Interviewing for a job you particularly want can be a nerve racking experience! Even the most confident of individuals is likely to experience some kind of nerves before a meeting with a key decision maker. After all their decision based on your performance during an interview could directly affect your career choices.
Interviewing for some people comes naturally but for others it can be a daunting experience. Your true ability to perform effectively in the role you are interviewing for can unfortunately be muted by your performance at interview on the day. The whole process of selection in some companies has become a science and potential candidates may find they have to navigate a whole series of competency based scenario questions, psychometric tests, on-line skills testing, case studies and in some cases group exercises.
But despite the increased dependence on these decision-making tools there are a few factors that remain constant. People buy people and research and preparation prior to an interview is absolutely key to secure the role you really want.
It is a fact that the candidate who is ill prepared for an interview is far less likely to be invited back for the next stage and to eventually secure an offer. This may seem obvious to many but the fact remains that many interviewees will rely too heavily on their CV to secure them the role they want and not put in the necessary preparation and research ahead of the interview. Despite the increasing skills shortage apparent on today’s job market, preparing for an interview is critical to enhance a candidate’s chances of being presented with an offer. Most importantly, the best prepared candidates will increase their ability to negotiate the best possible remuneration package.
Candidates should expect to be asked after an intensive hour of interviewing “Do you have any questions?” A poorly prepared candidate will inevitably reply “Actually I’ve think we’ve covered everything”. This will indicate poor preparation by the candidate to the interviewer and even if the candidate’s prepared questions have genuinely been answered during the interview, it could show the interviewees lack of ability to think on their feet. That said it is also no good asking a question for questions sake. The best candidates ask questions they want the interviewer to answer because in effect they’re interviewing the company and evaluating whether they really want to work there. After all, the best candidates will always have options.
The obvious research on a company prior to an interview is critical. For instance a deep knowledge of the industry, the company’s past and most recent results, the share price on the day and who their key competitors are. But great candidates don’t just want to know what the interviewer thinks, they want to know what that decision maker plans to do and how they will fit into those plans. They will want to know what really drives results in this job and what will be expected of them in the first 30, 90, 180 days in the role.
The softer and more subtle approach in an interview can often be to show genuine interest in the interviewer. Dale Carnegie said ‘People are not interested in you, they are not interested in me, they are interested in themselves. You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you’.
With the abundance of information available to us on Social Media, showing an interest in the interviewer's career choices to date and an appreciation of their trajectory could also demonstrate a genuine interest in the opportunity.
Preparation, preparation, preparation is key to securing the role you want. Research and a genuine interest in the interviewer and the company is a critical factor in the interview process. Interviewing is often described as a game and similar to most games, effort is required to achieve the best results.