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At this stage in your career, you may not have attended an interview for years or are more used to interviewing potential employees yourself, perhaps you even consider yourself a pro! Whatever your situation, it is important to invest the time in fully preparing for every interview you attend no matter how much experience you have in interview scenarios.
You want to present yourself as the best possible candidate for the position, but equally this is an important opportunity for you to assess whether the company and role is right for you in the next stage of your career. An interview is a two-way process so it’s vital you consider your options carefully and establish if the company and role is definitely the right step in moving towards your end career goals.
Our expert team at CSG Talent has outlined our top interview tips to ensure you are fully prepared and to get the most out of your interview.
1. CONDUCT YOUR RESEARCH
Take time to build up a general overview and knowledge of the organisation, their competitors, and, if they are operating in a different industry to the one you are currently in, build on your knowledge of the industry. Your recruitment consultant should be able to provide you with a good insight, but also review the company website, companies house account, social media accounts, investor reports and general media coverage. This will allow you to demonstrate your passion for the company and the role but it will help to inform the questions you ask and allow you to demonstrate how you can make an impact and contribute to company strategy and objectives.
Also take some time to research the people who you will be interviewing with – research their profiles on LinkedIn and in general industry media to understand the interviewer’s background, career path, key projects and achievements within their career and any topics they are publicly vocal on. This will help you to build a rapport during the interview and allow you to ask personalised questions. You’ll also be more easily able to anticipate the types of questions they are likely to ask you by understanding a little more about them as an individual.
2. CONFIDENTLY ARTICULATE YOUR SUCCESS AND TRACK RECORD
You need to be specific on your career accomplishments. Make sure you have key figures, metrics and results memorised that you can highlight your proven success and the value you can bring to the role! Your interviewers want to understand precisely what your leadership and management can bring to their business, so you need to sell yourself with tangible evidence. Back-up your experiences with your specific achievements and successes; rather than generally talking about your management of teams, talk about the size of those teams and the revenue generated or impact on the company. You can talk about headcounts, the number of projects managed, the volume of work as well as company-wide metrics. You need to be prepared to demonstrate that you are results orientated and you have a record of achievements in this area, instilling the confidence that you can replicate this success in their organisation.
3. ENGAGE AND DEMOSTRATE YOUR STORYTELLING CAPABILITIES
Whilst results are important, there is great value in engaging your interviewer in how you achieved those results. If you can articulate yourself well, build a narrative and bring people along with you in an engaging and memorable way, this will be seen as a great skill to have in itself. Great story telling also allows you to establish yourself as a three-dimensional representation of the person in your CV and highlight why you are a good fit for the role by tailoring your background to the exact requirements for the opportunity.
Make sure you have a few solid examples queued up of past experiences, but above all, keep these short, simple and concise. You may find the S.T.A.R method a useful approach to adopt to help explain past successes:
When preparing these examples, make sure you don’t lose sight of the ‘takeaway’ – what you ultimately want the interviewer to remember from the story you are sharing and that is the potential value your experience has in relation to the role you are being interviewed for.
4. DEMONSTRATE YOUR PERSONALITY, SELL YOURSELF
We are all people and quite simply, we people buy into people. It’s important not to just project yourself from a purely professional perspective, but that you allow your personality to come across too. If you are honest in the person you are, this will go a long way and will allow those interviewing you to see you have the type of personality they would like to work alongside. Clients frequently refer to ‘the importance of culture fit’, so don’t underestimate the importance of allowing them to see that you not only ‘fit’ but your personality will really bring something to their team. Make sure your recruitment consultant brings you up to speed on the type of culture the organisation has. This is not only important from their perspective in establishing if you fit in with their culture, but to establish if you can align to their values and see yourself being part of their culture and their vision.
Don’t be afraid to talk about your life outside of work, your passions and what’s important to you – this allows them to see you as a rounded individual. It will also give them some insight into your likely leadership and communication styles.
5. CONTRIBUTE TO THEIR VISION, MAKE THE PICTURE A FUTURE WITH YOU
Getting your interviewers excited about what you’d do for them is a pivotal part of the interview. It’s easy to get tied up in talking about your past successes, but make sure you dedicate enough time to discussing the future and how you can contribute to their organisation, their vision and potential growth plans.
First of all, make sure you have a good understanding of what they are looking for and what they want someone to achieve in this role. Again, your recruitment consultant should be able to support you with detailed insight into exactly why they are hiring, if historically anyone has been in the position, what potential challenges there might be and ideas to contribute to their future success.
Using this knowledge you can talk about how you would help them to succeed. Discuss their goals and priorities and how your skill set fits into that, particularly highlighting any skills and experience you have that they don’t necessarily currently have within the business. Show you have a vision for what you could accomplish in this role and share ideas and suggestions for how you will make the impact they are looking for and demonstrate your passion and excitement to have the opportunity to bring this to life.
6. ASK VALUABLE QUESTIONS
Your interview should be two-way; whilst the interviewers want to know if you are the right candidate for the role, you also need to determine if this is the right company and next step for you. Prior to the interview, prepare some key questions that you want to ensure you have the answers to, particularly when you think about what is important to you personally when it comes to the type of company and role that you are likely to thrive in and will motivate you.
It is important that you ask questions throughout the interview, so the chances are that the answers to these will come naturally. You may also need to ask questions during the interview to solidify your understanding of the company goals and requirements of the role so that you can ensure you position your skills in the right way.
The end of the interview is an opportunity to get the answers to any remaining questions – having some final questions to ask is generally good practice. Questions covering the company culture, the type of employee that generally succeeds in the company are good options. Also asking the interviewer about their own personal experiences, such as what brought them to the company and what keeps them there should also provide you with good insight. If it hasn’t been discussed in detail throughout the interview already, ask questions around future plans and scope for the role and what the organisation want to achieve. You can establish how this path supports your long-term career development and reaching your end career goal.
CSG Talent’s expert team of consultants take pride in partnering with senior-level professionals, taking the time to understand their aspirations, and assisting them throughout the interview process. We act as career guides, to make sure that our candidates secure the right opportunity. It’s important to make the right decision when selecting your next move to ensure it supports your career growth, personal development and the stage you are in your life.
If you’d like to get in touch with one of the consultants in your sector you can view them on our CSG Talent meet the team page.
Alternatively, we can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org / +44 (0) 333 323 2000