Tina Coy, ACCA, Affiliated CIPD, Managing DirectorInterview
Research the Company
It is so important to research the company’s history and be able to talk knowledgeably and comfortable about this at interview. It also helps you prepare stock answers as you can tailor your experience and skills to the company profile. Use what every medium is available to you like their website, any press publications and networking, you know or someone close to you might know people who has worked or working in the company. Also use LinkedIn to gain a better understanding of their culture.
- Website – 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.
- Press – Use the national press and specialist publications to your advantage
- Networking – 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.
Tip 1 !
– 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!
Tip 2 !
– Find out the exact location of the interview. If you are unsure, phone the company beforehand and get precise directions.
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 interviewer’s 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.
First impressions last!
- When you are going into an interview, even in our fast-paced social media fuelled world, you need to dress to impress, try and turn up suited and booted. The first impression you make on a potential employer is incredibly important. From the moment, you arrive in to the premises, from security to reception how you present yourself, being courteous and engaging will be how your potential employer will form a view of you and on what you’re wearing and how you carry yourself. Regardless of the work environment, it’s important to dress professionally for a job interview. This will help guarantee that you make a great first impression.
- Regarding interview attire for both men and women, all clothes should fit well and not have any stains, if the workplace or the job is less formal, the dress code may be as well. If you’re not sure what to wear, it’s fine to check with the person scheduling the interview. However, it’s still important to dress to impress. Your clothes should help you appear confident, professional and look like you can fit into the organisation.
- If you have lots of piercings, leave some of your rings at home (simple earrings only)
- Please cover tattoos if possible
- While you can bring your mobile phone, do ensure to turn it off or put it in airplane mode during your interview
- Get your clothes ready the night before, so you don’t have to spend time getting them ready on the day of the interview
- Polish your shoes, it is the second thing people look at when they are looking at you
- Your appearance affects hiring decisions and plays a major role. Those who are interviewing you need to be able to visualise you in that position they are trying to fill and when you make the effort it not only shows that you’re taking the opportunity seriously, that you are eager to make a good impression, and that you’d fit in nicely within the company culture.
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