We ask Georgina Beavis, Huxley Sydney and Alexander Jenner, Computer Future Tokyo for their top interview technique tips. Our first article focuses on preparation.
A self-assessment will help you critically look at your skills, strengths, weaknesses, work ethic and interests. You’ll be able to examine your accomplishments, achievements and successes and highlight those that are particularly relevant to the role. It will also help you to think about what is important to you, the kind of role that makes you happy and whether or not this role fits into your career journey.
Make sure you research the company to understand their aims, objectives, challenges and values. Read their website, their annual report, and check their social media and news channels. This will help you learn about the culture of the organisation, the kinds of projects they work on and the types of people that thrive in the company. Check out your interviewer’s profile on LinkedIn so you can understand their background and any mutual interests that may help you build up a rapport.
It’s never advisable to try and wing an interview. Set up mock interviews with a friend or family member or interview yourself in front of the mirror. Use the job description and your self-assessment to come up with the questions you think you’ll be asked and include common questions like ‘What are your strengths and weaknesses? Or ‘What was your biggest achievement or challenge?’. Think of good examples you’re going to use to demonstrate the qualities and experience you think they want to see.
4. Plan your route
Look up your route the day before and allow yourself plenty of time to get there. It’s better to be early and go to a coffee shop to relax and review your notes. Aim to arrive no earlier than ten minutes before the interview is due to start and always ring the company or recruitment consultant if there are unforeseen travel difficulties and you’re going to be late. If this happens, apologise when you arrive and then forget about it, don’t let it fluster you or put you off.
5. Dress to impress
First impressions really count and most studies say you have around seven seconds so make a good one. You want to be remembered for what you said in an interview not what you wore. Dress for the job you aspire to and this will help people picture you in the role. Smart business wear usually means a suit and tie for men and suit or dress and jacket for women. Make sure all interview clothes are clean, tidy and ironed. If you have to travel any distance, choose an outfit that doesn’t crease easily.
6. Be ready to sell yourselfThe whole interview process is about selling yourself so make sure you’re ready with a well-rehearsed 30 second pitch if asked ‘What can you bring to this role?’. This is sometimes called the elevator pitch as it should be possible to deliver in the time it takes to ride in a lift. It isn’t the time to be humble but you should keep to the facts highlighting your strengths and what you think you can bring to the role ahead of other candidates.
7. Prepare some questions
Always have a couple of questions to ask the interviewer to show both your interest in and knowledge of the organisation. Ask questions specific to the company such as growth plans, topics you read about the company in the news or questions about the team structure or career progression. Avoid questions about benefits, working hours and holidays as these will all be confirmed at offer stage.