Is there such thing as being over prepared for a job interview? We here at Robertson Sumner think not. To be truly ready for an interview there are five major areas to consider, giving you the best possible opportunity of securing the role.
Know where you’re going and how you’re getting there!
Location seems like an obvious one however you’d be surprised the amount of candidates who set off for an interview without a concrete idea of where the company’s office is located. Before you leave the house, or even accept the interview, ensure you know exactly where the office is located and make sure you give yourself enough time to arrive at least 10 minutes early. With several map apps on the internet and smart phones, with street view, there is no real excuse to not know where you are going!
Also, you may know exactly where the office is however once you make the decision between driving to the interview or using public transport ensure that you take into account any potential delays.
70% of Hiring Managers will immediately discount a candidate if they turn up late for an interview so make sure you don’t fall at the first hurdle!
Dress to impress
Candidates will often ask how smart to dress for an interview – the simple answer is; ’you can never be overdressed!’ A suit and tie or trouser suit shows you are a professional who has taken the meeting seriously and is not going to waste anyone’s time. There was once told a story about an individual who went to an interview in London with a company who were a relaxed outfit so he went in a t-shirt, shorts and flip-flops – suffice to say he was not invited back for a second interview…
Do your research!
The first question you’ll often be asked in an interview is ’What do you know about our business?’ therefore make sure you have a clear and articulate answer to go back with. This question will really filter out the candidates who are taking the process seriously and those who are lazy and not committed. So don’t just come back with the company’s tag line!
Start your research by looking through the organisations website in detail focussing in on their product offering, their company values and looking at any awards that they may have won. It’s also a good idea to see how they are perceived in the market – worth looking at customer reviews on Glassdoor and any recent articles on the organisation from media outlets.
Finally, when it comes to research, don’t hesitate to jot down some notes and take them to the interview with you. A notebook and pen is an interview essential so make sure that you’re seen to be taking down notes during the interview as well – these could prove invaluable in any subsequent interviews.
Prepare bespoke questions
Half the goal of an interview is to stand out from any other applicants and you will never be able to do this if you ask the standard interview questions, i.e. ’what are the hours?’ or ’what’s your commission plan?’
A great way to stand out is to ask bespoke questions that can only be asked to the person that you’ll be meeting. These can either be:
Personal to the Hiring Manager – Look at the Hiring Manager’s LinkedIn profile and put together a couple of questions about their time with the business. I.e.:
I had a quick look at your profile on LinkedIn and saw you worked for ’Z’ before joining here, what would you say are the major cultural differences between the two companies?
I see that you’ve been with X business for 7 years now. How has the company changed over that time?
Related to their product offering
I notice that you’ve recently branched into the IT security market – what was the reason behind this? And how much revenue has come through this area of the business since launch?
Related to any awards they may have won or media coverage
I see that you were placed in The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to work for 2016 – have you seen an increase in business off the back of this?
I notice that your CEO only joined the business back in November last year, what fresh ideas have he/ she brought to the organisation?
Close the interview
Finally, and most importantly, ensure that you know how you’ve performed in the interview. A good test of this is to think of when you get home and your spouse or friend asks how did your interview go? If you come back to that question with ’I think’ or ’I don’t know’ then you haven’t closed the interview properly…
Closing an interview doesn’t have to be too blunt or forceful but at least close with something along the lines of:
Thank you very much for your time, I’ve really enjoyed meeting you and am certainly very interested in the opportunity – do you have any reservations at all in my capabilities of performing in the role?
Follow these steps and your dream job is easily within your reach.