5 Simple Steps to a Successful Interview
It’s always an exciting but daunting feeling when you get invited to attend an interview. You might have interviewed a number of times or this may be the first interview you’ve had to do for a number of years which is even more of a reason to nail it and give yourself the best chance of securing the role. Having conducted and attended many interviews in my career, I personally believe that the course to really nailing that interview can be broken down into 5 aspects:
1. Do your research
To me, this is the absolute, number one aspect to doing well in an interview. Prepare, prepare, prepare. This might sound silly, but make sure you know which role you are interviewing for! If you are actively seeking a new role, the likelihood is that you’ve applied for a number of positions so make sure you confirm what the role is, go through the job description and really understand what the company is looking for. As well as going over the job description, also prepare by knowing you who are meeting for the interview. You’ll put yourself in a much better position by knowing a little bit about who is conducting the meeting: what sort of background do they have, how long have they been at the company, what are their roles. The most important aspect to research (which might sound obvious) is the actual organisation for whom you are interviewing. There isn’t a worse feeling than when an interviewer asks what you know about their business and you have no answer, or, you get the answer completely wrong. Make sure you know what they do, where they have offices, their client base, any examples or case studies of recent work they’ve done, who their competitors are and if they have them readily available, their company values. Doing your research shows you care about the role and business you are interviewing for and also increases your credibility in terms of being organised and understanding your subject matter.
2. Know your numbers
This is quite a broad topic but make it relevant to your skill set and industry- if you work in recruitment, make sure you know your billing history, the number of roles you’ve recruited, the number of roles you manage and any other figures you feel are important. If you’re in a non-sales role, it’s still important to have facts and figures relating to your performance and position that you can refer to when talking about the successes you’ve had in your career. These could be the number of projects and clients you manage, the ROI following the completion of a project, the performance results of a social campaign or the numbers of a budget that you have to personally manage. Most people have watched the awkward moments on Dragon’s Den when contestants are asked to go through their figures and they haven’t got a clue- make sure that’s not you!
3. First Impressions
Again this might sound obvious but, DON’T BE LATE! Aim to get to the interview 30 minutes before you are due. This doesn’t mean sitting in reception for 30 minutes but it does give you a buffer to get to the venue, maybe grab a quick coffee/water and relax before heading to the interview. Quite simply, arriving late for an interview gives a bad impression so make sure you give yourself plenty of time. Dress code is another one that you need to get right- if your interview was set up by a recruitment consultant then ask them what the office dress code is like and if you’re dealing directly with the company, ask them. It’s important to know whether you should be wearing a suit or going more smart casual. Some businesses have a more relaxed culture and therefore smart trousers and a shirt would be better than wearing a full suit, but find out- if a candidate asked me, I’d be positive as it shows you want to be prepared. Body language accounts for a lot in an interview- make sure you smile and keep eye contact!
4. Promote yourself
There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance but in an interview, you need to promote yourself and the good work you’ve done. After all, you want them to hire you, so give them a reason to! Make sure you’ve got lots of examples of the work you’ve done; this can be projects that you’ve completed successfully, how you’ve worked as part of a team, what you’ve contributed to a company, any key achievements. All of these can be backed up with numbers and figures as mentioned earlier but it’s important that you promote how good you are at your job- don’t rely on the interviewer seeing that from your CV. I always think it’s important to give examples of projects/situations that haven’t gone very well but to then talk about what you’ve learned from those and how you would do things differently next time- everyone makes mistakes but what is key, is how you overcome them and make sure they don’t happen again. As well as promoting yourself with regards to work; companies and interviewers also want to get to know you as a person/individual. Therefore, talk about any specific successes achievements you’ve had outside of work and how you did it.
5. Ask questions
At the end of an interview, it’s fairly common for the interviewer to ask if you’ve got any questions. Make sure you do! Have some questions prepared across a couple of different areas- ask about the sort of projects coming up, any challenges they face, why they enjoy working there, how do they evaluate success, what does your career progression look like, what are the next steps following the interview. Having questions not only shows you’re prepared but also shows that ultimately you’re interested in the role and the company.
The biggest thing about interviewing is to remain calm; don’t forget, the people you are meeting are human as well! Keep calm, be prepared and the job should be yours! If you want any advice then feel free to get in touch: JB@redcat-digital.com
Written by Jamie Burley, Former Head of Agency
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