Career Tools

Interview Preparation

Category: Interviews

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Many of these difficulties and concerns can be overcome by research, preparation and rehearsal so here at Cordant People IE your consultant will work with you to plan how to make your interview an easier and less stressful experience.

Do your research
There are a number of things you are certain to be asked during an interview and they tend to cover the following topics:

  • The company - an online search on the company's website is the best place to start. As well as information about the business itself you'll get a feel for how they market themselves, there maybe some key people within the organisation and often there will be a news page with recent stories and updates about them. Google news is also a good place to look for up to date reports about a business and it shows you have gone further than just the easy route to find information. If you can get an annual report too this can be really useful.
     
  • The products or services they sell - know and understand the product range. Get brochures from the company if possible and find out who their competitors are including strengths and weaknesses as well as unique selling points. Most industries have trade magazines and websites so this should give you a wealth of information to work with.
     
  • The market - look at the market the products/services will be sold to and potential new areas that could be exploited. Talk to users of the products if you can to find out how they are perceived in the market. In short, get to grips with the issues of the industry. This is where industry publications could come in useful again.
     
  • The job - your recruitment consultant should be able to brief you fully on all aspects of the role you are being interviewed for, so you should make written notes on how you perceive the job, the responsibilities and how you would go about doing it. Try to relate specific areas of your CV back to the job description. It will help the interviewer see clearly why you are right for the job.
     
  • The journey - plan the journey, check how long it takes online and then if possible do a dummy run, plan to arrive at least 10 minutes early, as late arrival for an interview is inexcusable.

Appearance counts
Your appearance is the first thing people notice about you and will leave a lasting impression so getting it right is really important.   You need to feel comfortable as this will make you act comfortably and can make you appear at lot less nervous, if in doubt always go for a classic business suit in a dark colour. For both men and women this conveys a serious approach but shows clean lines and can be bought inexpensively in all shapes and sizes. Either a crisp clean shirt and tie or smart top will finish the look along with polished shoes and clean nails. A few more specific points would be:

  • Ties - keep them sensible. No  cartoon characters or strange shapes and colours
  • Facial hair - this must be well-trimmed and clean to maintain a smart appearance
  • Make up - keep it subtle
  • Piercings and tattoos - if they can't be removed then keep studs small and cover as much as possible
  • Accessories - keep them to a minimum. Sometimes big earrings or chunky chains can be distracting for an interviewer and can detract from what you are discussing
  • Odours - too much aftershave or too little deodorant can be very off putting in an interview. Smoking just prior to your meeting may leave a scent on you which is hard to get rid of, so make sure you are not leaving the wrong impression.

Prepare what you want to talk about

  • You can never guarantee what you will be asked at interview but your consultant can help you prepare for some of the most common ones to come up. By having an idea of what could be asked and rehearsing your answers you will have greater confidence during the interview.
     
  • Prepare what questions you want to ask your interviewer. Remember that the interviewer knows that you will have been briefed on the job specification by your consultant so asking what the job is and how much the salary is will not be greeted with positivity. Your questions are a chance to sell yourself so asking what makes their best employee so successful or what background their best employee came from gives you a chance to match your skills and experience with what they have already confirmed is a successful person.
     
  • Write down your questions and take them into the interview. This allows you to relax and not have to remember everything you want to ask, as often this section of the interview is left until near the end. It also shows that you have prepared in advance even if your questions get answered early on in the meeting.
     
  • It's always useful to know the reason the job has become available. This will give you a number of different avenues to pursue in your questioning.
     
  • Is it a competency based interview?  If so then your consultant will be able to work with you to prepare the right kind of answers. This is a specific technique so we can help you get it right!
     
  • Know how you will close the interview. Finding out what reservations or concerns an interviewer has about you before you leave gives you an opportunity to sell against them and hopefully overcome them to leave a positive image of you in their mind. You will want to know about timescales and decision making processes so your Consultant will spend time making sure you know how best to close your interview depending on the type of position you are applying for.

Lastly, smile, have positive body language and shake hands confidently with your interviewer. Good eye contact puts both of you at ease, builds a relationship and sets the scene for a great interview. You have done the preparation so you're set up for a great interview!