While some candidates are offered every role they apply for, some of the very best can struggle to get past the first round interview. The good news is that interviewing is a skill that can be learned. The better news is that when we learn that a candidate is not doing themselves justice we can often rapidly help them communicate their capabilities far better.
Preparation – it’s absolutely critical!
There is an art to preparing for an interview and it is the key to your success. The prospective employer is interviewing you to understand how well you will perform against their needs so prepare with what they want in mind.
- Review the job description – identify the skills and traits the employer lists in the job description. Those are the skills they are interested so that is where you need to focus.
- Match your experience with the employer’s wishlist – review your CV highlighting examples that illustrate your skills, knowledge and experience that relate to areas identified in the job description.
- QUANTIFY the impact YOU made – the prospective employer is looking to understand your contribution and the impact that it had. Make sure that you can clearly and concisely articulate that for each relevant part of your CV.
- Research the company and team – use the company website, LinkedIn and any other tools you can find to develop a background picture of the company and the team you are looking to join. Your recruitment consultant will often be able to fill in a lot of this background for you including information about interviewers.
- Prepare to answer obvious questions – there are some questions (technical and personal) that you can predict an interviewer will ask you. Prepare for them. If you want ideas of common questions then ask your recruitment consultant and consider gaps in your CV or discrepancies between your LinkedIn profile and CV.
- Prepare questions for your interviewers – interviewing is a two way process. Prepare a selection of questions for your interviewers – it shows your interest in the role as well as building your picture of the prospective employer.
The obvious stuff
Every recruiter I know has had a candidate turn up at the wrong time or day or place. Don’t leave it to the last minute to check when and where you should be – plan your journey and work out what to wear days in advance. Keep a pack ready with copies of the job description, your CV and your questions.
Having arrived in plenty of time, make sure that you are courteous to everyone you meet. Stand to greet your interviewer, use a firm handshake and look them in the eye, then sit up straight during the interview.
Answer each question concisely and directly – there is little more off-putting than an evasive interviewee. Don’t be afraid to take a moment to consider your response before replying and if you don’t know an answer sometimes it is best simply to say so.
Following up after the interview
Having left the interview with a firm handshake expressing your continued interest in the role give your recruitment consultant a call. The client will ask the consultant for your feedback from the interview and this is an important opportunity for you to highlight any concerns that you have as well as to reiterate your interest in the position. If you tell your recruitment consultant that you answered a question poorly or retrospectively think of something you wish you’d said, your recruitment consultant can work that into the conversation with the employer and you’d be surprised how often it makes a difference to the outcome of the process.
If you would like help with your interview technique please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 020 7378 7068.