Having run our recruitment businesses for 20 years it's understandable that we take for granted the experience we have of questioning candidates and of the interview process. What can be a nerve-wracking, isolated experience for the candidate is a daily occurrence for us and, in most cases, the questions are often the same.
Have you ever wondered what those interview questions really mean? What are the interviewers getting at when they start asking about your interests? Here are 5 of most commonly asked questions and what they are looking for.
Did you get here ok?
This is normally one for the walk from reception to the meeting room. You might have been waiting in reception a while and the nerves have been building up. Whilst this is only an icebreaker it is still the start of the interview. So, be prepared. They aren't really interested in if you got there ok - of course you did. But find something interesting to say that demonstrates your ability to think on your feet, and to create a conversation. Perhaps throw a question back about their daily commute.
Tell me a bit about yourself.
This is a warm up. It gives you the chance to start talking and to relax a little. However, they don't want to sit there and listen to you regurgitating the Encyclopedia Britannica so have a 3 point plan here.
1. A bit of personal stuff
2. A bit about your current work
3. Something about why you are looking to leave or why this opportunity really interests you.
Tell me about your experience at X company (usually your most recent).
Let's get the structure of this right.
1. Talk about the company, its size, structure and specialisms
2. Focus next on your role, your contribution to the team and the business.
3. Finally talk about your strengths and then how they would relate to the role you're applying for.
What do you know about our business?
This is your chance to shine. It's the easiest one to prepare for but often the one that people trip up on the most. Again - get your thoughts straight with these three simple headers:
1. Background, heritage, key people
2. Specialisms, products, services, what they have done most recently
3. What excites you about their business and why you want to work there. This should nicely bring all three questions together!
And finally - What questions do you have for us?
This is the best opportunity for you to leave a positive impression. Prepare for this part. Write your questions down if you think the pressure might get the better of you. The interview isn't just about whether they like you, it's also about whether you like them.
Hopefully this has been useful but if you're looking for a job in marketing then don't hesitate to give one of our team a call in Leeds, Manchester or London.