The interview is by far the most fraught part of the job-hunting process; it’s a minefield of preparation and etiquette. We’ve prepared numerous candidates for interview, and have found that the best approach to meeting your potential new client or permanent employer is a strategic one.
The best strategies are simple and clear-cut; they involve being proactive in assessing and mitigating risk. To prepare you for your next interview, we’ve listed a number of techniques that your recruiter should brief you on as standard. As simple and clear-cut as they are, they can also be the ones that get missed when you’re prepping for your potential next role – especially if you’re busy planning the exit strategy for your current position.
Here’s how to stay on track and avoid the dreaded “D’oh!” moments:
Know exactly why and how your skills fit the role
The client should make sure to properly brief your recruiter (we’ll come to that in a future post), and the recruiter should brief you on this one crucial thing: understanding why you’re so suited for this position.
Your recruiter should make this clear from the outset, as this helps you avoid an awkward “I wasn’t told that…” moment during the interview. We make a point of helping our clients articulate their requirements clearly, but being prepared for any ‘curveballs’ reflects very well on you.
Once you’ve reviewed the job spec thoroughly, it’s a good idea to pick your recruiter’s brains: how well do they know the client? How long have they worked with them? Does the client have a particular outlook or set of experiences that inform their hiring choices – and does that fit with the company overall? (In a previous article, we talk about why cultural fit is so important to long-term professional happiness.)
Have questions for everything, not just answers
The client will expect you to have questions, and this is another opportunity to show off your preparation. From your research and the job spec, you should be able to flesh out between five to ten questions that demonstrate what you already know about the company, the client, and the role itself.
Take notes during the interview; this shows you’re actively engaged, cements your understanding of the role, and makes the interview feel more like a meeting (which can help take any interview nerves down a notch.). You might not need all of those questions; they may be answered over the course of the interview, but you will need them to join the dots or pick up any discrepancies with the client themselves.
It’s the little things
There’s so much to remember in the run-up to interview that small things can easily get overlooked – and if your recruiter doesn’t remind you, we will:
• Turn your phone off, or put it on silent/vibrate.
• Make sure you know how to get to the client’s office – there’s a chance your recruiter may not have been there themselves, so won’t know that the numbering is non-existent or that the actual office is across the road from the site address you’ve been given.
• Know who to ask for when you get there, and if they have a name you find difficult to pronounce, make sure you practice – and nail it.
• If you think you might need your portfolio or extra copies of your CV, bring them. If the client is in a hurry or they suffer a printer fail, they’ll appreciate you helping them out.
• Key to making a good impression without saying a word is making sure your clothes and accessories look sharp and well maintained.