t worked with an online company before, however in my previous position, digital was a very important channel for us and I managed X, Y,Z…” or “I know I don’t have experience in your particular industry, but I have successfully changed sectors in the past & my skills in X, Y,Z are transferable…”
Be real about your motivation for leaving your current or ex-employer, but don’t bad mouth them.
On the day:
- Dress to impress and wear something clean and smart but in line with the dress code of the organisation. If you are unsure, it is best to be overdressed at an interview than underdressed.
- Practice your handshake. This should be firm and don’t forget to smile.
- Always remember to bring a copy of your CV to the interview.
- Don’t be late. Know where you are going and leave with enough time.
- Create positive body language such as (Make eye contact with the interviewer. Don’t cross your hands and face your chest toward the interviewer’s chest: this shows you are interested.
Don’t be afraid to show your personality- Be yourself!