09 Jan 2016
Your CV may have secured you an interview but now interview success is all up to you. With interviews, the key is to do your research and be fully prepared for all the interview will throw at you. For our best advice, read on.........
For more, check out Brightwater's Top 10 Interview Questions
Research the Company
It is very important to research the company’s history and be able to talk knowledgeably about this at interview. It also helps you prepare stock answers as you can tailor your experience and skills to what the company needs and discuss it with the interviewers.
- Familiarise yourself with the company history and structure. The site should also show any events, awards or sponsorship deals as well as new areas of development.
- Use the national press and specialist publications to your advantage. For example, if you’re going to be working in a legal firm as a HR Manager, you can look at the “Law Gazette” to see if they have any mergers coming up or if they have any special cases that involve taking on more staff etc.
- Professional Institutes
- If you are a member of a professional body such as the Marketing Institute, they may be able to give you some information on the company itself.
- Find out if anyone you know is working there or has worked there in the past. They can prove a valuable source of information and can also give you details of what the company culture is like. Use professional social media sites such as LinkedIn to gain a better understanding of their culture.
Research the Role
- Understand the role
- If you turn up for an interview with little understanding of the role, it will not go down well. Nor will you be considered for any other role within that company.
- Go the extra mile
- It’s up to you to get extra information on the role. Talk to people who are working in similar roles – they may be able to give you pointers on aspects you haven’t considered. Look up contacts on “LinkedIn” who have similar roles and see what their profile says about their responsibilities.
- Where the role fits
- Find out where the role fits into the organisation. For example, if you are going for an accountancy role, find out how big the finance department is and what part your role would play.
Research the Interviewers
- Line Managers vs HR Managers
- Find out who will be interviewing you. This a matter of courtesy and will also give you an insight into the line of questioning in the interview itself e.g. an interview with the HR manager when you are working in finance means you'll be asked generic questions whereas, if you are being interviewed by the person the role directly reports to means more technical questions.
- Using Recruiters
- They will be able to brief you on the interviewers, their job titles and what the likely questions will be.
HOT TIP #1! Documentation – Make sure you bring all your documentation with you including a copy of your CV. This is not for you to refer to during the interview but it is just in case there is more than one interviewer and they are looking for a copy. Being able to hand them a copy will impress them!
HOT TIP #2! Punctuality – Find out the exact location of the interview. If you are unsure, phone the company beforehand and get precise directions. Do a practice run beforehand especially if you are relying on public transport – never ever be late!
Prepare Sample Answers
- Practicing sample interview questions
will give you an advantage in that you will become more familiar with your own skills and experience. Hearing questions that you are familiar with will also boost your confidence during the interview. Go through past achievements and qualifications. This will enable the interviewer to measure your past successes against their needs.
- Most interviews are competency based
which means that employers are looking for quantifiable information. For example if it’s a managerial position, they may ask “give me an example of where you showed initiative during a crisis in work” and you need to be able to give a well thought out answer.
Prepare Sample Questions
- Always make sure you have a few questions to ask
the interviewers during the interview as well. There is always the awkward part at the end where you will be asked “Have you any questions for us?” and the people who smile and say no thanks will not be asked back for a 2nd interview. Asking questions will help enhance the interviewers perception of you as someone who is interested in the company, and would therefore make a valuable employee. Again all of your research on the role and company will help on this.
- If all your planned questions have been answered
, simply say “I did have a question about X but you have answered it for me”. You can ask for contact details in case another question occurs to you after the interview. This shows initiative on your part.
For further advice on successful interviewing, talk to your Brightwater Consultant by contacting our office on:
Belfast | +44 28 90 325 325 | belfast@brightwaterNI.com