How to Prepare for an Interview

By Nick Tollemache | General

Google searches bring up over a nearly two hundred million results to help you prepare for an interview but what really works? We’ve helped interviewees across the globe for years, and our proven technique will equip you with the necessary tools to beat the nerves and deliver a successful interview.

 

What does the interviewer want to know about me?

The aim of any job interview is to establish two things: are you capable of doing the job and what is the risk factor of your hire?

Invariably, the interviewer wants to find out if you’re capable of doing the job. This is likely to be split into two competencies: are you technically able and do you have the necessary soft skills? Technical skills refer to the abilities and knowledge required to perform specific tasks which are often practical, mechanical, scientific or mathematic, and can include the use of programmes, equipment or tools. Soft skills are more difficult to screen for. Do you collaborate well with others? Can you adapt your communication style for different stake-holders? Do you have a positive attitude to challenges?

The interviewer also needs to determine the level of risk associated with your hire. Hiring costs time and money after all so will you stick around long enough to make the hire worthwhile? There’s an element of risk to all hires, but the interviewer will generally favour the applicant whose long-term career plans are in line with the role on offer. Another point to consider here is relocation. If a job requires you to move thousands of miles to a new city, will you be happy? Do you have partners or dependents to consider? Will they be able to find work in a new country? Demonstrating that you’ve spent time abroad before or that you already have friends in this location will inevitably make employers feel more at ease.

How do I demonstrate my experience to the interviewer?

Of course you can do the job and you’re a joy to have in the office, but now you have to convince the interviewer.

We suggest that you prepare two examples or “stories” to demonstrate your technical and soft skills. Read the job description and choose two slightly different ongoing projects or completed pieces of work that prove the relevance of your experience so that instead of launching into a long-winded, meandering reply, you can keep your pitch simple, relevant and memorable.

As with any story, first off, you need to set the scene: think about the company or client you did the work for, their size and sector, the time scales, who was the contact – was it a Finance Director, Managing Director or CEO? Next, describe the task at hand: what were the goals of the project and what were you working to achieve. Then explain the processes of this project or piece of work. It’s easy to get carried away in describing what the team did and how everyone worked together to accomplish goals but remember that the interviewer wants to know what YOU did – make sure that your sentences don’t start with “we” or “they”. Were there any problems along the way and how did you overcome them? How did you manage the project effectively and interact with different stake-holders? Lastly, consider the outcomes of the projects; focus on the positive, and don’t slip into the goals that weren’t achieved.

Storytelling in this way provides the perfect platform for you to drop descriptive detail or “bread crumbs” into any interview answer for the interviewer to pick up. By pre-empting the interviewer’s questions, you can prevent a dreary question and answer grilling, and create a much more natural conversation instead. Many job descriptions will list ‘essential’ and ‘desirable’ requirements; your interviewer will have already established that you meet the essential requirements and so here you can subtly demonstrate how you tick all the “desirable” boxes too. Any interviewer will be impressed.

 

The practicalities

Aside from explaining your experience and ability to do the job, the interviewer needs to see that you’ve considered the hard realities of a new role at their company.

Interviewers are well aware that not everyone they encounter has dreamt of working for their company since they were a small child (unless you are interviewing for racing driver or super-hero job, of course). However, expressing your enthusiasm for the position by showing that you understand the company and the job requirements differentiates the serious from not-so-serious candidates, and shows you are well informed and therefore less likely to encounter unwanted surprises when you join them. Do your research. Why do you like this company? Why does this role suit your experience? Why do you think this a good career progression for you?

 

 

Whether you have the freedom to talk about anything and everything, or you are directly asked about very specific skill-sets, our tried and tested interview technique will help you ace type of interview.

First Post

By Nick Tollemache | Compliance

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