The perfect process
An interview is your opportunity for you to explore a company for suitability for you from a professional and personal fit level. It is easy to forget that your interaction and input is necessary to gauge whether the company and role is the right place for you. Tight interview panels can sometimes distract and derail your focus and reason for being interviewed, producing a lesser that desired outcome and a no win situation.
Essential tips to ensure you can retain the control and not flail during the meeting:
We have all had an interview experience where we feel that we could have done better, this can happen due to not spending enough time preparing what you want to convey and find out from your meeting. Some tips to consider before your meeting:
Is this job me? Ensure you are going to attend an interview to a company that you are genuinely interested in and motivated about. Many people go along for various reasons, end up wasting personal time and the company’s time. Your reputation is key when on the job market so avoid wasting time if you are not 100% motivated to leave your current job for a new role. Do your research on the company prior, does the business align with your work ethic, personal philosophy and what is important to you. When there are too many cons and not enough pros you are better off holding off attending a meeting for something better. Interviews can be lengthy and arduous, and a little research can save you time and save your brand.
Prepare your value proposition or elevator pitch about you. An interview is your chance to reiterate why the company has invited you to meet them in the first place. It is your time to demonstrate what they have read on your resume is accurate and relevant to the job at hand. This can be a positive time for you to showcase who you are, to emphasise your expertise, reputation and credibility that has also been conveyed by your representing recruitment consultant. Before your interview spend a bit of time verbalising your elevator pitch. When asked about you, you should be confident to rattle this off without faltering; first impressions are lasting and fleeting at the same time, so get it right with some prep will make all the difference. Writing notes or bullet point notes, a spiel and practise in the mirror, with a friend, partner or to your pet if no one is around to listen. Prior preparation and speaking your message out loud a couple of times over, a little like rehearsing lines will get you in the right frame of mind, and ready for any obscure objections or questions about you. First impressions are critical and can set the tone very early in the interview process. A good way to overcome per-interview nerves if you have not been on the new job hunt for many years.
Once you are committed, spend time researching about the company from online, social media and news publications including your network. The more insight you have about your prospective employer will enable you to be far more specific about asking about the business, their growth plans and direction. You will have a starting point for interesting conversation due to being informed. Insight to about the company's market challenges maybe useful in your general discussion. Having a broad company overview creates for an interesting conversation about the role and how technology enablement is improving business operation and outcomes. Many employers are keen to transform, disrupt, improve to grow their business; your approach and interest in this showcase your motivation and alignment to a company making you a good potential employee.
Work out what you need to know from this company, the culture, their reputation, their position in the market. Also questions about what is in it for you from a growth and remuneration perspective. It is easy to forget to ask key or challenging questions, so write your list prior and prepare to ask these issues as suggested before. Often an interview will only be short in duration so find out as much as you need to know to help you decide if this gig is for you.
Think about your personal and professional develop areas; sometimes candidates come up with suboptimal answers to their weaknesses. This response needs to be self-reflective however tempered with a level of optimism and desire that these skills can be acquired at this new job. Each question you answer to demonstrate your relevance to the company and interviewing panel. It is critical for you to keep the engagement and interest level up with mindful and planned solutions that solve the company's reason to seek to hire someone like you.
Build rapport early on and throughout, if you are poker-faced and only answer questions that are asked rather than interacting, you will limit your chances of success. People like talent who can demonstrate stakeholder engagement; you don’t need to be a director of a company to show that you have strong communication skills. A genuine interest in the people you're meeting with met with mirrored body language and interaction should allow the company to open up further and paint a picture of the organisation's culture. Interviews are reciprocal, more dialogue and information shared will help your experience throughout.
Identify any interview red flags during your meeting. If you find questions are going south, take notice, stop reflect and say that you probably did’t answer that to the best of your intentions. Taking stock and ownership during a meeting shows your capability to be self-reflective and confident enough to say you could have done better. It is better to answer the question or ask to be able to answer it again in another way than to feel you could have done better. Key things to keep an eye out for to gauge how you're going, if you find that questions are very behavioural focused and head down the path of how you handle certain situations, you may find this a tactic an interviewer may use waste fill time. On the flip side, if an employer ends up speaking more than you, selling their organisation to you and talking about the role as if you were already an employee, the ball is likely to be in your court.
Remember the essentials, at the end express your gratitude in the company’s interest in you and for the invitation to the interview. A follow-up email is a nice touch to send to your consultant to forward to the interviewing panel for their time and the opportunity. Your email is a good time for you to tell them why you would like to work for the company, what you'll bring, why you make a great employee. Your appreciation and written gratitude will create a lasting impression and may just secure you that dream job over your competition.
If you are keen to spruce up your skills or haven’t been to an interview for years, please contact James Gildon or Vanessa Kerrison from Latitude IT for interview prep help and coaching to give you the edge and confidence you need to handle any conversation with ease.