As a recruitment consultancy, we have experienced our fair share of interviews. Be it interviewing for our own team, meeting with potential candidates for a chat or preparing them to meet with a client. Many of our candidates are well rehearsed in the art of being interviewed. They know to dress appropriately, check the interview date, time and location, turn up on time and be prepared. However, when you’re up against others, making a first good impression is vital. We’ve compiled eight interview strategies on how to properly prepare and successfully navigate yourself through this process:
1. Embrace The Nerves
Your heart is pounding, your palms are sweaty and your stomach is doing somersalts. Feeling anxious prior to an interview is totally normal, even for the most seasoned interviewees out there. Turn these emotions into something positive. You want the role, you are passionate about the job and company. Now go in there and prove to them you are the right person for it.
2. Know The Basics
It might sound like we’re teaching you to suck eggs but mistakes do happen. Recently, one of our candidates managed to get the interview date wrong, despite numerous attempts from our consultant to make contact beforehand. Rearranging just isn’t always possible and slip-ups like these can really blow your chances. Check and double check the details. Plan your journey, where you are going to park and yes, aim to arrive at least 15 minutes early.
3. Research and Practice
Learn as much as you can about the company, its people and recent industry trends. If you already work in the field, you probably have an impressive amount of knowledge. However, it’s surprising how many people still fail to do sufficient research. Obvious things like looking at the company’s website, social media accounts or Company House records prior to an interview. Can you confidently express your opinion about emerging trends or economic issues impacting the company or industry now or in the future?
4. Body Language
Perhaps it’s cliché but first impressions count and you really do only get one chance. Be confident but not arrogant. Deliver a firm handshake, don’t slouch or fidget too much. Playing with your hair, a pen or your hands will distract the interviewer away from what you are saying. Don’t stare and remember to smile. Yes there’s a lot to remember but you will do most of these naturally if you can relax. And remember to breathe.
We’ve noticed a recent increase in the number of candidates being asked to deliver a presentation as part of the interview process. Often along the lines of ‘What you would do in your first 100 days in the company’. You need to prepare and see this as an opportunity to showcase your communication skills, your written skills and put all your research to good use. You are being asked to do this so that your potential employer can understand what you know about the company, how aligned you are with its goals and vision and how you cope under pressure.
6. Upselling Yourself / Secondary Skills
You have your place in the interview chair, based on your skills, experience and personality fit with the company. However, you could be up against someone else who, on paper at least, is an equal contender. Now is the time to not only use your charm and persuasive techniques to get on the interviewer’s side but to also pull something extra out of the bag. For example, do you have secondary skills, a hobby or interest that can benefit the company and help differentiate you even further? As far as interview strategies are concerned, this one is often overlooked but is one that can really help you stand out from the crowd.
7. Two-Way Process
We all know that it’s really important to ask questions at an interview as a way of showing you are interested in the position and to demonstrate your knowledge of the role and organisation. However, what candidates sometimes forget is that interviewing is a two-way process. The interview process is your chance to determine if the company, the role, the people and its culture are suited to you. Commencing a role and leaving three months later because it isn’t right or not what you thought it would be, isn’t productive for anyone. Find out everything you need to before you get that job offer and accept it.
8. Follow Up
We will always speak to both the candidate and client post interview and share honest feedback with all parties involved. If you are applying directly for roles, it’s important that you do the follow up. An email either to the HR department or to the interviewee thanking them for their time will be recognised and appreciated. It’s also an opportunity to mention something important that you didn’t get a chance to or answer a question more completely than you were able to during the actual interview.
Whether you are at the start of your career or a well experienced professional, there is always room to adjust and improve your interview techniques to help you make the right first impression and receive that job offer at the end. The interview strategies we have compiled are by no means an exhaustive list but if followed, will help you feel ready, confident and in control.
However, we can only reiterate that interviewing should be two-ways. Unfortunately, some candidates feel they have no choice but to leave the process half-way through, due to the failure of the hiring company to move matters along at a reasonable speed. Once the process commences, both parties need to be committed to completing it as smoothly, professionally and quickly as possible. You can read more about how to prevent losing great candidates here.
Greybridge are search and selection specialists within the interrelated field of Strategy, Change Management and Digital Transformation. We cover a wide range of sectors including retail, life sciences, manufacturing and technology/engineering. We pride ourselves on building trust with our clients and candidates, allowing us to develop mutually successful long-term partnerships. If you would like to find out more about working with Greybridge or would like to get in touch to speak to one of our experienced consultants, please visit our website.