Interview Preparation

An interview is a two way process.

The recruiter wants to see if you have the skills to do the job and the personality to fit in the team; and you want to find out if this is the right job or place for you to work.

Objective of the Interview

During an interview you are mostly selling and the recruiter are mostly buying but you will both do a bit of each. A typical interview will go

Introduction from the recruiter – 10%: they are selling – you are buying
Your skills and experience – 80%: they are buying – you are selling
Your questions – 10%: they are selling – you are buying

So think about how you are going to sell yourself. Like all good selling this means understanding what the recruiter wants to buy. By understanding their needs you can highlight the relevant skills and experience and focus your presentation on the things that matter to them.

Before the Interview

Good preparation is the key to success.

Research the company – make sure you know about the firm. Check its website, check its latest investments, check its people and see what you can find out about the interviewer.

What do they want – think about their needs and identify your relevant experiences. Work out how you are going to present these. You should be able to put these over in a way that covers the qualities and skills that they are looking for. Remember - they want to know if you are suitable for the role – they DON’T want to hear your life history.

Key messages – decide on the impression that you want to leave behind. What are the three or four key messages that you want to leave in their mind? And, how are you going to do this.

Don’t get caught out – make sure you can talk knowledgeably about everything on your CV. In particular, make sure you really know what happened on every transaction or project that you say you have been involved with.

Questions you want to ask – when preparing your questions say to yourself – if this company made me a job offer, what would I need to know before I could say YES?

The Interview

First impressions – make sure you look terrific. Arrive on time, at least five/ten minutes before the scheduled interview time. Turn your mobile phone off.

Body Presentation – make sure you have put on deodorant and some aftershave/perfume. Ensure you are clean shaven, have brushed your teeth and/or take a breath mint and hold off on having that cigarette before entering an enclosed interview room. There is nothing worse than giving 110% and all they take away from the experience is poor presentation or hygiene.

Eye contact – make sure you look them in the eye, shake their hand firmly and SMILE.

Tell me about yourself – you will almost certainly be asked this question. You should have a brief, well prepared answer focusing on your skills relevant to their needs. Use your projects or past experience to highlight these skills.

Body language – make sure you are alert at all times. Watch the interviewer – is he/she getting bored with your monologue. If so, then change direction: ask a question, check your understanding, get them to participate in a dialogue.

Have you any questions for us? Your answer has to be YES and the questions have to be good. You should have prepared them in advance.

Last impressions – be as positive when saying goodbye as you were on introduction – firm handshake, big smile, lots of eye contact and reiterate your enthusiasm for the role.

Good luck!