Preparation Makes Perfect: Tips for the Perfect Interview.
So, your carefully crafted application has landed you an interview. Congratulations! Next up; making that all-important first impression. Interviews can be a daunting prospect, but thankfully, we’ve put together a list of industry-insider tips to help settle the nerves and prepare you for the big day.
These days, interviews come in all shapes and sizes, but some questions pop up time and time again. With a little bit of homework and all-important practice, you’re sure to make quite the impression. Let’s start with the basics.
“Tell me a bit about yourself.”
This seems like a straightforward enough place to start: a chance to break the ice and to share with your interviewer your passions and personality. But while it’s tempting to share your life story, interviewers want to hear about things relevant to the role. It’s best to choose a few key things that will showcase your suitability for the position. This could be specific skills, qualifications, experience, or passion for your area of expertise. Be thorough and show that your answer is well considered, but keep it concise.
“What are your main reasons for applying?”
It seems such an obvious one, but this is where many candidates get caught out. Start by identifying the areas of the business that appeal to you, whether it be the growth opportunities or working culture, and detail how these attributes align with your passions, interests and experience. A bit of homework here goes a long way.
“Why should we hire you?”
A good answer here will show that you’ve really considered your suitability for the role. Make it clear that you believe you meet all of the role requirements, then back it up with examples of how you’ve demonstrated that skill in the past. Let the interviewer know how these attributes would benefit them in your new role.
“What are your strengths and weaknesses?”
Here’s your chance to stand out. In describing your strengths, your answer should focus on what you bring to the job. Outline examples of how you’re proactive, focusing on how decision making, leadership skills and showing initiative, has proved successful in the past. When it comes to weaknesses, don’t shy away from talking about where you fall short. No matter how hard we try, we all have something we wish we were better at. Acknowledging this is key to professional development, and will earn you extra brownie points with your interviewer.
“Where do you see yourself in five to 10 years’ time?”
Even if you can’t predict what you’ll be doing in 10 days from now, evidence of long-term planning is impressive. The perfect answer to this question will outline a carefully considered growth plan for skills, experience and responsibilities. Research what a reasonable career path in your role would look like, but focus your enthusiasm on the current position.
“Tell me about an accomplishment you are proud of”
The Star technique (situation, task, action, result) is a good way to structure your answer for this. Make it work related, and start by briefly explaining the task and the challenge involved. Describe the action you took and the processes you followed, remembering to be clear about the part you played in the result. The result is the most important part, as a successful outcome proves that your actions were effective.
“Do you have any questions?”
Hopefully you’ve made it this part of the interview relatively unscathed, but don’t take the foot off the pedal just yet. Interviewers love questions, so it’s always worth preparing a few in advance. As well as a chance to build rapport, this is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate your genuine interest and enthusiasm for the role. Tailor your questions to the role and the company. Keep things natural and authentic and remember that some questions may reveal that you either weren’t listening earlier on or haven’t done your research.
We hope you’ve found some of our tips useful and insightful. If your mind goes blank on the big day, remember to relax and stay enthusiastic. Good luck!