Candidate Interview Preparation
Posted on 18-04-23 by Jack Woolsey
The amount of planning and preparation you do prior to an interview can vastly increase your chances of success.
Recruitment is highly competitive – you may well be up against candidates with more relevant experience than you, however if you are better prepared and demonstrate a genuine interest in the organisation and the role you will stand out from other candidates.
Some key points to consider:
- First impressions count – What you wear to the interview will have an impact. Make sure you are wearing appropriate attire – this will vary from industry to industry, but as a rule of thumb, dress how you would for a client/customer meeting. Your Consultant will be able to offer guidance if required.
- Time keeping – If you are attending in person, make sure you arrive 10-15 minutes before the meeting, don’t be too early or arrive at the last second. Plan the route and give yourself plenty of time. For online interviews, allow yourself 10-15 minutes to log on and test your equipment is working correctly. If you are running late ensure you make a call to us or the company to inform them.
- Sell yourself – An interview is your opportunity to sell yourself and your experience. The interviewer has limited time to identify your relevance for the role; they want you to be the right candidate (vacant roles cost companies money and cause managers headaches!), your job is to help them get the best out of the meeting by highlighting your appropriateness for the role.
- Research the business – Read through their website, annual report, social media channels and any trade brochures you can locate. If possible, talk to customers of the business to see what their perception is. Conduct a SWOT analysis of their products/service and prepare some comments on your observations to use during the meeting.
- Research the interviewers – Look them up on LinkedIn and use any mutual contacts to get additional insight into them.
- Match your experience to their requirements – Ensure that you have as much information about the role itself (your consultant should help you with this). Wherever possible ask for a role & person specification. Analyse the person specification and identify your strengths and weaknesses against this. Prepare evidence of how you meet the specification and make sure you discuss this during the meeting.
- Prepare for objections – Be prepared with answers to overcome any potential objections. If you have made an unusual move or have a gap on your CV, be prepared to explain that. If you have limited experience in a certain area, ensure you have done enough research to demonstrate that you can learn quickly etc.
- Know your own CV! Many interviewers start by asking you to run through your CV. You shouldn’t have to refer to it constantly. Plan what you will say beforehand, think about each role you have had, what your responsibilities were and most importantly what you achieved in the role. Make sure you have logical reasons for moving positions and try to avoid being derogatory to a previous employer.
- Make the interview 2-way and prepare questions to ask – remember that you have to come away from the meeting happy that the company and the role are right for you. Be prepared, have your questions listed and typed up, not handwritten on paper. Ask questions on the strategic direction of the business, their expectations of you in the role and how you can grow and develop in their business. Don’t ask how many holidays you get!
- Close the meeting – It is imperative, especially when pursuing a sales opportunity, to end the meeting with a close. For example: What is the next stage? How do I compare to other candidates you have met?
- Follow up – After the meeting send an e-mail to everyone you have met, thanking them for their time and re-confirm your level of interest in the role.
- Feedback to your consultant – call us immediately after the meeting so that we can take your feedback. This is really important whether the meeting has gone well or not as we will then need to communicate with the client and get their feedback which will be useful for you moving forward.
For more advice and tips take a look at our Candidate Toolkit
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