Robert Cavendish’s top 10 Interview tips
1. Preparation – is key!
As we all know failing to prepare is preparing to fail. It is important to get to grips with the open position and understand the business. There is nothing employers dislike more than an interviewee with no interest in the company or role. Therefore, do your research, as lack of knowledge demonstrates lack of interest. If you shock the interviewer with how much you know about the company’s current affairs you will be sure to shine in the interview process. However, avoid recalling information verbatim as this could ruin the interview flow.
2. USP – what makes you different from your competitors?
Your unique selling point is going to be the difference between you landing your dream job or losing it. Ensure you highlight your biggest strengths during the interview. What makes you different from all the other candidates? Are you a specialist in financial services? Do you have 20 years' PQE experience? Did you climb Mount Everest? Whatever it is, find your USP and use it to make you stand out from the crowd.
Imagine you are the interviewer, you have two candidates with the same skill set, both would excel in the role, however one candidate you know would be a pleasure to work with, the other is not very warm towards you, who are you going to pick?
Ensure you are friendly, personable, approachable, and finally, be yourself. Interviewees often forget to bring one of the most important things to the interview……their personality. Let your personality shine whilst keeping a professional manner.
Don’t underestimate the importance of non-verbal elements when creating an impression. Your body language makes a huge difference to how you are perceived, for example sitting with your arms crossed may appear defensive. Start by ensuring you greet your interviewer with a firm (but not too firm) handshake, ensure that you have good deportment throughout the interview and try to avoid fidgeting, as this will make you come across uneasy and lacking in confidence. Ensure you make good eye contact with the person you are speaking with both when they are talking to you and when you are talking to them, this lets them know that you are interested (however ensure you are not staring them down and remember to blink and look away occasionally). Don’t let nerves get to you, relax and act natural.
5. Prepare some great examples
Recap on the job responsibilities and requirements and put yourself in the shoes of the interviewer – what would you ask? Create a bank of answers that showcase your best projects - the situation, what you did and the result – adding in numbers to demonstrate the impact you had on the situation. Practice delivering these answers so that they sound natural and ensure that you can deliver them succinctly and confidently without referring to notes.
6. Digital hygiene
Employers often check social media profiles, therefore ensure your public images/information is employer-friendly. Employers do not want to see racist or discriminatory opinions on your profile, or lots of drunken pictures, as it will say a lot about you as a potential employee. If there's any doubt about a post – remove it.
7. Know your CV
You should be able to answer a question on any part of your own CV or application form. The good news is, your CV or application form answers have got you to interview stage. If asked a general question about your experience, mention your highest qualification or best experience first, before talking about other examples.
8. Dress to impress
Do your research before the interview. For the vast majority of interviews, the most appropriate interview outfit will be a suit in a muted colour. Invest in one that is well fitted along with good quality shoes. If you have any doubt as to what is appropriate, and you have a recruitment consultant – ask them what will be expected. If you are going directly to the employer you can get an idea of the office culture by looking at a company’s social media page, however, always go on the smart side when it comes to your interview attire.
9. Master the “what’s your weakness?” question
Ensure you do not come across arrogant when answering this question make sure you have a weakness ready but not one that will rule you out of the position! Try choosing a weakness from the past that you are working on. Also, ensure it is not a personality weakness but instead a lack of experience weakness that can be worked on.
10. Question time - what do you want to know?
You will have many questions about the company and role prior to the interview, most of these will be answered throughout the interview, however, do not be afraid to ask those questions left unanswered. Before the interview, keep up with the company’s recent announcements, blog posts, or clients to help you collate a list of questions. Try your best to come up with questions that bring that “wow” factor to the conversation. Asking a good question will show your passion and enthusiasm for the role. Remember you also need to evaluate whether the role and company is right for you. Interviewers should also be ‘selling’ the business and the opportunity with confidence.