There’s a lot of advice out there on this subject, and all of it can be helpful to some degree but often made to seem more complicated than it actually is. Here at Beyond The Book we believe in keeping things as simple as possible, and interviews are no exception.
When it comes to the interview process itself, if you’re working with us, there will already be a high amount of confidence in the match between you and our client – we only put people forward for jobs who we believe are a great fit for our client and for whom the role matches their needs and wants.
So, it’s then up to you to go and meet them; be yourself, let them know what they need to about you and, don’t forget, find out all about them! Remember, they really want to find their next great employee as soon as possible – that’s why they are going through this process.
The interview is about them trying to find someone who fits the blueprint in their mind of what they are looking for – in terms of skills, experience, attributes and personality fit. Pitfalls in this process can be that they aren’t very good at communicating this blueprint, or that it is very fixed, with no margin for flexibility; nobody seems to be right, or they simply aren’t very good at interviewing (dare we say it, but it is a skill) and therefore not very good at eliciting the information that will tell them you are perfect for the role!
At Beyond the Book we are very hands on throughout the process and will do everything we can to make sure that both client and candidate have all they need to make the right choice.
Sadly, we can’t actually go in to the interview with you... so that bit is down to you!
Here are a few tips...
It is common for the opening of an interview to be ‘tell us about you’. We would advise that you cover off the personal side of things quickly and then take them through your career history, demonstrating how you have come to be passionate and/or experienced in terms of their role. Keep it snappy, relevant and positive.
Consider what the attributes and skills are that will be required for the job and pre-plan how you can substantiate your relevance against those. For example, if you are going to an Account or Project Management role that requires ball-juggling, resilience, relationship building skills, then go to the interview with examples of when you have had to exercise those.
In any example, explain the SITUATION, then WHAT YOU DID and then WHAT THE RESULT WAS and quantify it – this is a full answer.
When talking about your current role and any other relevant previous roles, be clear about the various elements that make them up. What did you specifically spend your time focussing on and what did you deliver. Can you talk in terms of percentages, as well as numbers, e.g. time and money?
Talk about successes you have had in your career history. Can you quantify why these were successes – i.e. did it save money, make money, improve quality, win awards, create new business etc.
Thoroughly research the company before you meet them and let them know – for example, reference to a recent news article or something you like on their web site.
Have a few good questions ready about the role and the business. Take time to think of some that are unlikely to be covered off in the general chat – don’t be left saying, “No, I think you’ve covered all the questions I had"... it doesn’t look very inquisitive or creative.
Be late. Be early! Plan your journey.
Dress inappropriately, find out the dress code, especially of your interviewer(s) and ask your recruiter's advice. Golden rule is, ‘nothing that distracts’... you don’t want them debating the colour of your tie or dress rather than where you will fit in the team.
Have a weak handshake. We are constantly amazed how many people do have – no joke. Try it out on a friend.
Be negative about previous employers or colleagues. Talk about challenges certainly, but in a positive way
Worry too much... try and enjoy the experience!!
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