It’s finally happened, after all the hard work, experience gained, jobs applied for, blood, sweat and tears, you finally have the chance to interview for your dream job with the dream company. Excitement kicks in, followed by that cold wash of panic, we over analyze, imposter syndrome kicks in, after all it’s the DREAM JOB - it’s only natural.
Well don’t panic, these top tips will have you prepared for it.
The whole point of the interview is to see whether you are a suitable fit for the role and the company. Showcasing your skills to the interviewer is one thing, but giving examples of how they meet, or exceed, the requirement of the role is even better.
Print off the position description and write notes on it. Write examples of when you demonstrated these skills in previous roles and how you can draw on that experience to help the company you’re interviewing with.
Extract as much information from the PD as you can, not just from the list of applicant requirements. The description may imply that you will be mentoring junior co-workers, working with people in other parts of the business, working with external stakeholders, clients, suppliers etc.
You should aim to demonstrate your experience with everything they could want in an employee.
As well as demonstrating how well you suit the role. You should write down any questions that you have about the role or the company. You should be trying to find some questions specific to the role and company you’re applying to.
Another very simple but effective tip, if you know who will be sitting in on the interview panel, don’t be afraid to look them up on LinkedIn and have a look through their own career progression.
2. Be on Time
We all know that traffic is a nuisance, public transport can be unreliable, a sudden downpour clogs up the road and there’s not a uber to be got – don’t let that get in the way. Plan your day thoroughly, it’s better to be early than late, so make sure to get to the interview in good time, 15 mins before is a good rule of thumb.
Bringing your notebook and your CV is a good idea so you can refresh the questions and notes on the company.
First impressions are crucial and it’s very hard to claw your way back from a bad one. It sounds so simple and basic but be sure to give a good solid handshake (or an elbow bump seeing as how we’re knee deep in flu season and COVID is still lingering about), make eye contact and smile. It only takes 7 seconds for an opinion to be formed
Relax and be confident – you’ve earned the right to be there.
This is a very important interview, and the situation is very serious, but try not to too formal. Try to envisage it as a chat between future colleagues. Of course, be attentive, maintain good posture, eye contact and showcase positive body language.
Interviewers love competency-based questions such as “Tell me about a time when …”. These questions are designed to extract your personality traits and soft skills. This is your time to shine and your preparation kicks in.
Use these examples to concisely answer the questions whilst showing your skills off. Try to keep the answer short and to the point, try not to “waffle” or go off topic – if the interview panel want you to elaborate, they will ask you.
When answering these questions, talk mainly about what you did as opposed to what your previous team did. Try to answer with examples of the skills that they required on the job PD. This is your opportunity to demonstrate that your skills suit the role.
Questioning the interviewer is a great way to find out more about the role and company as well as reaffirming your abilities.
If you have any unanswered questions from the job PD, now is the time to ask.
Ask genuine questions – the market is incredible active across all industries, so don’t be afraid to ask the interview panel about:
· How are they managing to retain staff?
· How do they keep their employees engaged?
· What is it about the company that has kept them there?
· What are some of the characteristics of their highest performing employees?
Although you shouldn’t ask about salary, the interviewer may bring it up. Do not rush in and say a figure that’s plucked from the obscurity, don’t undervalue yourself and equally don’t outprice yourself either as you may lose a bit of negotiating power later down the line.
Check out the Ten Rules for Negotiating a Job Offer by Haseeb Qureshi. Number 3 is to protect information. Basically, not giving them the lowest figure you’re willing to accept, Haseeb suggests that if they ask you how much you are looking for, try not to say a number. Say something like: “I really like this role at this company, I feel like I’d be a great fit and I hope that you agree. Right now, I’m talking with a few other companies so I can’t speak to the specific details of the offer until I’m done with the process and get closer to deciding. But I’m sure we’ll be able to find a package that we’re both happy with, because I really would love to be a part of the team.”
4. Next Steps
Before leaving, be across what is going to happen next. If they don’t tell you, you need to ask. When will they finish conducting interviews? Are they going to call or email you when they’ve decided? Be sure to get a deadline from them. This allows you to plan when to make your final decision and chase them up if they forget to contact.
5. Post Interview
Breath, congrats – you’ve done it. Take some time to do something you enjoy, treat yourself, go to that upmarket steak house or head to your local and have a pint with some mates. Once all that is done, here are a few things you should do after any interview:
Assess how you thought you did, what you did well and what you think you could improve on. This is how you get better at interviewing. If it was organised through a recruiter, call, or email them to let them know how it went – look for feedback! A very simple and effective touch is to send the interviewers an email thanking them for their time and say that you look forward to hearing from them. If you fell that the company is perfect, let them know and thank them again for their time.
6. The Offer
When you receive the offer, hopefully it’s everything you have hoped for, but don’t accept it straight away. Have a thorough read of the contract, be sure to seek council from either your Recruiter, or the people you trust most before signing. If you have any queries, be sure to highlight them to your soon to be new employer.
Don’t forget, an interview is a 2-way street. Yes, the company gets to find out if they like you and see if you will fit the role but YOU also get to decide if you like the company and if they fit in with you!
If you need help, support, or further advice from simple things to what your CV should look like for it to stand out, how to promote yourself or even how to interview, feel free to reach out and contact me! Don’t miss out on the opportunity of a lifetime over small things that can be easily avoided! I hope you found this blog on my interview tips helpful!
Barry is a Residential Construction Consultant, you can connect with him on LinkedIn here.