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The Perfect Interview: Plan, Prepare, Perform

05 March 2021 by Sarah Connell
Blog Interview Prep

Interview Tips

So you have a job interview ­– congratulations! Now it’s time to get interview ready!

The outcome of success in a job interview is down to three fundamental elements: planning, preparation and performance. If you have been brought forward for the interview it inevitably means you have passed the academic checklist required to get the role, but the hard work really starts at the first interview.

Well don’t worry –­ we’ve got you covered! Here are a few simple tips to ensure your job interview is a success and you give as good an account of yourself as possible – whether it’s taking place in-person, over a video call or a phone call.

1. Do your Research

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Preparing and doing your research is vital for interview success. There are four main areas you will need to research and talk to your recruiter about to ensure you are interview ready.

  • The Company
    Know the company values, mission, who their customers are (their target audiences), and their main competitors. Look through their website, social media accounts, any recent news stories, their marketing, recent events etc. Familiarise yourself with the company as much as you can. You don’t need to know every single detail, but it’s very impressive if you can talk about company information easily throughout the interview.

  • The Industry
    Ensure you do your research on the industry – know about any trends or recent changes. Take a look at the latest developments in the industry so you can converse with confidence during the interview.  

  • The Hiring Manager
    Know who is interviewing you. Look them up on LinkedIn to see their role, expertise, how long they’ve been in the company etc. Your recruiter will be able to give you some insight on this too. 

  • The Role
    Know as much as possible about the role. Ensure you know the job description well and look for any recent projects or product launches they have done. You can look for this information on their website or ask your recruiter.

2. Prepare answers for common interview questions  

The majority of interviews begin with the most common question: “Tell me about yourself”. This is your personal elevator pitch. The idea is to quickly communicate who you are and what value you will bring to the company and the role. So it’s vital to prepare for this well!

Then throughout your interview you will most likely be asked a series of questions exploring your skills, qualifications and experience. This is when knowing your CV inside out is so imperative! The types of questions likely to be asked fall under 4 main categories: 

  • Training and Qualifications: In this category, you should expect questions exploring your experience, college degree etc. 

  • Previous Experience: The interviewer will ask questions based on your experience that is shown on your CV. They may ask for examples from a previous position where you displayed a particular skill. 

  • Core Competencies: This relates to key skills required for the role, such as good time management, ability to manage a team, effective communication and the application of your knowledge. 

  • Personality and Motivation: Your reasons for applying for the role or for choosing your area of specialisation. Interviewers may ask your reasoning for leaving your current employer – it is wise to give honest reasons but never say bad or negative things about your employer. 

3. Score a success in the first five minutes

A lot of studies suggest that interviewers make up their minds about candidates in the first five minutes of the interview – and then spend the rest of the interview looking for things to reinforce that decision!

So let’s make those first few vital minutes count! Start off your interview with plenty of enthusiasm, express your appreciation for their time and really try to build up some rapport with your interviewer.

Ensure you smile, make eye contact, remember your interviewers name, have good posture, and speak clearly. This will give a positive and confident appearance.

Try to begin your answers with a positive affirmation or agreement. This is a good way to humanise the interaction between you and the interviewer.

4. Plan your questions for the interviewer

It’s important you have questions prepared. It’s an opportunity for you to decide if this really is the perfect job, company and team for you. Plus it also shows your genuine interest in the role and the company.

Some examples of questions you could ask –

The Role

  • Why has the position become available? Is it a new role?

  • What does a typical day look like?

  • How does the company measure the success of the candidate in the role? 

  • Is there scope for career progression?

The Team

  • Can you tell me more about the team structure?

  • Where will the job fit into the team structure? 

Learning and Development

  • What can I expect from you in terms of development and support?

  • What aspirations do you have for me at the company?

The Company

  • How would you describe the culture of the company?

  • What are the main challenges and opportunities the business faces?

Next Steps

  • What are the next steps in your hiring process?

  • What are your intended timelines for your hiring process?

5. Dress to Impress

Decide on what you’re going to wear well in advance of the interview – you don’t want to be stressed about this the morning of an interview! And remember, this is still important even if the interview is taking place remotely – they can still see you!

6. After the Interview

Relax, breath and well done ­– your interview is now over! So what’s next?

Contact your recruiter straight after the interview to let them know how it went, while it’s still all fresh in your head! If you feel the interview went well ensure you reiterate your interest for the role and how much you enjoyed meeting with the interviewer. Your recruiter will communicate this information to the company!

Conclusion

So now you are interview ready! If you are looking for your next career move please feel free to reach out to us ­– we are always here to help you with your job search, career advice and industry insights!

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