How to excel at interview
Before The Interview
Ensure you have researched the company interviewing you. With the help of the internet, you should be able to obtain plenty of corporate information,
product/services details and current news articles on most organizations. Many employers place particular importance on this and view it as a good indicator of the suitability and level of interest of a potential applicant.
Rehearse potential interview questions: as well as those relating to job moves and relevant experience be sure you can articulate why you are interested in this particular role, with this particular employer and how it will fit with your career ambitions. Study the job description if available, or the advertisement you applied to, to ensure that you are prepared for questions relating to the attributes and experience specified. For example if there is a point referring to the need to be innovative, think of examples which might demonstrate this.
Review your Resume/CV and application to refresh your memory regarding dates, experience and your claims for particular expertise, skills and personal
Ensure you are well briefed (where applicable) by the recruitment consultancy that is representing you. They should be able to tell you the format of the
interview, something about the personalities you will be meeting and where interviewees have succeeded/failed with their client in the past. If you are applying direct you should still be able to glean useful information from web searching including LinkedIn. You may even have helpful contacts in the organization who can give you some useful pointers.
Allow plenty of time for travel to the interview. Aim to arrive with 10-15 minutes to spare.
Try to schedule the interview at a time that is unlikely to need to be changed or cancelled at the last minute.
During The Interview
Always welcome the interviewer with a firm handshake, direct eye contact and a smile.
Be conscious of the environment you have entered – new building, busy reception, chaotic environment – all these facilitate the initial ‘small talk’.
Ensure you are clear and concise when answering questions and be aware that you will be asked for examples to back up the statements/claims you make during the interview.
Remain open, positive and honest. Interviewers are looking for the ‘real’ you, so avoid telling them what you think they want to hear.
After The Interview
Analyze where you performed well and, equally importantly, which questions caught you off guard.
Where appropriate, provide feedback to the recruitment consultancy involved in the appointment.
If invited for another interview, try and find out where you need to score better.
If unsuccessful after an interview do your best to find out why. The feedback will help next time.
Interview Preparation for Employers
How to select the most appropriate applicant for a vacancy
Whether one views interviewing as a necessary evil or a refreshing change from day to day work, the reality is that many of those involved in recruitment
decisions are not trained interviewers. Self-evidently, however, their role is crucial in attracting candidates to their organization and ensuring future employees have the skill sets, personal qualities and experience to undertake the role for which they are being assessed.
A company’s interview process should be constructed with the following criteria in mind:
• A maximum of three stages, which will include meeting all relevant decision makers.
• Evaluation of career history including promotions, reporting lines, reasons for job moves.
• Evaluation of the skills and experience required by the role.
• Assessment of personal qualities and personality characteristics with reference to the role and employer in question.
• Briefing/Selling the candidates on the role and company. Allowing candidates to ask questions and evaluate their own comfort with the firm, role and
• Completed within a reasonable time scale: not too hasty, not too slow.
It will be clear that preparation will therefore require stakeholders’ agreement on: what qualities are being sought? How are they going to be measured and at what stage in the process? What are the employer’s selling points and how do they ensure that the candidate is made aware of these from an early stage of the recruitment process? Who needs to be involved in the process and why?
Of the previous points the most important in terms of interview preparation and management is deciding the candidate profile and being clear that all the criteria specified are genuinely relevant pre-requisites for success in the role.
Evaluation of the candidate can be either by a traditional experience related interview, or more sophisticated competency based techniques, perhaps
supplemented by formal or informal presentations. The key point is that the choice of format must be directly relevant to the role i.e. there is no point in asking someone to do a presentation if it’s not likely they will be doing so in the job.
Psychometrics and aptitude tests are frequently included in employers’ selection processes without any clear relevance and should be included only if essential as they are time consuming for candidates and frequently meet with candidate resistance as they may be seen as demeaning.
While the nature of the interview itself will depend on the stage of the process and the role of the interviewer, the following checklist may help:
• Am I clear what my role is in this interview and what the next step is in the process?
• Do I have a copy of the Resume/CV (and covering letter if relevant?)
• Allow at least 10 minutes to thoroughly read the Resume/CV and note points which require discussion (with reference to any previous interview notes if
• If it is not the first interview, check well in advance (i.e. not 15 minutes before) for notes from previous interviews and/or speak to previous interviewers
• If it is the final stage, ensure that all relevant information has been gleaned from the candidate.
Crafting an effective recruitment process which delivers the best talent is not simple and indeed many employers underestimate the difficulty: Pac-J would be delighted to provide a free overview of your approach with no obligation or undertake and more detailed evaluation if required.