Securing an interview with a prospective employer demonstrates that your C.V. has effectively played its part. The interview represents an opportunity for you to add a personal touch to the information your C.V. has already successfully communicated. There is still likely to be many competitors hoping to secure the position so it’s essential you can convince the employer you are the perfect fit for the role.
Whilst your dedicated, Solas consultant will help in whatever way possible to help you prepare for your interview there are a number of strategies you as a Candidate can employ to perform well.
‘Before anything else, preparation is the key to success’
It is vital that you do careful research into the role you are hoping to secure along with the organisation you hope to work in. Taking this time demonstrates professionalism, enthusiasm for the position as well as a genuine interest in working in the organisation.
So, how can you prepare and win at an interview?
- Know the company inside out, along with their competitors and market. Try to get an insight beforehand into their culture and the way they work
- Make sure you get a copy of the job spec. and go through it and be able to show where you have relevant experience/ability/qualification; Be able to provide examples of similar projects/teams you’ve worked on if appropriate.
- If appropriate, prepare a presentation showcasing your experience, achievements, relevant projects you’ve worked on. Give examples of major achievements; of where you’ve demonstrated the skills they say they want.
- Try to find questions online that may have been asked for the role you are applying for.
- If you can – get in touch with someone who recently went for a similar role – as the questions you get asked might be similar.
- Ask a friend to go through your c.v. and the job spec. and question you a couple of times before the interview.
- Make sure to practice your answers aloud, record it, then listen to what you’re saying. Are you speaking too fast? Rambling? Getting the most important points across? Keep doing this until you feel confident and you’ll be ready for whatever the interview will fire at you!
- Another useful tip is to try and find out the name of your interviewer so that you can do some background research and offer further insightful questions. Prepare for competency style questions – not just tech questions.
As an interviewee, you should always aim to arrive at their interview location at least 15 minutes in advance and ideally, do a trial-run the day before so you can accurately plan your journey. If you arrive late to an interview, you automatically portray a negative impression so it’s infinitely better to arrive early with time to compose yourself rather than late and stressed.
Waiting to be interviewed – stay standing – you don’t want to be seen struggling out of a chair or straightening clothing. You will look more confident.
‘First impressions are lasting impressions’
It has been proven that many interviewers make up their mind about an interviewee during the first four minutes, so it’s vital to put your best foot forward.
Many candidates are unaware of the many different ways you communicate during an interview. Conversing is just one. Body language can play a huge part in how you appear to the interviewer. At an interview, you aim to portray a confident, capable candidate so be sure your body language reflects this from the beginning. Sit upright, with your feet straight on the floor and avoid any fidgety movements. A firm handshake at the start of an interview along with maintaining eye contact with the interviewer also portrays a confident manner as they are both linked to power and status. Showing our hands is a sign of honesty. So open up your hands and keep palms upwards – it also keeps them less sweaty for the final handshake!
Furthermore, you should dress to impress your interviewer. The normal attire for interviews is formal, business wear so unless otherwise stated dress accordingly. Being well presented indicates a conscientious individual who is serious about the process they are taking part in.
Be your confident self during the interview
There are a number of simple strategies to follow during the actual interview:
- Listen carefully to the interviewer’s questions and ensure you respond to the actual question rather than answering one you may already have prepared
- Be prepared but still flexible enough to answer an unexpected question
- Don’t give one word responses but ensure answers are as much to the point as possible i.e. avoid unnecessary waffle – don’t speak too fast
- Communicate clearly and confidently
- Offer insightful questions at the closing of interview, making full use of the extensive research you will have completed prior
- Finish your interview with another firm handshake, concluding on a good impression.
Questions you should prepare for
There are a few key questions Interviewers love to ask – for example:
- Why do you want to work at this company?
This is a question to show how much you have prepared for this interview but also to see how passionate you are for the role. Have an answer prepared on why you want the job. For example, if the job is for a Web Designer, you could say something like, “I’ve always been very passionate about being a Web Designer and I’ve seen some of your past projects which have been fantastic and I want to be a part of that going forward.”
- Do you have any questions for us?
A lack of questions may be mistaken for a lack of interest for the role. Make sure you’ve questions prepared. A simple question to ask is, “What do you like about working here and why have you stayed?” This is a great question to ask, as people love talking about themselves, so the hiring person will remember you for being genuinely interested in them. It also gives you an insight into the company’s culture.
- Why should we hire you?
This is your chance to sell yourself to the employer and stand out from the other candidates. Have an answer prepared with things such as key achievements, experience in certain tasks related to the job, awards or the passion you have for the role.
- Why you’re leaving your current job?
If you’re applying for a new job, this is a question that will be asked. Make sure to be as positive as possible and don’t say anything negative about your current employer. Instead focus on the position you are applying for by mentioning why you want to work for the company and that you’ve learned all that you can in current job and ready to move on.
Finally, remember that you have been shortlisted for an interview because your C.V. has indicated to the employer you are a strong, possible candidate for the role – so, have confidence in yourself and your capabilities. The interview gives you the chance to bring the information in your C.V. to life and set yourself apart from your competitors.