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Interview notes for Candidates

12 Mar 2019

These notes are likely to be most beneficial to candidates from entry level up to junior management, giving them an overview of how to prepare and what to expect from the interview process.

Interview Notes For Candidates 

  • Background Research :  Ensure that you have a good understanding about what the organization does and what the job involves from the job description and having a thorough look at the company’s website.  It may be beneficial to find out about the interviewer you are meeting – for example, by viewing them on “LinkedIn”.
  • If the company provides information on their clients you may like to find out more about those clients especially if you are involved in a client-facing role.
  • Basic but essential – Why do you want to work for this company ? Also, why do you want this job?   Consider what appeals to you and how closely the company and job role match your skills and experience.  Consider why the company should hire you for the job.
  • The Job Description :  Write down some questions after reading the job description.  This could be about the team you are working in, or the extent of responsibility, or the proportion of time spent working on different tasks. If there is anything abbreviated on the job description you are unsure about then “Google” it.  You can raise questions with us first if you are unsure.
  • Finally on preparation…   If after having done your preparation you have any concerns then raise them with us before you go to the interview.

 

Going to the Interview

  • Dress code – for most interviews a business like - smart/ casual contemporary look is now appropriate e.g. dress, skirt/trousers shirt.
  • Take your information pack including job description, ID, CV and any notes you have made to the interview.  If you are sent an application form complete this, ideally on your PC then print and sign a copy to take with you.
  • Directions :  Ensure that you know exactly where you are going and who to report to and allow plenty of time to get there and to park/ walk to Reception.

 

Interview Styles

 Interview techniques and styles vary enormously. We will try to give you an idea of what to expect:

  • A typical interview will be an exchange of information where the interviewer asks you questions about yourself and your experience; your strengths and your weaknesses. They will often explain more about the role and the company or answer any questions you may have. You need to answer questions truthfully but think about ways to always project yourself positively. Often your strengths can also be a weakness.  For example, you may be a perfectionist and that can be great but you need to know when to leave a task and move on to another.  Turning a weakness into a strength has become a bit of cliché so if asked about your weaknesses consider what you have worked on to improve and use that to demonstrate that you can take responsibility for your personal development.

You do need to think about your strengths in particular and make sure you put these across in the context of the job. 

  • Competency (Behavioural) based interviews are popular with employers, particularly in a more formal or corporate environment.  Research has shown that this recruitment and selection method is a more reliable and accurate form of assessment than more traditional interviews.  The basic principle is that past behavior/performance is a more reliable way of predicting future behavior/performance.  You will know if the interview is a Competency Based Interview if you are asked for real-life examples of what you have done in a specific situation. 

Examples of questions :

  • What is your biggest achievement in your current role?
  • How do you go about building effective working relationships with your team?
  • Give me an example of a process you have improved?
  • When has a colleague let you down and how did you react?

We suggest that you consider the skills and competencies necessary to do the job and then relate them back to your past experience. Consider specific examples about what and how you achieve results in your current or past role.  Do call us if you need further help with interview preparation.

 

  • Interview Questions relating to the company, job or industry these can often catch out candidates who have not thought about their application sufficiently! For example, you may be asked your opinion on a topical point. This could be as diverse as asking for your views on a current advertising campaign - if you are going to an advertising agency; or on current financial/business news if you are going for a research role relating to this.  This is why you must do some preparation so that you are able to respond confidently to most reasonable questions.  However, remember the interviewer is not trying to catch you out just confirm your suitability and genuine interest.
  • Tests and Presentations can also form part of the interview process. This could include an on-line psychometric test or a short presentation at the final interview stage.
  • Questions about salary – A guide may be on the job description. This is best discussed with us before the interview as we will try to give you a realistic guide of what the hiring company may be willing to pay for your skills and experience and in relation to your current earnings. 
  • Unrelated work questions you should not be asked questions which imply you may be discriminated against. However, it can be good to gain an understanding of a candidate’s interests and out of work life. It can help build a rapport, ensures that the team fit will work and establishes what your priorities are and where work fits into those. 
  • Closing the interview if the interviewer leave the next step unclear you may like to verify with them what happens next. This is particularly important if it is an interview for a sales job.