Interviews can be stressful and daunting with only a small amount of time to win over your potential employer and convince them that hiring you would be a great business decision. But with the right preparation, practice, and attitude, you could be well on your way to progressing through to the next stage.
In a survey of 2000 managers, 33 percent claimed that they know within the first 90 seconds of an interview, whether they will hire someone. First impressions count, whether you’re a millennial looking to win your first role or a senior executive taking the next step in your career. Follow our preparation checklist for a better chance of success:
1. Do your homework
Such a basic tip but so often overlooked. In this day and age, with detailed access to information about most companies, it’s simply not good enough to turn up at an interview unprepared. Find out as much as you can about the company and the people who run it.
Review past press releases, new hire announcements, notable events the company has hosted, the services and products they offer, and make a cheat sheet of the most important or interesting points. The goal is to be able to speak about the company as if you are intimately familiar with it, demonstrating you are already invested in their business and their continued success.
Most interviewers will ask for some real examples of your achievements so put together a few case studies that you can use to demonstrate your past successes.
2. Know your interviewers
Information gathering shouldn’t be limited to the company as technology also makes it easier to gather information about your interviewers. Spend some time before your interview researching who you will be meeting and be clear about the titles, roles and background of all the people who will interview you. Use social tools like LinkedIn, Twitter and even Facebook to research your interviewers, giving you ways to make a personal connection with them. If one or more of the companies top leadership will be in your interview, look online for speeches, press releases or articles that they have written or contributed too.
3. Adjust your appearance, style and tone
It’s common sense to fine-tune your appearance and clothing to suit the business, but you should also pay close attention to the type of interview the hiring manager wants to run. Look for signals from the interviewers, especially their body language, mirroring the interviewers, actively engaging in the conversation and matching the energy in the room. Some interviewers have a more formal interviewing style whereas others prefer to interview in a more relaxed environment. Adapting your style can help build a connection with the interviewer and allow you to take more control.
4. Be honest and be yourself
We all have strengths and areas for improvement and a lot of interviewers look for a degree of humility in a potential recruit. Whether you initiate it or not, a question about strengths and weaknesses is bound to come up in an interview, so make sure that you have at least a couple of examples of how you can self improve and learning’s from past failings.
Ensuring someone is the right 'fit' for the company and the culture is high on most interviewers agendas. This is particularly true with more senior roles where candidates can often have comparable levels of experience and skill sets. If you've been through a thorough screening process your recruitment consultant may have asked you to complete a behavioural assessment designed to test that all important cultural fit, in which case stay relaxed and convey the passion, drive and motivation that has got you the opportunity in the first place.
5. Flip the table
Interviews should never be a one-way street. If you've researched the business thoroughly you should have a number of pre-prepared questions that demonstrate your interest in both the company and not just in the role that’s on offer. Ask questions about the overall vision, strategy or structure of the company or what the interviewer considers crucial for being successful on the job.
Interviewers are always looking for ways to improve the accuracy of their hiring decisions. Educate yourself about the tools and techniques interviewers are using to minimise risk and make smarter hiring decisions by Downloading Our Ebook.