If you’re looking for a new career in one of our sectors, then handling your interview with professionalism is essential. As well as reviewing your qualifications, experience and your CV, a potential employer will leave the final decision down to how you come across and perform in your interview. It can be a pressurised situation, so take a look at our key tips below that will help you prepare as best you can.
If you would like any advice, at any point of your application process, then please contact one of our expert consultants on 01489 774010.
Preparation is key, and you must show the potential employer your interest and understanding of the company, as well as the role you’re interviewing for.
Know your CV
Review your CV and make sure the experience and skills you’ve highlighted are relevant to the position. Make sure you have examples that are directly linked to your CV that can demonstrate your suitability and ability to do the job.
Make sure you have highlighted your key achievements and be ready to talk about your most recent ones. And above all else, be prepared to talk about, in detail, what you currently do and what you’re responsible for.
Understand the role
What software will you be using? What work will you be producing? Who will you be reporting into and/or managing? What is the key purpose of the role?
Make sure you have a detailed job description and company structure chart that answers the above questions. You can get this by asking your Recruitment Consultant, or the company itself if you have applied directly instead of going through an agency.
Research your potential employer, and understand the company
It’s very important to have knowledge about the company you want to work for. The company’s website will be able to give you in depth information about the size, location(s), growth, history and goals. Check them out on social media too, to see how they portray themselves.
Make sure you are aware of the products/services they offer, and who their competitors are. Which market do they operate in? Do they have any key achievements or have they won any recent awards that could prove a good talking point in interview? Google can provide a host of information in just a couple of clicks, so take an hour out of your day to make sure you’re completely clued up.
Check out Glassdoor too, for reviews from past and present employees. That will give you a good insight into company culture, and what it’s like to work there, from people who have experienced it first-hand.
2. Key considerations
You only get one first impression!
Having all of the above knowledge on the company and the role will help you make the best possible first impression. According to research, the interviewer decides to hire in the first 5 minutes – so make them count!
Dress to impress
What people wear to work is constantly changing, and a lot of companies are starting to offer a ‘casual style’. But, when it comes to interviews, it always pays to play it safe and dress smart, unless you’re told otherwise. Iron your shirt, polish your shoes and get the suit or dress dry-cleaned. There’s nothing more embarrassing than turning up to an interview with last weeks’ coffee stains down your front…
Be on time
In fact, arrive 10-15 minutes before the interview is due to start to avoid last minute ‘flapping’. Plan your route, and your parking, and give yourself time to spare in case you hit traffic. If you are running late, then make sure you call the person you are interviewing to let them know (using hands-free, or pull over to make the call).
Use the time in the reception area to take in your surroundings and observe the work environment. If you’re sat playing on your phone when the MD unexpectedly walks past, it doesn’t look too professional.
Be a STAR
This is a well-known communication technique which can be applied easily at interview when faced with a question that requires you to give examples…
Situation or Task – describe concisely the situation or task that you were faced with, and what needed to be accomplished.
Action – Explain the skills and personal attribute that was tested, and explain what you did. Talk about what you did personally, not what the rest of the team did – remember, you are selling yourself! Be sure to explain what you did, how you did it and why you did it. Be specific and, most importantly, relevant. And be sure not to assume they know what you’re talking about – avoid technical jargon unless it’s crucial to your explanation.
Result – Use this opportunity to describe what you accomplished and what you learned from the situation. You can then highlight your further skills, and make the answer a lot more personal.