Considering a career in recruitment? | National Careers Week is 6-11th March 2023.
Here is our Interview Advice
Gaining employment will often depend on your interview technique. A successful interview is all the more important given the recent release of the ONS Employment and Labour Market’s publication, which shows the largest quarterly fall in the number of vacancies in two years. This drop reflects the general climate of uncertainty across many industries.[i]
Have impact and be unforgettable to your interviewer for all the right reasons.
Let us show you how it is done in three simple steps:
Eagerness and genuine interest.
Always take the opportunity to ask questions – learn about the specific requirements of the hiring manager and the company.
Use questions as an opportunity to gather information about the company culture, and to discuss any concerns that the hiring manager may have about yourself.
Margaret Buj, career blogger on LinkedIn puts forth five example questions you may take inspiration from –
- “What does a typical day/week look like?”
- “What are the main priorities of the role?”
- “What are the skills and experiences an ideal candidate would have?”
- “What are the challenges of the job?”
- “Is this a new role or a replacement?”[ii]
Buj offers pointers about the hiring manager’s expectations. For example, asking the hiring manager what their specific expectations of you would be in the first three to six months of the job, and how your performance would be measured in the role. You could ask what official performance review process is used by the company. Further, you might ask what the most pressing issue would be to tackle, and how the person hired could perform the job more efficiently than their predecessor, if indeed the role is a replacement.
It would also be worth exploring the company culture through further questions, like: “I’ve read about your recent acquisition/merger/IPO. Can you tell me more about how it will impact the organisation?” suggests Buj. This shows not only an interest in the company’s recent business action but shows that you are willing to listen to expand your understanding of the company.
Likewise, asking the interviewer to expand on the company’s corporate culture, values and social life facilitates a better understanding while demonstrating real emotional investment in the role.
Familiarity and confidence.
Asking about professional development illustrates that you are ambitious and reveals confidence in your own ability to progress. Consider the following example questions when preparing for your next interview:
- What training opportunities are available?
- Are there opportunities for professional development?
- What has motivated previous employees to move on?
- What is your policy on transfers to other divisions and/or offices?
Consider the job description – familiarise yourself with any requirements or desirables so that you can better project these in the interview.
Your own qualifications and credentials – expect to outline your interest in the role, and the relevance your strengths and skills to the job you are interviewing for.
“Perform research on the company and role” – not only to impress the interviewer(s), but to ensure that you are the right fit for the company, and to help calm any nerves by knowing you are fully prepared.[iii]
“Sell yourself” – though this can feel uncomfortable, the truth is that you are competing with others for the position, so you should have a list of your best abilities to hand. Metrics can help here, since you can prove the growth you brought to your previous role.
Lastly, Indeed suggests that you ‘Get ready to follow up after the interview’ – getting in touch reiterates your interest in the post.
Think about your answers to popular interview questions, like your intentions, what you can bring to the role, and your desired salary. Prepare thoughtful questions – as previously mentioned, this is an ideal opportunity to demonstrate to the interviewer that you have done your research and have genuine interest in the position.
Practise speaking clearly and confidently with open, approachable body language – this is incredibly important, since 55% of our communication is non-verbal, and 38% vocal, only 7% of our expression is conveyed through the words we use.[iv]
If possible, conduct mock interviews with friends or family – practice makes perfect!
Have hard copies of your CV, ideally three copies to allow for multiple interviewers. This demonstrates that you are prepared and organised. Be diplomatic but honest about any gaps in employment or questions which may arise about previous work.
Finally, ensure that you prepare your travel for the day – it goes without saying, be early to minimise stress and create a positive impression. Always save your interviewer’s contact should any unanticipated issues arise on your journey, and get in touch if you expect that you will be delayed – they will appreciate your honestly and will most likely understand that these things happen.
[i] “Vacancies and jobs in the UK: September 2022,” Census 2022, https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/bulletins/jobsandvacanciesintheuk/september2022 13 Sep 2022.
[ii] Margaret Buj, “29 Impressive Interview Questions to Ask,” https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/29-impressive-interview-questions-ask-margaret-buj/ 12 Dec 2018.
[iii] Hanne Keiling, “How To Prepare for an Interview in 11 Steps,” Indeed, https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/interviewing/how-to-prepare-for-an-interview 8 Aug 2022.
[iv] Mehrabian, A. (1972). Nonverbal Communication. New Brunswick: Aldine Transaction