Preparing for Interviews – A Guide for Candidates

I will be the first to admit… interviews are most certainly quite the challenge. And with so much at stake, we understand that nerves are bound to be high. Your dream job is nothing but a ‘successful-interview’ away, and you can already picture yourself sat at your new desk in the most perfect office. But the prospect of this ‘successful-interview’ is intimidating, uncertain, and is perhaps making you want to crawl up into a ball, or bury yourself in the sand… forever. But fear not. Our consultants, funnily enough, have an abundance of experience and a wealth of knowledge when it comes to interview guidance. And, luckily for us, they have inundated my inbox with their proven tips for interview preparation.

Your prospective interview is make or break, so it is important to leave an outstanding lasting impression to ‘seal the deal’, or so they say. Our recruiters stress the importance of planning and preparation when approaching an interview as roles are competitive thanks to competition being high. It is important that you really prove to your interviewer that you are their only option for this role, the New Chapter way!…

Your presentation speaks volumes. What you wear to your interview will have a HUGE impact on the way you are perceived. It sets a lasting tone and allows your interviewer to gauge your character. Whilst we absolutely encourage individuality, it’s a good idea to check out the company’s dress code prior to your interview to avoid any awkward ‘ensemble’ moments when you arrive. Dress codes have evolved greatly, making it more difficult to make sure you are right on the money with your outfit choice. We have seen our clients expect candidates to be suited and booted, with others promoting a more causal work vibe. Your consultant should be able to help you identify the most suitable option, but if in doubt… we recommend to play it safe. The bottom line: regardless of what you wear, make sure you present yourself well. Be real, but most importantly be yourself. A smile wouldn’t go amiss too. After all, you’re never fully dressed without it.

According to our recruiters, when preparing for an interview, research is key. Research the company; their website, annual report, trade brochures for example. Talk to customers, visit supermarkets, even see how their products are performing in the category they operate in. Do everything and anything (within reason) to ensure you are fully clued up on the business but most importantly, how your skills and experience are the perfect fit for it. Divisional Manager Emma Forster urges candidates to focus on the specifics. Really nail down precise examples of when you have met the role’s requirements in line with the job specification. Your consultant can help you with this too so don’t be afraid to ask.

Alongside the company, research your interviewer and your competition. Find your interviewer on LinkedIn and work out any common ground you may have. Bring this knowledge with you to your interview so that you can chat away with ease. This will aid the flow of conversation and will surely settle any nerves. Turn the tables and ask them about their background. Why they joined the company would be a good start, or even discussing why they love working there. Prompting engaging conversation will show your interviewer that you are a truly good fit for their company. 

It is true what they say… seeing is believing. Consider putting together a brag file or portfolio of your own work to show your interviewer what you really are capable of. Marketing candidates, we’re looking at you. Non-marketing candidates, other examples of work could include company league tables, testimonials or even thankyou letters from customers. If you are proud of it, chances are your interviewer will be impressed by it!

Careful planning too would not go amiss prior to, and during your interview. The meaning of this is threefold. Firstly, prepare for objections. Your interviewer is going to question your experience and relevance for this role and of course this is a challenge, but a challenge you absolutely can complete! Unleash your inner lawyer and fight your case: you are perfect for this role. Case closed. Secondly, prepare some pre-planned questions to ask your interviewer. These should be typed up and not hand written on paper. Get a real feel for the company and show off your interest with some interesting questions. 

Finally, in terms of preparation, Head of Consumer Rachael Carver suggests quite simply to establish exactly why you want to work for the company you have applied for. Make sure you express this in your interview to prove to the company that you really want this job, if not you risk coming across uninterested and therefore second best to a barrel of other perhaps more enthusiastic candidates. 

Close the meeting with a question. ‘What is the next stage from here?’ could work quite nicely. And follow up with an email to everyone you have met, thanking them for their time. You should also reiterate your level of interest in the role. Straight after your interview, give your consultant a call and let them know how the meeting went. This is useful information to feed back to the client, and helps us form a good understanding of how the process is going. Ultimately have faith in yourself as you await the decision, relax, and keep your fingers crossed for the good news!

If you’re ready for a new chapter in your career give us a call on 0800 245 700 for a confidential chat and for any extra interview advice… you know where we are!Report this

  • Share this post

Leave a Comment