How to Prepare for an Interview
Whether you’re a seasoned interviewee, or it’s your first interview in some years, interviews can catch you out if you are not fully prepared. Here are our interview tips to ensure you make a great impression which will boost your chances of getting the job.
Before your interview
Familiarise yourself with the job description and any specific information on the organisation you are interviewing for. The psd recruitment consultant you are working with will give you a good overview of both the job and the company. They will discuss the format of the interview, tell you who you are meeting, their position in the company and their style of interviewing. It’s a good idea to think about other questions you may want to ask your consultant ahead of this call.
You should do your own investigating as well. Pay particular attention to the leadership team, the company structure, the number of regions and geographical spread for example.
Planning for the interview
Ensure that you compare the job description with your current role and look at your experience objectively and think, “Where does my experience match or not match what the company is looking for?” Interviewers tend to probe deeper in areas where it is obvious that experience is lacking, so you must be well prepared for these questions.
Other key things to consider:
- Why are you interested in the position? It sounds obvious, but a well thought out answer will set the tone for the interview.
- Why are you looking to move on from your current employer? Remember, potential employers do not want to hear about gripes with your current employer!
Some organisations undertake competency-based interviewing and look for good, solid examples from candidates of what they have achieved. If you are asked how you achieved revenue growth in your last role, be prepared by having examples ready of what you did to increase revenue. The interviewer will open the question out further if they need any other specifics.
“I increased revenue dramatically in 2019 as a result of a cross selling programme I introduced, which involved identifying departmental needs and project managing the re- training of staff. This resulted in an increase in departmental revenue by 25% to £20million.”
Questions for the interviewers
Whilst preparing for interview it is always worth considering what you want to learn from the interviewer. This is an area where candidates can let themselves down – by not asking well thought out questions.
Don’t hesitate to write questions down and take them with you to the interview. This shows the interviewer that you have prepared.
Remember, the interview is a two-way process, and this is your opportunity to find out as much as possible about both the role and company to help you decide if the opportunity is for you.
Typical questions might include –
- Why is the position available?
- What level of autonomy does this role have?
- What sort of budget or revenue targets will I need to achieve?
- What will the first three months look like in this position?
The day of your interview
- Refresh yourself with the job description and company information.
- Clients expect candidates to be polished and well presented, so dig out that iron! Clean, tidy, professional attire is a must.
- Allow plenty of time to get to your interview. Aim to arrive around 15 minutes early.
Generally, the interview begins with an introduction, then an overview of the role, details about your background (going through your CV) and then it will likely move onto either competency or behavioural based questioning. Wrap up with your questions to the interviewer.
Most interviews tend to follow a fairly similar format but be prepared for anything!
Relax, give clear and concise answers relevant to the question. You may be tempted to ramble on when answering a competency-based question – don’t! If you don’t know the answer to a question do not be tempted to make something up, offer to come back with the relevant detail.
Be yourself. Overly prepared interviewees can seem a little stiff, leaving the interviewer unsure if they saw the real person. They are evaluating whether you’ll fit into the company culture and what you will be like to work with – this is especially true at higher levels. So let the best of your personality shine through and show enthusiasm for your work. If it is a leadership role, talk about your leadership style and why you enjoy it. Get to know the interviewer too – learn their name and use it in the conversation.
Don’t bring up the matter of salary and package unless the interviewer instigates, you should try and give yourself the best chance of being offered the role, then you will be in a much stronger negotiating position.
At the end of the interview ask about the next stage of the process; is there anything else they need to know? Do they have any reservations of your suitability to undertake the role?
Thank the interviewer for their time and re-iterate your interest in the company and position.
After the interview
- Think about the next stage of the process. If you are offered the role, what package would you require to make the move?
- Start to consider the process of resigning from your current employer. Also think about counteroffers and the reasons as to why you are interested in other opportunities.
Contact your psd consultant and provide feedback on the interview whilst it is still fresh in your mind. It is critical that the consultant understands how it went before they speak to the client. Your psd consultant will then contact you again to offer feedback from the client, and inform you of any next steps.
The bottom line: to ace your job interview, you need to have good answers, ask questions of your own, be ready with specific accomplishments and sell yourself as a person – not just a professional.