By Jess Binks, Associate Director at Major Players
Preparing for, and undertaking, interviews can be a nerve racking experience for even the most hardened professionals. We have put together some techniques and tips to help you through the process and ensure you’re prepared for all eventualities.
How should I correctly prepare for an interview?
It sounds cliché, but knowledge is power; the more research you do, the more prepared you are, the more confident you will feel during the interview stage. There are several research areas you should consider during your prep:
1. The Company – the first port of call should be the company’s website. This will give you an overview of who, what, where, when and why, allowing you to form a holistic view of the business and what they do. Be sure to note their history and heritage which can be recalled during the interview process.
2. The Interviewers – try and find out who you are meeting, explore their backgrounds and try to find commonalties. This will set you at ease before you attend the interview.
3. Social Media – check out their company’s social media channels, this will give you a good idea of most recent campaigns or activations, and will hold you in good stead when talking about their business
4. Press/Publications – type in the business name into Google and see what press or articles have been written about them. This will give you an outsiders view and again offers a conversation starter.
5. Competitors – once you’ve learnt more about the company, you should be able to ascertain who their competitors are. Be sure to do your homework on them so that you can refer to them during the interview
If you really want to go the extra mile, then based on your research, you could go armed with recommendations and suggestions on how to improve what they’re currently doing.
How should I act and conduct myself during the interview?
- Always turn up 10 minutes early, giving you enough time to compose yourself and to look over any notes you may have made
- The first impression is also the last impression, so be sure to make it a good one. Dress appropriately, shake their hand (or touch elbows!) and be sure to ask them how they are
- During the interview, make eye contact, relax and try to be yourself – remember, you’ve been invited to the interview, so they’re keen to find out more about you
- Use your research to build a rapport with the interviewer and try to find common ground where possible and turn any questions into a conversation
- Come prepared with 3-5 questions you can ask them, try to focus on the role, industry and company
- If they ask you to present any works, then do bring along hard copies to handout or to be used as back-up in the event of tech failure
The lasting piece of advice I would give is to be yourself – the purpose of an interview is to elaborate on your experience and skillset, but also to find out about you, your personality and whether you’d be a good cultural fit for the business.
What questions should I ask when given the opportunity?
As mentioned above, you should always come to the interview with several questions prepared, this shows your interest in the business and will open up for a wider conversation. For me, it’s about culture and values – it’s important to understand why their current employees enjoy working in a business and what sets them apart from their competitors. Here are some other suggestions:
- Do they offer any professional development opportunities?
- What’s their stance around diversity, equality and inclusion
- How did the role come about?
- Where do you see the business within the next 2-4 years?
What advice would you give for online interviews?
You should prepare for online interviews the same as you would any face to face interview, but there are a couple of things you perhaps should check. Firstly, try to login early to ensure that you have a stable internet connection – if you’re having problems then do advise the interviewer or recruitment consultant. Secondly, ensure that whatever device you’re on is fully charged and that you’re in an appropriate setting with no interruptions. Finally, have a pen and paper nearby for making notes and ensure you have a glass of water close by.
If you’d like to discuss or would like further assistance with interview preparation, then please get in touch with us here.