Do you have an interview coming up? Leif Radford, our Recruitment Associate Director, shares his three top tips to ensure you leave a good lasting impression with the interviewer and maximise your chances of being successful.
When it comes to preparing for an interviewing there are countless articles out there with detailed steps on how to research a business, track down the interviewers, or memorise a job spec. But what these often fail to address is that an interview is about more than your revision skills. They’re also about you as a person and how you stand out from the crowd.
With the awareness of aspects such as workplace culture, mental health, and flexibility, growing by the minute, never has it been more important to not only have the right skills in your team but to also consider the people who bring them.
Working for an agency literally called “The Candidate” means I’m all about championing great talent and great people. With that in mind, I’ve chosen three of the points I most often advise my candidates to reflect on before attending interviews. These points are by no means an exhaustive list but should help you sharpen up how you come across to potential employers.
Know how to sell yourself
When preparing for an interview most people (I hope!) at least read through the job spec and do a mental checklist of whether they meet the criteria. Where a lot of people then fall down is that they often don’t rehearse how they are going to communicate their skills in an interview situation. In the high-pressure scenario of an interview, especially for a role you really want, not rehearsing how to actually say “I have this skill, shown by this experience, which amounted to this result” can put you in danger of not doing yourself or your skill set justice. I would always recommend thinking of at least one example from your own experience (backed up by tangible facts, figures, and timelines) for each point of the brief that you can easily recall. Also try to choose examples that are most comparable to their industry, function or goals. E.g. eCommerce to eCommerce
Look forward, not backward
When talking about your motivations for looking for a new role, make sure you focus on why you want to work for the specific business and role you’re interviewing for. Do not, I repeat do not, spend 20 minutes talking in detail about why you don’t want to work for your current employer anymore.
Maintaining a negative perspective in this way can mean you come across as desperate, problematic and difficult to work with – none of which are particularly inspirational to a potential employer. We’ve all been through things that were difficult or adversely affected us, but it’s how we deal with them and move forward that shows our character.
I would advise you to think about how you could reword a negative into a positive, for example, instead of slating the terrible long hours you're currently working, explain that you’re happy to work hard, but you’re looking for a more forward-thinking employer that understands the value of a work-life balance.
Amidst researching the company, stalking the interviewers online, memorising the job spec, learning how to sell yourself and a whole host of other potentially stress-inducing steps, so many people forget arguably one of the most important stages…Take a breath, relax and let your personality shine through!
Yes, it’s important to communicate that you can do the job from a skillset perspective, but the interviewer is trying to find someone they’re potentially going to have to spend 8 hours a day, 5 days a week with. If you come across as an absolute genius but with the personality of a teaspoon, you could seriously jeopardise your chances, so it’s pivotal to be more than a skill-set. Time and time again we see hiring managers make decisions that are a largely emotional response, using words such as “culture fit” to explain why they chose a candidate who on paper was by no means the strongest.
Be professional, but whether you simply smile, crack a dad joke, or ask about their weekend – you might be spending a lot of time with this person soon, so start getting to know them.
If you have any other questions or would like to have a chat about your job search at the moment, I’m always happy to chat through things either over the phone or via zoom, so please do get in touch: [email protected] or 07867485645.
Thanks Leif for these examples and we hope that you have found them useful. If you are in the creative, analytics, digital or marketing industry and would like some advice on your next move, contact us on 0161 833 1044 or email [email protected]
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