You have done the hard work of completing the application form or CV and you find out that you have the interview for a job you are keen to land. Often when it comes to the interview stage people perform well below their best. Yes nerves are a factor and everyone has them.
So how can you excel in interviews? Here are my 8 top tips.
1. Be prepared. So often candidates turn up for interviews ill prepared. They have not found out about the company, its issues and challenges and plans for the future. Take the time to do this and you will be off to a flying start
2. Think about possible questions that might be asked. Strange as it may seem, by spending a couple of hours jotting down possible questions and answers you can probably be prepared for about 50% of the questions that are asked. You might not get the exact question but most likely will get a variation on the theme
3. Listen effectively. If you are going to give a good answer you need to listen to the question being asked. Doing so will enable you to give a powerful and structured answer to the question
4. Be succinct. When you are answering questions, what you are aiming to do is give the interviewer confidence that you know what you are talking about- not to give a verbal thesis. For example, imagine the interviewer asks you what are the greatest challenges in managing a team? You could talk for ever. Instead try delegating effectively, keeping people motivated and balancing time spent managing and doing. If the interviewer wants more they will ask
5. Be honest. A typical question is what are your weaknesses? Don’t under any circumstances say you don’t have any. At the same time don’t shoot yourself in the foot. Try something like I see weaknesses as opportunities for development. Some of the areas I am working on right now are….
6. Remember it is a two way process. Candidates often forget that the interview is as much about them finding out if this is a company and people they could work with as it is the interviewer finding out if you could do the job and fit in
7. Have 2 or 3 good questions to ask them. Good interviewers will always give candidates the chance to ask questions. Poorly prepared candidates will ask about pay, holidays, benefits. Candidates who excel will ask about what it is like to work there, how the company will contribute to their development, future plans for the business and individuals over the next few years
8. Ask for feedback. Whether you get the job or not ask for feedback on what they liked about you and what was missing. Good employers will take the time to give feedback
At the end of the day, what makes you stand out are the small but important things. So pay attention to them and go forth and excel in your next interview.
Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 6,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.