Today I would like to talk about how to prepare for an interview.
Often a client will suggest that the interview be an “informal chat over a quick coffee”. Even so, my job as a consultant is to make sure you are fully prepared and ready for anything!
There are different types of interviews but I always ask my candidates to prepare for a classic, competency based interview. By preparing this way it will allow the candidate to think about the role they are going for and then think about the most relevant/impactful examples from their previous experience.
I appreciate that the digital sector, like many, is incredibly incestuous, and candidates can often get pretty far in their career without being grilled through a tough interview process. The consequence of this could mean being underprepared when interviewing for your dream job. Regardless of whether you are told it’s just an informal chat, you really should prepare for a competency-based interview.
I’m acutely aware that most of my candidates are already working and that their time is precious but there is no dark art to interviews, simply a reasonable investment of time.
Do as much research as you can into the company: it’s structure, it’s size, and consume anything and everything you can get your hands on to try and gain a feel for the culture, employment brand, position in the market, key challenges, investments etc.
In fairness, most candidates do lengthy research on the companies they are interviewing with but how many go through their own background, experience & career in such detail?
Competency-based interviewing are questions designed to investigate your current or past experience, asking questions about a particular scenario. Failure to prepare results in you spending 30 minutes of the interview telling your entire life story (Chunk from the Goonies…..? I’m far too old!). Go through the spec with a fine tooth comb – what is the best example that demonstrates your experience/ability or skills in that area. Once you’ve identified the best example how do you articulate this? Practice how you present your “stories” of how you dealt with tricky stakeholders, take the interviewer on your journey.
Interviews are about impact; thorough preparation will set you apart from your competition. Not everyone communicates with ease, identifying key competencies and working on how you deliver these at interview also provides you with a huge amount of confidence before the interview even starts.
You are not going to get every job you apply for, but don’t fail by being underprepared before it even starts.
For every interview I arrange, I ask the candidates to use the following which I have found a very useful technique:
Situation – What is the situation you were faced with?
Task – What did you have to do?
Action – How did you go about completing the task?
Result – What was the outcome in that instance?
Lastly, when you talk about outcomes/results please be as specific as possible, make sure you are clear about what you delivered personally.
If you have any questions or would like further advice around interviews please do not hesitate to contact me either on the phone, 020 7265 7800 or via email.
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