Ok, you’ve got the call and it’s great news – you’ve been invited to interview! Now the real work starts. Preparation and passion are key. You may think that a quick scan through google, print off a map and you’re away – wrong!
If you’re going to be successful at this first stage you need to wow them in the interview. Let’s go through what we should be doing.
Truly, you can’t prepare enough. Start early with full company searches online. Have an understanding of their size, the divisions’ scale and the specific department you will be working in. What products or services are they known for? Who are their customers, what are the channels to market? Who else could you be working with in the business – do you know anyone or do you have friends of friends who work there? Immerse yourself in their business.
Now we need to take a look at the key personnel in the business. There is no excuse now for not knowing a bit of background on your interviewer. LinkedIn is the obvious place – there’s more than likely something on there about them. Have a look at the key influencers in the business. Depending on what level you are going in at you should know who are the MD’s, Regional Directors, Account Directors or Marketing Managers. Once you’ve exhausted LinkedIn, go deeper. Google their names. Find out more about them. Are they on twitter, do they blog, what are they interested in? The possibilities are endless.
Scrutinise the job specification making sure you’re clear about how your experience relates to the brief. Don’t be afraid to write notes and take them in with you.
Your penultimate piece of preparation is to take a look at their competitors. Who are in their market place, what are the innovations? What are they doing differently that your prospective company could be doing? This list is endless.
Finally, and often the biggest stumbling block with most people is actually getting to the interview. Sat Nav will often only get you so far. Would it be worth while driving up to the offices before hand so you are absolutely sure where you are going. Before you set off to the interview make sure you have the clients’ number or at least that of your recruitment consultant. If you’re delayed through accident or motorway hold ups then you can inform them in good times. In our experience most clients are happy to wait for people or rearrange if they communicate any problems in good time.
So, you’re there – in the interview and the pressure is on. Just relax. If the interviewer is worth his or her salt they’ll be trying to get the best out of you.
You should be focussing on rapport, credibility and potential.
Engage with the interviewer the minute you meet them. Have something in common to discuss, great eye contact, a positive demeanour, good body language and smart appearance. Avoid the old ‘sweaty palm’ too!
Talk through your experience with confidence. You’ll only be able to do this is a)it is actually your experience and b)if you have prepared answers. When talking about your experience think in terms of case studies. Introduce the work you have done, talk about it in detail and then summarise with the key results, accomplishments or achievements.
All that you have done so far in the interview is about setting the foundations for the most important part of the interview. Most employers will want to be clear about what you can do for their business. What can you offer them that will help move their business forward, relieve a problem, develop a new product or service?
Well done! You’ve survived the barrage of questions, the probing and challenging. Most interviewers will then give you a chance to ask any questions. After what may have been a gruelling hour (but hopefully not as you prepared so well!) your brain might well be resembling spaghetti – yet another good reason to prepare! The killer questions will be relating to the potential in the business. Where is the business heading? Has it seen growth in the past 3 years and if so in what particular areas? Whilst you’re really interested in the role you are being interviewed for, this is a long term career move for you so where might you be in 5 years?
Great interviews and interviewers allow the meetings to be two way communication. Make sure you are prepared!