Perfect Your Interview Skills
Great, you’ve secured an interview offer with a prospective employer and they want to more about you. This is now the chance to impress in person. The interviewer(s) will be wanting to find out about your skills and experience but also to assess whether you as a person would fit their company and its culture.
IMPORTANT: It’s a two-way process!
Interviews are also YOUR chance to evaluate the company and the people you meet to see if you think the job and organisation would be the right career move. (But avoid being too aggressive or arrogant whist making your assessment.) It’s best to be yourself so all concerned can make a true evaluation from the interview.
Preparation for your interview is critical. First, ensure you know where, when and who you are meeting – don’t be late! Check your route and leave plenty of time if you’re geographically challenged!
Secondly, do your homework regarding the company’s background, market place and key competitors. Employers expect you to have been through their website as a MINIMUM and are pleased when you have taken steps to investigate further. But don’t overdo it – just because you have lots of information doesn’t mean you have to impart it all in the interview! Ask smart (and not smart arse) questions.
Finally, re-read the job specification and make sure you know where you do and don’t match the criteria. It isn’t necessary to be a 100% fit to get the job employers are usually happy for individuals to have the chance for personal development.
Whatever the dress code, be smart and tidy. Incorporate your own individual style but don’t go over the top. Dress appropriately for the organisation.
If you get into “money” discussions be consistent with what you have told your consultant – suddenly changing tack does not reflect well on anyone! Headliners’ policy on this is simple as we talk straight with all involved, anything else just gets messy and unprofessional.
Interviewers may sometimes be tough but they will also be fair – it’s in their own interests to find out the best bits of you so try to enjoy the experience.
Anticipate what likely questions might arise and be prepared with your thoughts.
Employers are less concerned about how a job will be good for you than how you will be good for the job/company. Demonstrate what you think you can bring to the table, whilst also highlighting how you think you can grow in this new role – to the ongoing benefit of the company.
If YOU have achieved something or have been responsible for a project clearly identify your role. Use ‘I’ not ‘we’ to describe your working experiences – this is not a time to be overly modest, nor brag extensively.
Listen carefully and don’t gabble. It is fine to take a moment to consider your answer and avoid giving a yes or no answer. If you haven’t fully understood the question ask for clarification rather than make a wild stab at answering it.
Portfolios can be useful to illustrate your skills and projects you have been involved with. Offer the interviewer the chance to see your work as this can be an opportunity for you to take the initiative in the conversation. Treat commercial information sensitively as they will want to see that you can respect confidentialities.
As you finish the interview resist the chance to try and close them there and then. By all means check if there is anything they felt wasn’t covered or did they have any concerns about your suitability for the job – this may be a last chance to rectify or strengthen perceptions. In most cases the interviewer(s) will wish to take stock and reflect on all they candidates they’ve seen before making decisions.
And finally, if you still want the job let them know – they want to employ someone that is keen and interested in their opportunity.