Fantastic! You have an interview for your perfect job, well done! Yet as the big day draws near, you – like the majority of people – turn from super-confident professional into a bag of nerves. Will they like me? How many people am I up against? Can I even do this job?
Stop panicking; the good news is that reaching interview stage demonstrates they’re already interested in you and your skills. In the meantime, it’s all about preparation to ensure you give a stellar performance and with that in mind, here are our eight top job interview tips:
1) Research the company – no, really
This is interview prep for beginners; everyone knows they should research the company. However, not everyone does. Our recruiters have known plenty of candidates who said they’d looked at the website, but when probed, couldn’t come up with a single detail.
Soak up as much information as you can. Learn about the company’s products, services and customers. Check out and follow their social media channels. Search for company news on Google. Perhaps even learn a little about your interviewer if they have a profile on the site. This is important, basic stuff. It shows that you’re serious about the role and can also help you come up with some questions to ask at the end of the interview.
2) Prep with your recruitment consultant
A good recruitment agency consultant will offer to help you prep for your interview, so don’t be unavailable. Remember, they are the experts and have probably placed people in that company before, so have some insight. If you have any areas of concern, you can talk them through, even role play, with your consultant. Use their knowledge to your advantage!
3) Get in the right mindset
Positivity is both infectious and hard to resist – as our good friend and recruitment legend, Randy Moore says: “Who’s going dislike someone who really wants your job?”
If you can go into the interview radiating enthusiasm and confidence, then you’re already half way there. Tell yourself that this is your job and no one’s going to take it from you. It sounds cheesy, but you’d be surprised how much simply being in the right frame of mind can impact the outcome of, well, anything.
4) Practise your answers
Interviews can take many different forms, but arguably the most common type is competency-based, where the interviewer determines whether you have the right skills by asking for specific examples. Your recruitment consultant and/or the job description should tell you what competencies (or behaviours, i.e. technical, influencing, relationship-building, etc.) they are looking for. Expect questions like: “Can you tell me about a time when you had to…?” Ensure you have examples for each competency, so that the interviewers can clearly see that your skills and experience matches what they’re looking for.
5) Be a STAR
It’s so easy to ramble and go off-piste when you’re answering interview questions, so here’s a technique to help you answer more precisely: STAR. Start with the Situation: “We were launching a new product”, then describe your Task: “I had to oversee the software design”. Next, talk about the Action you took: “I researched tested and developed…” and finally talk about the Result: “The product launched without a hitch and the software actually improved the original plans,” etc.
Incidentally, it’s usually acceptable to bring your prep notes to the interview, so that if your mind does go blank, you can quickly pick up again. Plus it shows the interviewers how much work you did in advance.
6) Be honest about salary expectations
This is always, without doubt, an awkward question. The good thing about going through a recruitment agency is that your consultant will handle all of this for you. They will have told the hiring managers your expectations when putting you forward for interview, so you shouldn’t have to worry. If they do ask, stick with what you told your consultant – it shouldn’t come as a surprise to them.
If you haven’t used an agency, we suggest being honest. State that you know the salary range and would naturally like the top end, but are flexible to an extent as it’s such a good opportunity.
7) Always ask questions
An interview is a two-way process, it’s meant to be a conversation which also gives you the opportunity to get a feel for the company, so ask plenty of questions. Here are a few good ones:
- What would my first month in the role look like?
- What are the biggest challenges facing the company this year?
- What do you like about working here?
- Are there any concerns about me that you’d like me to address?
The last question in particular is effective, as it allows the interviewers to bring up any little niggling doubts, such as could you face the commute?, and lets you answer them there and then, thus putting you right back in the game again.
8) Call your consultant
The interview’s over; you can breathe. Now ring your consultant and tell them how it went. This is important as they’re likely to speak with the hiring managers, so need to have your feedback in advance. They can also answer any questions you may have, i.e. when might you hear anything? Commit to calling your consultant so that they can continue to help you.
There you go – eight top interview tips. We haven’t mentioned getting a good night’s sleep, ironing your best interview outfit and planning your travel to ensure you arrive on time, as you know all that. However, if you do have questions that haven’t been covered, let us know via our social channels: Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook and we'll do our best to answer.