You’ve worked for it. You’ve waited for it. And you’ve got it – the interview you really want for the job you know you’ll love. So you really want to show up with your A-game. And then it gets real, and it’s so easy to be blind-sided by ‘exam nerves’, worries about what you’ll be asked, and how you’ll come across. You know that making the right first impression is what really matters – but what does that mean, and how can you achieve this? Well, like most things in life, the way to conquer the fear associated with an interview is to ‘own it’. Take control and face it head on. And that means PREPARATION. Putting the hours in before your interview can make the difference between getting-by and getting to the top of the pile. So we asked our Consultants about their top tips and favourite advice when it comes to claiming interview success…
1. Know and Understand the Company
Yes, it’s common sense – but so often it gets overlooked: taking the time to really get under the skin of the employer’s business, to understand who they are, what they do and where they sit in the market. Of course the company’s website and social media pages are a start – but too many candidates stop there. You need to cast the net wider – talk to friends, read articles about the company, check the news, Google them. Twitter is your friend here too – you’ll be able to see the kind of conversations the company and its team members are having (you may pick up something topical you can mention in the interview to break the ice and demonstrate your interest). Before you know it, you’ll have a bank of information gathered – to help you handle your interview with confidence and prevent feelings of being out-of-your-depth.
2. Set the Tone
When you’re doing your research, be sure to ‘read between the lines’ and pick up on the tone and ‘personality’ of the company, so you can set your own tone and mirror their style. Are they traditional and formal, or a little more relaxed and chatty in their communication style? Again, social media and the blogs of people who work with the company can be a great guide for this.
3. Names, Names, Names…
Get a list of the people you will be meeting at the interview and do your best to learn about them too – their role, responsibilities, tenure with the company – even interests outside of work. With this depth of knowledge, you will be able to ask questions that are specific to each interviewer.
4. What Style of Interview?
Interview styles differ from company to company. Some include case study questions, or ‘what if?’ scenarios. Others will ask more conventional interview questions. It’s absolutely fine to ask your TTM Consultant about the format of your interview – so there are no surprises on the day.
5. Explore the Job Description
Invest a good amount of time going through the job description you’ve been given to understand exactly what the employee is looking for. Think about how your experience, skills, expertise and personality will make you a good match for the role. For each ‘responsibility’ and ‘outcome’ listed, come up with tangible examples of how you can meet the requirements – and be prepared to mention specific times in your career when your particular qualifications or experience came to the fore.
6. Prepare Answers to Questions
As the saying goes, ‘the questions are easy, it’s the answers that are difficult’. Well they don’t have to be if you prepare well – so write down the questions you think you will be asked and develop your answers around them. You don’t need fully-written answers – bullet points will do. Here are some pointers:
• You will always be asked a “what interests you about this role?” question. So think carefully about the skills, talents and experience you have which are most relevant and which make you a key fit for the job.
• Be ready with a good “tell us about yourself” answer. This is an important part of the interview and will happen early on – so craft your answer carefully.
• Don’t be afraid of questions like “what is your biggest weakness?” Just think of one thing you struggle with but which you are working hard to try and improve – and build your answer around this.
• When you have your bullet point answers, practice saying your full answers out loud. Say your answers in front of a mirror, or do mock interviews with friends or family. This will help you to feel confident and come across as polished.
• Face your fear – that question you are most nervous about! Assume it WILL be asked, and create a clear plan as to how you will address it. To help lower your anxiety about the question, say and repeat your answer out loud until you are totally comfortable with it.
7. Over to You
Make sure you have a few questions to ask when you are given the floor. Be sure they are thoughtful, and show you have done your homework on the company. But also use this time to get information on the practical stuff that can help you decide if you really want the job. For example, “what might a typical day in this position look like?”
8. Plan Your Look
Sort out your outfit for the day – and make sure it fits the bill. Keep your look basic and classic for companies with a business or business-casual dress code. Make sure your outfit is clean, pressed and well put-together. Check for little things like loose hems, polish your shoes and be sure your hands and nails are tidy and groomed. These things still DO get noticed!
9. Pack Your Bag
Check your bag or briefcase has everything you need. Along with all your usual essentials, be sure you have a notepad, a couple of working pens, and extra copies of your CV.
10. Remember the Big Little Things
Don’t forget your interview cheat list… be aware of your body language (eg. folded arms says you’re closed off)… and get lots of sleep the night before.
And remember – your consultant at TTM Healthcare Solutions is always here to help with any queries or concerns you might have. We’re 100% committed to making sure you and your potential have a great future.