By Nicki Wilson
As a recruiter we see a lot of simple mistakes that cost really great talent landing the job. Some are obvious; some are pure common sense but when it gets down to the interview, we see often the tiniest slip can cost the candidates that much awaited offer letter. The following are some fail proof tips when preparing for interviews.
Re-read your CV
The interviewer does not know you, but they may have your CV depicting your greatest works since 2001 with various accolades and accomplishments set out before them, when asked about these points of discussion…be ready! If you have already forgotten what you wrote before you begin you could really be setting yourself up for failure. Having a good read of your CV, adding any recent roles and achievements, and possibly even resending an updated CV tailored with highlights relevant to the role / job description in hand is a great exercise to remind yourself of how great you are. It is also a chance to note down something more tailored prior to interview. Get a highlighter out with the job description or key points of the role noted down and remind yourself of examples of responsibilities/achievements related to what you are about to interview for.
Research the company
If I could have a dirham for each time someone got rejected because ‘they had not researched the brand or company ‘I probably would be floating around on a Lilo in Bora Bora by now. If its something you can see, touch, look at?... go visit/buy/try. Perhaps if you are interviewing for Rolex don’t go trying before you buy but you can at least go visit the stores, scope out a new launch, understand the latest marketing campaign/launch. This means you will have a topic of conversation and some great points to add to discuss something relevant and demonstrate your research but also… your interest. It is so important to find out as much as you can about the company, some good research questions for your own personal findings could be:
· When was the company founded?
· How big is the team?
· What was a recent project/campaign/launch etc? What did they do well? What could they have done better?
· Who is the competition, what are they doing?
· Who is the founder, what is their background?
· A SWOT analysis?
· If you have a burning question and cannot find the answer… ask this during the interview!
Know your interviewer
A quick search will bring up most people or some background knowledge you can use to your advantage, perhaps your interviewer came from a similar background or even company as you and you can quickly create some amazing topics of conversation. An interview does not always have to be so rigid and an interviewer more times than not wont always want to stick to a set rule of questions. The aim of the game is to create synergy whilst demonstrating your skills. One of the best interviews I ever did was for a work experience student (she was 16 years old) … she randomly said during her interview she was really interested in charity excursions for orphans, after watching a documentary on a flight. On my website I talk about my love for charity after… I trekked Mongolia raising funds for a charity I had seen the documentary of… during a flight. Straight away I knew she had researched me, and no one I have ever interviewed has ever picked up that point before, even though the information is all there.
Anticipate any reservations, job hopping or gaps
There is no shame in not enjoying a role, not getting on with management, being made redundant due to pandemics or having breaks due to babies or illness. These are all valid reasons to move from positions and being able to explain openly… with good reasonings is key in these cases. Whatever you do if you did not have a great experience with a previous company… NEVER TALK BADLY ABOUT A PREVIOUS EMPLOYER. I know it’s tempting it could have been a complete nightmare, but you must find the silver lining and rise above those feelings… hold your integrity always and keep professional. Often, we will have candidates who have moved around a lot just say they moved for more money, and you know what…don’t say that! Most employers don’t like to hear that candidates simply ‘move for more money’, make sure you have something else to say.
You are fabulous, but why?
Prepare yourself with some examples of achievements (at least 3) or key highlights of your career you can talk through comfortably and proudly. This is your time to shine bright like a diamond and demonstrate why they should pick you. Having examples related to the job responsibilities at hand plus data to back it up is way better than… “I have great team building skills” For Example “I initiated a group activity to increase the sales increment for the month, engaging my peers by XYZ”
There are a lot of potential questions out there. So, pick out the key ones you feel could use some work from your side just in case they come up. Hopefully the technical roles and job-related roles should roll off the tongue if you’re an expert in your field but there are always common questions that can be a little tricky… the most common one being ‘what are your weaknesses?’
Be on time
In the age of Zoom, Google meet and the like you would have thought it would be easy to be on time… wrong. Half the time people cannot get set up, have problems accessing the link, need to download a programme, have no internet… the list goes on. I always advise that you should do a little test run, at least 15 minutes before so you know you can get online, if you really cannot log on send a quick apology email immediately. Don’t leave an interviewer hanging.
If this is an in-person interview, ensure you know the location and if you don’t give yourself an extra 20 minutes to get there.
Having some great questions ready to ask shows your knowledge and your serious intent. If an interviewer asks you if you have any questions and the answer is, “No, not really” it does not show that much interest as there’s always something to learn that has not been spoken about. I always think a great questions is’ “Are there any reservations about my skillset in relation to this role?” it gives you the opportunity to fight back with examples should something be pointed out, its hard to cover everything and if you can have one last go at demonstrating you are the woman or man for the job this could be your chance!
Most importantly of all, be yourself and have fun! If you enjoy the interview, you will radiate that positive energy and the interviewer will see a relaxed confident future hire for their team!
P.S... Do not forget to send a thank you note post interview!