Interview Guidance

1. INTERVIEW CONFIDENCE

Your mindset before an interview is incredibly important in the confidence or equally, anxiety you feel before an interview. Remember, the interview process is as much an opportunity for you to find out whether the vacancy and company is right for you, as it is for the future employer to see if you are right for them. Whilst researching the role and the company for your interview preparation, think about why you want the position, what excites you and why this company is somewhere you would like to work. Also consider if there are any concerns you might have, whether about the roles and responsibilities or the company culture. This will all help you focus and remember that this is a meeting as much for you to form an opinion about the role, as for the interviewer to check your suitability for the job.

The cliché goes that men feel confident they have what it takes to succeed if they meet 60% of a role’s skills; women doubt their suitability if they possess 90% of the job description’s must haves.

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook:  “I wish I could just go tell all the young women I work with, all these fabulous women, 'Believe in yourself and negotiate for yourself. Own your own success.’”

Nicola Mendelsohn Facebook VP for EMEA: “What would you do if you weren’t afraid? Then think: What’s the worst that can happen?”

 

2. PROMOTE YOURSELF!

Statistics show that on average 30% of female job seekers feel uncomfortable promoting themselves and their strengths in interviews.  The glowing references, your appreciative colleagues, the client who loves working with you over anyone else, won’t be in the interview room with you. So, you have to practice ‘blowing your own trumpet!’

Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses, and think of evidence to demonstrate both – this will give you examples at your fingertips when answering competency based questions.  Then practice saying them, talking about yourself and your attributes to friends, family and anyone who will listen will all help it come more naturally in interview.

When talking about weaknesses, think of area’s where you have been weaker in the past, but have learnt from and managed to overcome.  Keep examples short, a long story about a weakness isn’t how you want to maximise your interview time.  End on a positive learning experience that you have taken with you.

 

3. TAP YOUR CONSULTANT FOR ALL THE INFO

There’s an enormous amount of confidence to be gained from all the inside information on the job role, the interviewer, the company, the history of the business and previous incumbents in the role.  You have instant access to all this from your Consultant.  They are the key to your preparation – use them!  Even if you feel you are asking hundreds of questions, it will all help you make the most of the interview and prepare yourself properly. There is also no question you can’t ask your consultant, and they can really steer you towards the right examples and experience as they know you and they know what the interviewer wants.  They can give you insight into dress code, the personality of your interviewer, the kind of questions they are likely to ask (and the answers they may want to hear), the length of interview, how long they have been looking for someone, the possible long term opportunities and what previous employees have gone on to do.  Knowledge is everything.

It is incredibly important to tailor your answers to the job role, make sure what you say is relevant and make sure you are able to demonstrate that you have the ability and the skills that are required.  Read the job spec thoroughly and make points against duties where you can give examples to demonstrate your suitability for each area.  Again your Consultant can highlight to you what to focus on, and what will help you stand out from the crowd.

 

4. PRACTICE YOUR TECHNIQUE

Nothing will prepare you as well as practicing out loud.  Ask a friend or colleague to listen to your prepared answers and examples you might have, the ones that naturally spring from the job description and always backing up with examples. You can also get interview preparation from your Consultant, and run ideas and examples past them, this will ensure that you are giving the relevant examples and keeping it tailored to the job interview you are going for. 

Run through the questions you’ll put to your interviewer and ask your buddy to be honest: are any ‘fillers’ or questions you should already know the answers to?  Refine your list so that it comprises only those questions you genuinely want answered and haven’t been able to research yourself.

 

5. FEEDBACK IS IMPORTANT

Feedback is incredibly important for both you and the interviewer.  It is unusual to get offered the first job you interview for, so it is a great way to keep perfecting your job search and interview technique.  You must always feedback as soon as possible after an interview to your Consultant, your initial thoughts and impressions of a role count for so much.  You may have more to add having slept on it too, sometimes an interview experience can sink in over time, either provoking more questions and insights for second interview, or bringing into focus aspects of the role and company that do not appeal. 

Your Consultant needs to hear from you as soon as possible so that they are in possession of your thoughts and questions before they speak to the Interviewer.  It is incredibly important for them to manage expectations and to steer and negotiate on your behalf every step of the way. 

 Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook: “honest feedback… what was good, where you can improve for the future… the rule is that feedback’s a gift – you say ‘thank you’”