Our biggest advice for any interview from first stage to final round, is preparation.. It may sound obvious but preparation can often be the most overlooked element of the interview process. The art of a relaxed confident interview will come from you being yourself, but if you’ve taken the time to think about how you want to present yourself, the questions you want to ask and the answers you want to give, then it will naturally help you to overcome many of the hurdles people face with interviews, such as nerves and uncertainty on the right thing to say.
Prepare… your company research
A candidate who has taken the time to research the company, the market place and the competition really does stand out. By spending the time before an interview to research will give you an understanding that allows a natural confidence and certainty in your responses. Not only will you be able to answers questions with considerable more ease but it will show the employer your commitment, enthusiasm and passion for the company and role on offer.
Researching a company can also go beyond their products and accolades, take the time to see if you can learn more about the company’s culture. Do they prioritise team working, do they pride themselves on educating and supporting growth in their staff or maybe they sell themselves on being an inclusive and diverse employer? All these elements make up a company’s unique culture and taking the time to show you understand this and want to be a part of this and helps to sell you as a great fit for that company.
Prepare… your job description research
Take the opportunity ahead of the interview to reread the job description again, but instead of a checklist to see if you want the job as you would have first time, look through it as a guide on what the employer is looking for.
By preparing yourself on the jobs requirements and needs, you can take the time to make sure you sell yourself on these areas. For example a role that looks for someone with proven sales experience, you know to bring in to the conversation some of your past sales achievements and accomplishments. Or a role that presents 50% travel, you know to express your comfort and enjoyment from not being based in an office permanently. These all add up as confident reassurances to the employer that you are the right match for the role.
Prepare.. your answers
There will always be a few questions in an interview designed to make you think or put you outside of your comfort zone, but the majority of the questions in an interview can be anticipated to a certain degree. Your CV highlights your education and previous roles requirements, so the questions in an interview give you a strategic opportunity to showcase how you will bring value to the role.
It can be extremely worthwhile taking the time to look through common interview questions (we’ve made a list of some below) and working through how you would look to answer each of these in a way that allows you to naturally and confidently sell yourself.
Prepare yourself for the difficult to answer questions too. Such as what are your weaknesses or why you want to leave your old role. It is never wise to lie about why you want a job (or want to leave your old one). But if you are leaving an old job try to be positive about the reasons for your decisions, such as feeling ready for the next stage or challenge. Emphasising the negative aspects of your previous or current job can create a bad impression and make an employer wary of hiring you.
Prepare.. your questions
A tip that is well known but still often overlooked is the opportunity to ask the interviewer your own questions at the end – we’d always recommend asking 2-3 questions, so by having 3-4 prepared it allows you to have some in store just in case your questions may have already been covered through the conversation prior.
This isn’t the part to discuss money (we’ll talk about that shortly) but this is the chance for you to show your enthusiasm and passion for the company and role. There are some obvious questions that will show the employer your interest such as “What does a typical day in the role look like?” But we recommended again using these questions as a chance to sell yourself rather than just a filler. Some of our favourites include:
- “ What does a great hire for this role look like versus just a good hire?” – This shows the employer you want to know what the X factor details they are looking for in their next hire.
- “What are the biggest developments or goals for the company currently and how will this role support achieving those?” – Let the employer know you’re looking to help the company succeed, no matter what role you’re in.
- “What are the targets for this role and how will I be measured in achieving these?” Let them known you’re enthusiastic about meeting the challenges or targets set for this new opportunity.
- “Do you have any hesitations in my ability to fill this role?” This allows the employer the chance to bring up anything that may be concerning them and allow you the opportunity to sell yourself or discuss any areas that may be holding you back. The art of this question is to ensure you ask it openly and not defensively, so you show the employer your ability to take on board suggestions and positively respond to any problems.
Prepare.. your outfit
An interview really is your first chance to sell yourself. We would always recommend smart attire and not to overlook the small details, such as ensuring your shoes are clean, clothes are pressed and hygiene is at a high standard; chipped nail polish or muddy shoes don’t present well!
But by taking the time to prepare your outfit ahead of the day, you take a lot of the pre interview stress and nerves away, rather than a rushed dash to iron or find the tie you need. Don’t overlook this preparation for video interviews either, even a virtual interview still requires a neat and tidy appearance.
Prepare.. your conversation about money
Sometimes the conversation of salary will come up and it is always worth preparing your answer on this. Take the time to prepare yourself, talk to your recruiter and spend a little time researching typical salaries for this role and in this region.
Should the question “what salary are you looking for?” then come up, you can present back with a thoughtful response along the lines of “From my research in industry and in this location I have seen these roles typically pay between X and Y. Is this similar to the amount you have budgeted for this role?” This allows the conversation on salary to flow rather than a demand and allows the employer the chance to see you have investigated and thoughtfully answered.
Prepare… your technology
Are you due to be on a virtual video interview? Or presenting a power point? Perhaps it is a simple first stage phone interview. If technology is involved make sure you take the time to prepare so you’re not left fumbling at the final hurdle.
For video interviews we recommend you take the chance to log in to the interview room ahead of time and ensure you have no connection problems, as well as preparing your video space ensuring a clear and clean area that doesn’t distract from the interview. For phone interviews, take the time to prepare a quiet and undisturbed space where you know you have good signal and for presentations, always be prepared with a backup copy. If you’re presenting on a laptop, have a USB back up in case of connection problems. You can even email your presentation to your consultant at Noble Futures and we can make sure it is sent ahead to the interview ahead of schedule, ready, in case of any technical errors.
Noble Futures are here to help you prepare
Your consultant is here to help you prepare and will often run through all these above points with you ahead of time but if you have any questions, no matter how big or small – make sure you reach out to the consultant to ask. It is always best to be reassured and confident going in to your interview than uncertain of what the process may be.
We also have a great library of past resources to support you in various areas of interviewing:
- Phone Interviews
- Video Interviews
- Selling transferable skills in an interview
- 4 ways to ace an interview presentation
Common Interview Questions you may face:
- What do you know about our company?
- Who else do you know in our industry?
- Would you like to tell us about your educational background?
- What subject did you like at school?
- In College why did you choose that course of study?
- If you were to start College again what would you choose as a different discipline?
- Tell us about your work experience starting with your first job.
- In your present job what are your responsibilities?
- Describe a typical day in your present job.
- What aspects of your job do you like?
- What parts do you dislike?
- Why do you dislike these areas?
- What prompted you to consider changing your job?
- Describe the people with whom you work. Start with your boss. Define their strengths and weaknesses?
- If you could suggest changes in your present job what would they be?
- In relation to this job what do you understand it to be?
- Describe what you think are the tasks you would be required to perform.
- What do you consider are the skills necessary to do this work?
- How does your experience match the requirements for this position?
- Given that there are areas where you lack experience, how would you cope?
- What do you feel, you as a person, can offer this company?
- What motivates you?
- As with all people we have strengths and weaknesses, what are your strengths and weaknesses?
- If a work colleague was to describe you, how would they do so?
- What is your career plan?
- How do you intend to achieve your career goals?
- What other jobs have you applied for?
- Why in your opinion, were you not offered the position/s you applied for?
- Of the interviews you have attended, which one would you favour – why?
- What do you do in your spare time?
- Are you a member of any clubs or organisations?