Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.
Alexander Graham Bell
In a very competitive market, we want to ensure that candidates are able to confidently sell themselves in an interview to have the best chance at getting an offer. Whether you are going for an interview via a recruitment agency, or directly with an employer, we firmly believe that preparation is the key to success. From researching the company, to deciding what to wear, spending time on interview preparation is essential if you want to secure a job offer over your competitors in the interview process.
There are several types of interviews that you could be required to prepare for. In some cases, clients may only do one interview before making an offer, but more often than not, candidates should expect at least two interviews before a decision is made.
Your performance in an interview largely depends on how well you prepare, so please don't leave this until the last minute! In the days leading up to the interview, we encourage you to focus your research on the following: -
You need to be able to demonstrate an understanding of the business beyond the basics that anyone can recite from a quick view of the website. Look through company successes, awards, recently completed projects, etc. Prepare some questions that show your genuine interest in the company, as well as the position you are interviewing for.
Questions about the company could include: -
Ensure that you read the job description and can demonstrate relevant experience gained from your current or even past positions. It is vital that you can explain why you want the job, that you understand the role, and even more importantly, why the employer should choose you over other candidates.
Find out who is going to be conducting the interview. Use LinkedIn and the 'About Us' section of the company website to find out more about the interviewer(s) and their professional interests and experience. This may help you to connect with your interviewer(s) and creative a positive impression during the interview.
Consider how you'll answer common interview questions, as well as preparing some questions about the position that you would like to ask the interviewer as well. Please remember that whilst an interviewer will be assessing your suitability, this is also a chance for you to establish if you could see yourself fitting into the organisation as well. It is a two way street!
Examples of questions you may be asked could include: -
Examples of questions you could ask the interviewer: -
Whilst it is important for you to have researched the company, you also need to think of other practicalities as well.
You may also want to take: -
Whilst many employers still expect candidates to dress smartly, a growing number encourage more casual wear at work, making it trickier than ever to choose an interview outfit. What you'll be expected to wear depends on factors such as the size of the company, the industry it operates in and the culture it promotes. For example, a small creative agency may have different standards to a major accountancy firm.
If you're unsure on the dress code, you may be able to ask beforehand. The key point to remember is that it's much better to be too smart than too casual. Only opt for a more casual outfit if you're absolutely certain that it's acceptable. If there is any doubt, always go for smart business attire. Whatever you choose, make sure that your clothes are ironed, your shoes are clean and, of course, that your hair is clean too.
As you prepare for the interview, think about ways you can demonstrate yourself in a positive light without openly blowing your own trumpet and reeling off a dozen personal strengths. Subtlety is often more powerful.
As your job interview comes to an end, ask when you'll be informed of the outcome and thank the interviewer(s) for giving you the chance to attend, reiterating your interest in the opportunity to work for them. If you attended the interview via a recruitment agency, contact them straight away to give them your feedback and thoughts whilst the interview is still fresh in your mind. Alternatively, we would encourage you to write down some of the questions that were asked and how you answered them. This will help you be better prepared for any future interviews with the company or for any other companies.
Whilst preparation may give you an advantage, it won't automatically guarantee you a job offer. If you are offered the position, ensure that you know what's on offer, before accepting the position. If you are required to hand in your notice before starting a new position, ensure that you have the offer in writing from the new employer, before you hand in your notice. Ensure that you are open and honest about any pre-booked holidays or time off, so that this is taken into account before you start. If you are not offered the position, always ask for feedback. Whilst it is hard to accept rejection initially, constructive feedback can help you be more prepared for future interviews.
If you have found this article useful, are looking for your next position or to recruit for your team, please feel free to contact Joy Bruce phone on 07469 706432, or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.