THE TEN THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW TO WIN AT JOB INTERVIEWS:
Job Interviews! It seems we’ve had plenty of CV success in the Coaching for Geeks Community, and also some job interview success, but not as much as we want… so let’s recap!
1. Do Your Research Before The Job Interview
Almost everything that follows hinges on this. DO YOUR RESEARCH.
Get on the company website. Understand its structure, objectives, market, products, services, competitors, and challenges. See if there is any news or blogs talking about the company, see if sites like Glassdoor have any reviews – remember though that the most likely to leave a review is a disgruntled ex employee rather than a happy current one.
Knowledge is power so find out what you can, and if it’s through a recruitment agency ask them for as much info as they can provide.
2. Know How Your Skills Match The Job
This is REALLY IMPORTANT. The employer thinks you have what they’re looking for, it’s up to you to prove it. Go over your CV/resume and have a good hard think about your previous roles – what did you do? How did you do it? What did you bring to the company? And how does all that fit in with the potential new employer and the job description?
Pull out key points, examples, and stories. Look at the problems that the interviewing organisation might have and find ways you have solves problems or overcome similar challenges. Tell a story with a beginning, middle and end – what was the situation, and how did you save the day?
3. Dress For The Job
It’s ok to ask if you’re not sure. If you don’t know for sure, then err on the professional business side of things.
If it’s business attire then iron your clothes, make sure there are no stray threads or missing buttons, polish your shoes.
Your research should inform your choice of clothes and a trendy Shoreditch startup will likely demand a different approach to a blue chip city firm.
4. Be Presentable
Get a haircut, trim your nails, trim your beard (if you have one), get to bed early, moisturize. Don’t try out some new fake tan – what if you react badly or it goes streaky? Nothing new, nothing fussy, but look sharp.
5. Be Prepared
Prepare your clothes and bag the night before. Have spare copies of your CV/resume, a pad with notes (we’ll come back to this), a pen, examples of you work if appropriate. Plan your route and have a backup ready in case of roadworks, car breakdown/flat tyre or the dreaded London Underground signal failure.
Make sure your phone is charged, you know exactly where you’re going and who you’re meeting, that you have cash, can get food, get it al planned so there’s no fuss or stress the day of the interview.
Remember to arrive a few minutes early – no more than 15 minutes or you’ll appear unusual, and not in a good way. Go sit in a nearby café and review your CV and notes if you’re early.
6. Your Notes For The Job Interview – Make The Right Ones
You’re allowed to have notes prepared. It’s not an exam, you’re not cheating, it shows that you have put the time in and are diligent. But what to write?
The name and address of the organisations, the time you’re supposed to be there, the name of the person you’re meeting, a telephone number in case you get lost, and some prepared questions/key points.
7. Prepare Some Questions
See our post on the best questions to ask. Have some ready. Write them in your notebook. Better to memorise them and ask them in a way which shows you’ve been listening, but they’re there as a backup in case you need them. Here’s exactly the questions to ask during a job interview to know if you will enjoy the role.
8. Answer The Damn Question
Listen. Really listen to understand what’s being asked. Then answer the question fully, using examples from your own work experience where relevant.
If they ask the question again, you did not answer it. Take your time, think about it, and answer the question you were asked.
9. Keep Your Job Interview Answers Short
Don’t drone on for a few minutes, think of the answer as an advert for you and what you know. If they want to know more you can expand on it and go into more detail. Let them set the pace and explore what they want to know. If you have something you really want to make sure they know, then do make sure to work it into an answer – but don’t shoehorn it in and don’t go on for too long.
A verbal minute is quite a long time.
Try answering some standard interview questions and time yourself.
10. Relax! It’s Just A Conversation
A relaxed yet attentive interviewee is a dream for most interviewers. A flowing conversation that goes back and forth, clear and concise examples and answers, great questions that make me think before replying, and a friendly and polite manner are what I want.
Different employers have different approaches and so your approach will need to shift slightly – of course you did your research so you have an idea of what to expect, and now you are going to smash it.
10 steps to winning any interview and if you want some practice, get in touch to try our 1-2-1 interview coaching service out.
Go get ‘em!
Robin Bates – I’ll put you through your paces at a practice job interview