Getting to the interview stage is fantastic news. What can candidates do to prepare themselves so they perform well at this stage of the recruitment process?
Top Interview Tips and Techniques for Candidates
Securing an interview is a critical stage in the recruitment process. So, what can candidates do to prepare, to show they are ideal candidate?
Don’t forget also, that this is a two-way process and while the interview is the employer’s opportunity to delve into candidate's experience and their employment history, it is also the candidate's chance to learn more about the role, the culture of the organisation and whether it fits in with their career goals.
So, what can candidates do to prepare properly and perform to the best of their ability?
Take Time for Some Self- Assessment
As a candidate consider:
- What is most important in a role?
- How will it help fulfil longer term career ambitions?
- What are my strengths, weaknesses, and abilities and how do I stand out from the crowd?
- Why should they employ me?
- Why do you want to work for them?
- What skills do you want to develop?
- How does your experience reflect the company requirements?
- How can you offer value to the challenges facing the company?
Know Your CV
It is important to know your CV better than anyone and ensure it is accurate so that you can talk around any part of it. When reviewing your CV for the interview, bullet point your key responsibilities for each role and link your achievements to the role you are applying for. Note any projects you may have managed or assisted with and know the month and year that you start and finish a role.
Do Your Research
Employers naturally look out for people who have done their homework and put in the extra effort to really understand the company they are applying to. Doing your research shows your commitment to understanding the companies aims, objectives and the challenges they face. You can then tailor your experience and expertise to show how you would add value to the requirements of the company. A well-informed applicant will always stand out in a competitive market so be sure to utilise the wealth of information available to you.
The company website is a good place to start any research. They will often include, goals, values, mission statements and employee information. You may also be able to view the management structure and any company news such as product launches or new ventures and get a feel for the company culture.
Social media is a powerful tool for searching background information that may not be available on company websites. Most companies use Facebook and Twitter to post information or content. LinkedIn can be used to research who you are interviewing with and whether you have any shared connections. This can also be used to research employees who are currently doing the role as they will often have information about their role.
- The industry and Competitors
As well as researching the company, it is important to review the overall industry. This will give you an insight into the current trends in the industry, who the competition is and how your potential employer is positioned.
What Else Needs to be Considered for Interview Day?
What to Wear?
Before you have said anything to the interviewer, you have already made an impression by how you are dressed. Many companies have relaxed work dress policies, but this is irrelevant when going for an interview. Dress in a manner that is professionally appropriate to the position that you are applying for. It is rarely appropriate to “dress down” for an interview, regardless of company policy. This applies for face to face and video interviews. Prepare your interview clothes beforehand and pay attention to detail. All job interview clothes should be clean, tidy and ironed. If you must travel any distance, consider how wrinkled your clothes may look after a couple of hours so choose clothes that do not crease easily.
Prepare for the Type of Interview You are Having:
- Ensure you are sat somewhere quiet where you can hear the call and respond comfortably and confidently.
- Give yourself enough time to take the call, allow at least half an hour.
- Have a pen and paper ready with your CV to hand and a glass of water to avoid a dry mouth.
- Remember to smile and be enthusiastic, this comes through when you are talking, even on the phone.
Face to Face:
- This is the opportunity for you to impress the interviewer even before a word is said. This is done with your clothing, your mannerisms and facial expressions and handshake. Be aware of your body language.
- Be at the interview on time, not too early but not too late.
- Plan your journey in advance especially if you are going to an area you are not familiar with and give yourself enough to get there.
Competency based interviews:
Often the interview will be competency based, that is designed to test one or more specific skills or behaviours considered important in a job. Typical competencies tested are a selection from: team-work, motivation, problem solving, decision making, work standards, communication, reliability, adaptability & planning and organisation. Try and ensure you have more than one example of when you have completed certain tasks or duties that are relevant to the job specification or competencies needed.
Your interviewer will be looking for evidence of structured thinking, so take your time and think about what you are going to say before speaking.
Closing the interview:
As the interview concludes, have some questions prepared, for example about training and development, culture or the management structure. At the end of the interview, be sure to ask about the next steps of the selection process and tell the interviewer you are really interested in proceeding with your application. By doing this, you are showing a positive attitude that your interview has gone in the right direction and you are looking forward to what lies ahead.
Never be the one to bring up compensation and benefits at the interview stage. Although it is important, it can come across as your motivation being around money rather than the role you are applying for. Questions about benefits can be asked after the job offer is made.
Our Apodi top tip would be to take the time to prepare properly, this will give you the best chance of securing the perfect role. Practice also helps, so if you are feeling nervous get some one to do a mock interview for you, and if that’s not an option write down all the questions you think you would ask if you were interviewing a candidate for the job you want . Whatever preparation you choose to do will pay dividends and getting it right will allow you to stand out from the crowd and help secure the outcome you want!