Award-winning interview techniques
Interviews are obviously the key point in the recruitment process. It doesn’t matter how good you are at your job, if you don’t interview well it will limit your career choices.
We hope this short guide can help you. Before you even start the interview process you have to make sure that you:
- Know your CV inside out
- Know where you want to go to next in your career
- Know all about your potential employer
- Know the facts and figures about your previous employers
- Prepare the questions that you are going to ask about the potential employer
- Know what sort of interview styles you might be faced with
- Know how to manage those styles to ensure that you are offered the job.
- Brush up on the dos and don’ts.
Some of our younger candidates may have had a lot of practice at interviews whereas if you are a more experienced candidate you might not have been for an interview for 7 or 8 years.
Either way, spending a short time reading this guide and preparing for you interview will definitely bring you benefits.
If you haven’t got time to read all of our tips, it’s still worth reading the dos and don’ts of interviews.
Know your CV inside out
No matter which interview technique your potential employers use, they will want you to give evidence that you can actually do the job. Don’t forget that the interviewer doesn’t know a lot about you except for what is in your CV and that they will use the CV as a prompt to find out more about you and your abilities.
A winning technique is to be able to tell a story about every point you make on your CV. It’s called the SOAR technique and is great for dealing with what’s known as behavioural and competency-based interviews.
Find out more about the SOAR technique.
Know where you want to go to next in your career
Employers are interested in focused, driven, career-minded people. If you don’t know where you want to go in your career, or even what career you want to follow, the interviewer will not be impressed. Think this through before the interview and ensure that what you want fits in with what’s on offer at the employer. For instance, there is no point in saying that you want to be a regional manager if you are going for a job at a single-branch agency.
Know your potential employer
You’ve got to show respect for the organisation that’s interviewing you and the best way to do this is to know a lot about them. Fortunately, the internet now makes this a doddle. Check out their website and look to see how long they’ve been in business, what they specialise in, where their branches are located, who the main players are in the organisation, who their clients are and what their turnover and profits are.
Know the facts and figures about your previous employers
Refresh your memory on the facts and figures of your present and former employers. If you can’t remember much about a previous company will you be able to sell the new company effectively?
Prepare the questions that you are going to ask about the potential employer
- A detailed description of the position
- Reason the position is available
- Culture of the company
- Anticipated induction and training program
- Advanced training programmes available for those who demonstrate outstanding ability
- The sort of people who have done well
- Earnings of those successful people in their third to fifth years
- Company growth plans
- Most successful sectors / disciplines
- The next step
Know the interview style
Recruitment companies use a number of different interview styles. Those that have a prolonged interview process (3 – 4 interviews) will probably use a behavioural or competency-based style, although the initial interview with the branch manager or senior consultant may be more ad hoc in style.
It doesn’t take too much effort to learn to recognise the styles. If you can do this, you can adapt your interview technique to the style demanded and come out winning.
- Behavioural or competency-based
- Ad hoc
Read our interview style guide.
Manage the styles and get the offer
Putting a little bit of work in prior to the interview really will bring you the benefit of many more job offers. At the end of the day, you’re in recruitment and the employer will want to see you ask for the job, close them down so that they offer you the job, (or at least get offered the next interview).
Concentrate on getting the job first and then consider if you really want it later. Unless you definitely do NOT want the job, tell the interviewer how keen you are on the position.
Ask if there is any reason why you would not be offered the position / the next interview. If the interviewer says that they need to think it over, ask them what it is that they need to think over, address those points again and try to close them down again.
If think you are being too pushy, don’t. The interviewer will think that if you are keen to sell yourself you will be keen to sell their company.
“Natasha recently placed me in my role at Robert Walters. From the first telephone call between Natasha and I, she listened well and fully understood what I wanted. Natasha throughout the process always went the extra- miles and was professional and friendly. Within 2 weeks, Natasha had arranged many interviews for myself and secured me a fantastic new job in a great company with a payrise! I would highly recommend Natasha to friends and companies. I can honestly say after all the long phone calls and dedication to finding me the right role within the right company Natasha is a friend as well as business acquaintance. Thanks Tash!”Alannah Maggs - Associate Consultant