Key Interview Tips from Fluid
Great news! – You have applied for a role and now you have an interview request.
Until you attend the interview you won’t really know too much about the actual job itself other than the basic points listed in the advert, or if you are lucky enough to have one in advance, a job description. However, a job description can only tell you so much. It doesn’t tell you anything about the company culture, future career prospects, flexibility the employer provides, training and development opportunities etc. You may find out at the interview that this role turns out to be your dream job. Don’t blow your opportunity by not having prepared thoroughly.
- Use your Recruiter – They are here to help. They will have worked with this client before, they should know a lot more about the organisation, the hiring manager, the likely interview style, why the role is available, and the challenges and opportunities associated with the position.
- Truly listen to the question asked, don’t assume, and then go off on a tangent. If you don’t fully understand the question, make sure you ask for clarification. Take your time when providing your answer also. If you rush, you may not give the best response you were aiming for. Take a pause for a couple of seconds and compose yourself first.
- Make sure to come across as enthusiastic and engaged. Show you are genuine in your interest for this specific opportunity, not just wanting any job. Everyone can get nervous in interviews and hiring managers appreciate this, but make sure you hold eye contact and talk to all interviewers in the room, not solely focus on one person. Try to smile!
- Dress to impress – unless advised otherwise wear a suit, even if the dress code of the company you’re visiting is casual. Ensure your personal presentation (shoes / suit / shirt / tie / hair) is perfect. You can’t be too smart for an interview, but you can be too casual. Play it safe!
- Don’t lie. Answer all questions truthfully and honestly. You do need to promote your abilities and sell yourself, however there is no point getting a job and then being found out on day 1. Where you don’t have the experience to date, instead demonstrate what skills you do have that are transferable and your willingness to learn.
- When using examples from your previous experience, make sure to keep them recent and relevant, ideally within the last five years. Try not to use the same scenario for different questions – make sure to refresh your memory prior to the interview so you have several potential examples ready.
Check the location before the day and the time it will take to travel. You must ensure you arrive on time. This means early but not too early. Late arrival is never excusable, you need to make sure you are not rushed and have plenty of time to find the office, regardless of any traffic issues etc. If it is a video interview, check in advance your microphone and camera are working perfectly and you have a location ready where you won’t be disturbed.
Research the Company – Not just the first page of their website. Have they been in the news recently, can you access their Annual Report, do you really know what they do and where they operate? Hiring managers like to see someone has taking the opportunity to prepare in advance, this will give you a competitive advantage. You can also use Company Directories, Company Brochures and LinkedIn when looking for information.
Think in advance about the likely questions that could be asked and have examples already prepared that you can use. Promote your abilities, what sets you apart from others applying for the same position? Don’t just answer with Yes or No, expand on your answers to demonstrate your experience and abilities.
Have questions prepared to ask them too. This isn’t about how many holidays or sick days they provide. Questions should be about showing your interest in the position, the company and the team you will be working with.
Good questions to ask in an interview:
A key hint is to be smart! – By asking smart questions you are again demonstrating your capability, showing your interest and allowing the interviewer to clearly identify you as a potential hire. A simple question you may want to ask can be when you can expect to hear back, however the below can hopefully give you more of an idea of other potential questions to ask:
- How do you see this role developing over the next two years?
- What are the company’s growth plans?
- What are the 3 most important things you are expecting this person to deliver in year 1?
- How do you like to manage?
- What are the biggest challenges to be faced in the first 6 months?
- What is the company culture like?
- What new initiatives or technologies have recently been implemented?
- What is your policy for learning and development?
Don’t forget the interview is a two-way process. Think also about what really you need to know to help you decide if this is the right opportunity for you.
Take direction from the interviewer, are they taking a formal or conversational approach, are they trying to focus on technical aspects or keeping it high level? Use them as a guide.
Don’t worry if you do not know an answer, or don’t have the direct experience that is being asked for. It is best to be honest and show a willingness to learn. The purpose of an interview is to help assess what you know and the currently gaps that require training and development.
DO NOT say anything negative about your current employer or reasons for leaving. However true it may be. It is best to focus on the future and the new challenges you are seeking. Although you may need to give some form of explanation keep it brief and professional.
Try not to discuss money unless directly asked. This should be of secondary importance to the right role and organisation. Your recruiter can handle this for you at later date if both parties decide they are keen. Often it is easier to negotiate on your behalf once a client has confirmed you are their preferred choice.
Try and ensure you answer with “I did” rather than “we did” – The interviewer wants to know what you are capable of, not what your team is capable of. It seems basic, but this is a very common mistake that people make in interviews.
As with an interviewer not just wanting Yes and No answers, make sure you don’t talk too much either, remember the question that was asked. Keep your answer succinct and on point, expanding to demonstrate your skill set where needed.
It is essential that once the interview finishes that you call your recruiter and provide feedback. Do you like the role, the progression opportunities, the location, the company, the culture, the team etc. Does it seem a good fit and would you be interested in the next stage? It is also an opportunity for your recruiter to gather information for questions you didn’t get a chance to ask.
We will always provide you with feedback from the client’s side whether it is positive or negative. Feedback is a great learning opportunity and even if not successful this time round, you can use it to help secure yourself your perfect role next time.
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