So, you’ve decided it’s time for a new challenge. You’ve dusted down your CV and, armed with excellent advice on how to structure it best, have sent this off to several great looking roles and landed a handful of interviews.
Now the real work begins.
For many the interview process is a stressful and nerve-wracking time, with visions of being grilled by a surly CEO who makes Claude Littner look like a pussycat, or interrogated by a panel of senior staff who want to pick your proposition apart like someone who hasn’t done their financials on Dragon’s Den!
It needn’t be.
We’ve compiled a few tips to make sure you’re best placed to nail the interview, get to the next stage and ultimately get that job offer.
It’s an obvious one, but you’d be surprised by how many candidates arrive at an interview undercooked, without any real knowledge of the company they’re talking to or how the role fits into that organisation.
You must familiarise yourself with their website, both to understand what the company does, its clients, routes to market and success stories, but also what they’re not doing well. As Marketers you may be expected to critique the website, content and brand, so dig deeper – read their blogs, investigate their social media and employee profiles and immerse yourself in their tone.
A company’s brand values and mission statements likely took some time to refine and will indicate what they perceive makes their organisation tick, so try and align your thinking with them and practice talking about your experience within this framework and language.
A good recruiter can help here – They’ll likely know their client well, having met them and should have really got a sense of what the role entails beyond the Job Description basics. Make them earn their money and brief you fully on who you’re seeing, their personality, likes and dislikes and the environment you’ll be going into.
If you know what to expect in this regard, you’ll feel much more confident arriving with an idea of what (and who) lies ahead.
Interviews can vary from a casual chat over coffee to a panel presentation with many variations in between. Find out the format and practice with this in mind.
An informal interview may seem like a “chat” but it’s still an interview, so make sure to appear professional at all times. Try to mirror the interviewer in body language, tone and manner but, however casual, never use bad language or be negative about your current employer.
A competency based interview is a more structured and formal process, in which the questioning will be based around key competencies of the role and are usually in the “Give me an example of when…” format. These need practice. Look in detail at the Person Specification and understand what the essential requirements of the role are then think of a couple of real examples of where you’ve displayed this skillset. Use workplace examples where possible, but a back-up from your personal life can be useful if needed.
I know, it’s easier said than done! You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t have any nerves during an interview, so try to harness the energy and dampen any fear.
Try to speak slowly and clearly; feel free to pause or ask for clarification if required before answering a question rather than launching into a rambling waffle.
Ask questions to turn the interview into more of a conversation when appropriate, and try and let your personality shine through – businesses hire people not CVs, so make sure you are memorable and unique.
If you have an interview coming up soon, good luck!
For further advice, why not get in touch?