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Interviews are daunting at the best of times, but add on several years out of the game and they become even more so. When you’ve spent an extended amount of time with one employer, it’s easy to question your ability and your value to another firm, and to know how best to sell yourself.
Finding advice which goes beyond ‘dress smart, smile and be yourself’ is similarly difficult, so we’ve spoken to our expert consultants to put together our top five interview preparation tips, to help you get yourself into the strongest position possible for interview.
The quickest way to win over your interviewer is to come equipped with ideas from the get go. Use their website, Glassdoor, LinkedIn and any other social media accounts to build up a good ground knowledge of the organisation and the industry. Prepare a thorough analysis – what improvements could be made based on your first impression? Can you advise strategies to break into new markets? Initiative, research skills, a proactive nature – the act of preparation alone shows incredibly valuable skills and a passion for both the role and company that your competitors may not.
Interviews can very easily be a walk-through of your CV, so make sure yours is not. Employers want to know what motivates you, what kind of person you are, and what – precisely – your leadership and management can bring to their business.
Make sure you have researched yourself; back-up your experiences with your achievements and successes. By what percentage have you increased revenue? How many leads have you generated through a particular campaign? Sell yourself with tangible evidence.
Don’t ‘try to turn your negative attributes into positive ones’ here; it’s at this stage that a potential employer will value your honesty more than anything else. If you have limited experience in a particular field or managing specific project types, tell them. Just reassure them afterwards by discussing your management of similar projects. The experience you have which demonstrates the same fundamental skills. Your relevant qualifications. Be honest, and that speaks volumes.
This is perhaps the most common interview question to come from employers. Why? Because it’s a way of testing your sales ability on the spot and seeing how you adapt to an unstructured situation. It’s a test of articulation and confidence as well as a way of hearing about your experience and your aspirations for the future.
Take the interviewer through your career post-education and focus in on 3 key projects that you’ve undertaken in that time that best display your skills and that have produced strong business results. Make sure that these examples provide evidence of you successfully performing the main responsibilities of the role at hand. Finally, make sure to end on your aspirations, and how this role will get you there.
An interview isn’t just an opportunity for an employer to assess you, but also for you to find out more about them. Make sure you ask about things like their values and motivations, their culture, employee benefits, and what management style is taken.
Preparation is just as vital here. Research the team and key board members and allow that information to form the basis of more insightful questions. What has the previous postholder gone on to do; is there career progression available? What challenges do they forecast for the business and what are their plans to address them? This is your opportunity to stand out from the other candidates in being the most inquisitive and the most thorough.
Interviews are a stressful process for all candidates, no matter how senior. At the risk of sounding cliché, make sure above all else you remain yourself and trust that if you are the best fit for their business they will see that for themselves.
CSG’s executive consultants take pride in partnering with senior-level professionals, taking the time to understand their career aspirations and assisting them throughout the interview process. We act as career guides, to make sure that our candidates land their dream role, every time.
If you’d like to get in touch – either for one-to-one career advice or assistance in looking for your next role – we can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org / +44 (0) 333 323 2000, or you can reach one of our consultants directly, contact details listed on their online profiles: www.csgtalent.com/consultants.