At any one time there are over 6 million people in the UK looking for their next role.
There is lots of traditional advice on how to prepare for your big interview but here are my top 5:
1. Do your homework
It is not enough to check the company’s website (that’s a basic); you need to become a bona fide FBI agent to uncover any helpful bits of information about the company you are going to see.
Stuck on where to start? Try the following:
Financial Times/The Times
Trade press – identify the sector the company operates in and do a search for relevant trade websites/journals they may feature in.
Glassdoor for company reviews (according to Glassdoor, 69% of people would not take a job at a company with a bad reputation, even if they were unemployed!).
LinkedIn for company profiles or even better you can view the profile of the person who is interviewing you (but don’t be a stalker!).
Check Twitter/Instagram/Facebook/Pinterest – do a search of the company name and see what comes up.
2. Be clear on why you are excited about the role
You’ve read the job description. You’ve highlighted the bits that interest you the most. This is your chance to shine and articulate why you are excited about the role.
When they ask that magic question ‘tell me why you are interested in this job’ you will be prepared to answer. You will convey passion and enthusiasm for the opportunity if you are clear on why you are applying.
A word of caution…
Here are some answers to avoid giving (and yes I have heard these when interviewing candidates):
“I’m bored where I am”
“I want to earn more money”
“The agency told me it was a good role”
“I thought, why not?!”
3. What makes you brilliant?
Being able to identify your strengths has an extraordinary impact on your personal and professional development. Strength = Talent + Knowledge + Skills.
What will clarity about your strengths give you?
The ability to answer questions such as ‘Why should we hire you?’ ‘What are your weaknesses?’ and the ability to ensure you only go for roles that play to your strengths.
Most of us recognise what we are good at but sometimes find it difficult to articulate.
Here are some free online tests that might help you.
Strengths based tests
Please note I have no affiliation to these websites whatsoever neither am I paid to endorse them…
4. All work and no play…
It has been scientifically proven that people who have hobbies or interests outside of work are generally a lot healthier, can manage stress and frustration better and are more interesting to talk to (ok so the last one isn’t scientifically proven but I’m sure it would be true).
Employers want creativity and innovation because you will solve problems quicker and you need less supervision.
Interviewers ask about your interests because we want to see your eyes light up with enthusiasm. It’s amazing how animated people will get when you ask them about something they are passionate about.
A word of caution however…
Ensure that what you have written on your CV or covering letter under the title ‘Interests’ is something you can actually talk about in an interview.
Like to go to the theatre regularly? Ensure you can talk about the last couple of plays you have seen. I once asked someone about their theatre going activities and they could only reference a play they saw 2 years ago….
A regular gym going? Ok but if you’ve not stepped foot across the threshold of a gym for months, I would reconsider putting this on your CV.
Not every interviewer asks about your interests, but I do!
5. Don’t give up
You will not get every job you interview for. Accept feedback with grace and humility and use it to positively influence you going forward.
This is a great article from monster.com that gives good advice on to how to recover from a career setback. This advice that can also be applied to not getting the job of your dreams.