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11 November 2018
A job interview is double-sided. It is as much about you interviewing the company as it is the company interviewing you. Each candidate is different and there are a number of interview techniques out there that are used, but, consistent across the board are a few key points and qualities that every interviewer is seeking. We have broken them down for you below to assist in your next interview.
They Want To Like You
Everyone wants to work with people they like. That’s not rocket science. So, it is important that during this initial relationship period you make a great impression. Be enthusiastic, smile, make eye contact, sit forward in your chair and show genuine interest. Your qualifications and experience are important, but they have to want to work with you also.
Preferably not with a Hawaiian sequined shirt, but something memorable. The reality is, interviewers often meet more than one candidate for a role, and in most cases they are one after the other, so be sure to leave an impression.
This can be in the form of your clothing (a pink checkered shirt, well ironed of course), a unique hobby or travel destination or ideally an outstanding achievement or result within your previous role. We have all done it – you know, referred to someone as “the guy with the short pants” or “the girl who was a childhood chess champion” – so just ensure that you are remembered in a positive way.
Curb The Negativity
An interview is not the space to voice your gripes towards your current employer, co-workers or customers. Remember that you are being interviewed to represent their business so keep it positive. Although you want to be remembered, you certainly don’t want it to be for all the negative comments or gossip.
It is likely that you will be asked why you are leaving your current employer, so be prepared and diplomatic about your answer. Try and put a positive spin on things. If you despise your current role because you are underpaid and under-appreciated, perhaps present it as “seeking further challenges and career progression”. It is important to express why you are excited for a new opportunity, not why you are leaving your current role. The employer is most interested in what they will receive from you.
What Matters To Them
Questions questions questions. It is highly likely there will be a lot of questions during your interview. This is the easiest way for an interviewer to determine if you will be suitable for the position they have on offer but as mentioned earlier, it is as much about you interviewing them as it is them interviewing you. This is an excellent opportunity for you to express your understanding of the role, display your communication skills and show genuine interest in the business.
Be sure to ask question about their expectations of you, what the attributes of a top performer are and how you will be evaluated. In turn, the interviewer will answer these hypothetical questions with you in the role, which is exactly where what you want to be.
But What About My Lunch Break?
So we say ask questions, but make sure they are appropriate work-related questions. Yes, a positive work-life balance is important, but there is a time and place to establish the possibility of leaving early on Wednesdays for football training or to collect the kids. During your first interview, you are being evaluated to see if you are the right person for the job, so until that is established pump the breaks on the flexi-working-time-style questions.
I Want The Job
Obviously you are at the interview because you are interested in the role, but until you have heard what they have to say, you don’t know all that the job entails. Show enthusiasm but try and hold off from saying “I want the job” until you know everything about it.
You are expected to have done your research. One of the first questions you are asked is likely to be, “What do you know about the company?” – make sure you have prepared your answer and be sure to dig a little deeper than the front page of their website. Keep it positive – mention industry awards, recent project wins or what you have heard about the company’s reputation within the industry. Social media platforms are a useful place to collect this type of information and will prove you have a genuine invested interest in the company culture.
Search the names of all the interviewers on LinkedIn, it will give you an idea of their background in addition to any connections you might have in common, such as groups, alumni or networks in common. It would equip you with pockets full of information that can be used an as an effective ice-breaker.
In some instances, you may be interviewed by a line manager or your future direct report but sometimes the panel of interviewers may include upper management or HR personnel that may include more behavioral style questions during an interview. It is always a good idea to be prepared for these types of questions. Listed below are a few examples for you:
As always, remember to keep the answers positive and avoid negative comments towards your current or previous employers.
I Still Want the Job
Ok, so the interview is wrapping up and you have a pretty good indication of whether you want the job or not. In many cases, this is after a second interview and once you have had the opportunity to establish all the nitty gritty points that you were curious about. Now it is your opportunity to express that you want the job, and more importantly, why you want the job. Let them know what you are excited about, what you will bring to the table and what they can expect from you from day one.
Genuine Follow Up
Of course the ‘thank you for your time’ emails are appropriate but a little generic, you want to ensure that your follow up contains quality comments following up on the conversation that you had during the interview. Perhaps you spoke about industry news or were enlightened by a comment or recommendation made by the interviewer. It might be even worthwhile sharing web articles that you think might of interest to the interviewer or of value to the business. Ultimately, this is an ideal space to show that you listened closely to what they had to say and how thoroughly you follow up.
There is a lot to take on and remember when heading into an interview, but these are just guidelines. Each interview will be different and some will go better than others. Above all of the points listed above, remember to be confident. You are representing yourself in an interview so be sure to put your best foot forward.