How to fully prepare for your interview!
Stage one -
Research the company:
Find out as much as you possibly can do about the company. Google them, find out some of the latest company news, annual reports, website information and anything else you can get your hands on. This demonstrates resourcefulness as well as enthusiasm and sincere interest – this is also so much more powerful than just knowing the minimum level of information. If it's a close match between you and one other candidate it can make all the difference.
Understand your CV:
Know yourself, your strengths and weaknesses and achievements. You should try and plan for what questions may be asked during the interview as well as providing examples to backup answers. These are typically for competency based interviews (usually lead by the Human Resources department).
First impressions count:
You should always be dressed correctly for an interview. This is your first opportunity to impress the client and get off to a great start. Research the company and figure out what the dress code is for the current employees. Aim to mirror that image and you will make a great first impression.
You should have previously planned your route and given yourself plenty of time to get to the interview. Please plan for worst case scenario i.e. traffic jams, nowhere to park and so on. Aim to get to the interview at least 20-30 minutes early. If there is a remote chance of being late call a member of Understanding Recruitment so we can make the client aware.
Stage two -
Smile and offer a firm handshake:
As well as being a strong cultural and technical fit it's also good to portray yourself as someone who would be a real asset to work with in the office. Always offer a firm handshake when you meet interviewers. Even make an effort to get on with reception whilst you're waiting as this feedback does filter through. If an interviewer is unsure about you, they may well poll others you passed in the corridor or briefly met. It may not be fair, but it is common practice.
It is important to show the utmost respect to everyone you meet throughout the interview process from the office junior through to the CTO. Everyone you meet will be part of the decision making process.
The most effective interviews are those where an interactive two-way conversation prevails. Make sure you answer the question directly without any rambling. Each answer should be no longer than 1-2 minutes.
Communicate concisely and listen carefully:
Thoughtful and concise communication is the key to successful interviewing. Listen very closely to the interviewer and don't interrupt their question as this can be extremely frustrating. Also use positive body language.
Stage three -
There's nothing more powerful than backing up an answer to a question with an example of how you demonstrated that particular capability/characteristic. That's why as part of your preparation it is important to try and predict some of the likely questions and plan out your responses with strong examples (please see later section on questions to be prepared for)
If you're interested in the job, tell them:
Too many candidates either forget or don't let the client know at the end of an interview exactly how interested they are about the opportunity. If you're keen on the position, it's crucial to express your high level of commitment. Don't be afraid to ask what the next stage would be and whether they would want to be informed if you receive another offer in the meantime (this may well speed up the process).
Don't blag, you will eventually be found out:
We've already discussed the importance of being prepared and researched for the interview which means that there should be very few hidden surprises. However, if you do get that "difficult question" that you're struggling on, don't blag an answer, be honest, and say you don't know, but it's an area you would be keen to learn and explore further.
Asking a few questions during or at the end of an interview can be a really positive sign to an interviewer plus answer any lingering queries you may have about the role. Make sure these questions are well thought out and relevant but are also of interest rather than purely for the sake of asking a question.
If you are fully prepared then you can relax... you've got this - Good luck!
Written by Paul Marks.