So you got the interview, now what? You know how to explain what you currently do so you don't need to prepare anything right? Wrong. As recruitment consultants, we have seen countless job seekers make the mistake of overestimating their ability to interview well with little to no preparation. The key to impressing the hiring manager and passing the interview is going to the interview with a calm mind and prepared for any question they throw at you. Here are a few things to keep in mind when preparing for your interview:
Study Your CV
Take the time to re-read your CV and make sure you can explain everything that is written on it. Nothing leaves a bad impression like getting asked about something you wrote on your application and not knowing how to explain it. We also recommend candidates explain how their experience matches the job requirements. This will help hiring managers connect the dots with how you match up to the requirements in the position. Always try and relate your experience and achievements to the position you are applying for.
Prepare answers to common questions
We highly recommend to prepare answers to questions the interviewers are likely to ask. A good starting point is practicing answering questions that come up in many interviews such as:
- What are your strengths/weaknesses?
- Why do you want to work here?
- What do you find challenging in your current job?
- What is your management style?
- Why do you want to leave your job /why did you leave?
- What are your goals for the future?
It is best to prepare answers for specific questions to the position, company, and even industry as well. If the position requires some sort of technical qualification, they might ask you about your abilities related to that technical skill or your knowledge in that area.
For structuring your answers, the best way to do so is to use the STAR method:
Situation – Situation, tell them about the situation and set the scene
Task – Task, discuss the specifics of what the task was; when, where, who
Action – Action, explain what you did, what skills you used, behaviors, characteristics
Result – Result , what was the outcome?
The STAR method will allow you to be more strategic when answering interview questions and sell your experience in a way that will set you apart from other candidates.
Research the Company
We highly recommend researching the company you are applying for and going to the interview with knowledge of their products, competitors, and industry. Think of how you would improve their strategy if you worked there and referencing current or new products they are launching shows that you researched and care about the opportunity. Knowing the company’s values and company culture can also help you have a successful interview.
A good place to start researching is the company website, but knowing any recent news for the company can also help during the interview. With your research, you will be in a better position to ask relevant and thoughtful questions at the end of the interview when they ask if you have anything else to add.
Tip: Nothing shows that you are genuinely interested in the position more than asking thoughtful questions about both the organization and what they do.
To better prepare, if possible you can also look into the interviewer’s background before the interview. If you do this extra research prior to the interview you will have a better idea of what kind of questions they will ask you during the actual interview, and at the end you can ask them insightful questions about their background with the company. Ask the recruitment consultant supporting you about the interviewers, they have close relationships and can help you get a better idea of what to expect.
Reflect on why you are interested
One of the most likely questions you will be asked, is along the lines of 'why are you interested in our company?' Companies want to hire people that are passionate about their brand so show your interest in the position - even if it is only a casual meeting. As mentioned above, going in with knowledge of their products, competitors and recent news is a great way to show your interest and will paint you in a positive light.
- Reflect on your experience, and be ready to relate it to the position
- Prepare answers to questions they are likely to ask
- Research the company, their products or service, competitors and recent news
- Express your interest in the position