With nothing better to do the other day I worked out how many people I had interviewed over the past 15 years. Having taken 18 months out for maternity leave, that left me with 13.5 years at an average of 5 people per week based on a 47 week year.
The total = 3,172.5.
I remember the .5 person the most!
We love doing our jobs because we love meeting people. It’s a privileged position to be in when someone trusts you to share in their career/life change journey.
A few things we would recommend to anyone heading off to an interview:
1. Knowledge is power:
Of course you will do your research on a company prior to meeting them. It goes without saying, you will have checked out their site, social media and press. But what do you know about the people you are meeting?
Google them! LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter etc. You are not stalking, you are checking whether there is common ground. You may have studied at the same University, worked in the same firms or be linked by shared acquaintances.
Disclaimer: You can easily go a step too far. Bringing up personal details e.g their kids, what they were up to over the weekend, is a little unnecessary.
2. Be on time:
Simply, be no more than 15 minutes early and most definitely not late.
3. Add £/$ value:
For every person a company employs an Accountant somewhere sighs. You are a cost. You are also an unknown factor. To a levelheaded mathematician you are not a sure bet.
You need to know your financial value.
What financial benefit will the company achieve by you being employed with them? Will you save them the cost of out-sourcing; do you bring with you a new skill set; will you generate new business; do you have a high success rate in pitches; have you a proven track record in cutting company costs?
4. Be armed with your autobiography:
It is always best to be over-prepared and ready to answer the difficult questions.
For each role you have worked in, prepare your story; set the scene and then fill in the detail including the following:
Brief rundown of the company
Where you sat in the structure of the company
What you did
What were your key responsibilities
What were the expectations of the company
What did you deliver
What were the success stories
How did you overcome any issues
Why you left
There is plenty more detail to add than that, but with this alone you will be able to talk eloquently through your CV and will be armed with a couple of examples that display your worth.
Run through your CV with another person, using the structure above. A Recruiter is ideal but otherwise a family member, partner or colleague. Practice adding enough detail but keep your explanation succinct and full of fact.
Ask them to notice the change in your tone when you are presenting and to highlight afterwards any negatives that you may unconsciously add.
Don’t be afraid to leave a silence whilst you think of the most appropriate answer or examples to give to a question, it is preferable to rambling on and failing to get to the point.
6. Banish the negatives:
Most, if not all people have had one or more bad experience in a previous role. Don’t let these events overshadow all that you have gained from your career and dictate your future.
Find the positives you learnt from those experiences and use them, do not dwell on what went wrong.
We have a whole blog dedicated to this and it’s coming soon!
A positive mental attitude, calm approach and preparation are half the battle in interviews. It is completely natural to feel nervous, this is not your usual everyday meeting with people that you know. However it is just a meeting.
8. Be comfortable:
In order to put yourself at ease, it is always best to mirror the dress code of the company that you are meeting however if it’s a formal firm and the only suit you own is now two sizes too small and cuts the blood circulation off to your upper body, then compromise.
If you are comfortable in the clothes that you are wearing and they reflect your personality then this will allow you to concentrate on what is important – what you are saying.
9. It’s a two way street:
You would be surprised how many interviewers are anxious when meeting people, particularly if on paper they appear to be the perfect hire. They are as keen to find the right person, as you are to find the right job.
Set the tone for the meeting by being prepared, enthusiastic and engaging. Put the room at ease. This will give you the platform to ask the questions that will determine whether this is the right direction for your career, after all not every job or company is right for every person.
We have a post on interview questions that may give your some inspiration should you need it:
10. Don’t believe your hype:
Yes, you are unrivalled in your job. Your employer loves you and would hate to lose you.
Over the years I have met countless people that exuded over-confidence. Being confident is a great thing, over-confidence however tends to raise alarm bells.
The people in front of you don’t know you from the other 7.177 billion humans on the planet. Be proud but be humble. Highlight your successes, relate those to their business. It would be tragic for both the company and your ego if you were to oversell yourself and fail, so most importantly remain honest.
11. Enjoy it:
Meeting new people, sharing in experiences and forming relationships are what we humans are great at. This meeting may lead to life changes but also may lead to nothing happening at all. Have fun. Enjoy the chat.
To many people this is a scary term stinking of cheesy, old school, hard-sales techniques. However it shouldn’t be.
It is as simple as thanking your interviewers for an enjoyable meeting and asking whether they would like any further information post interview prior to any further meetings.
Should they have any doubts, this will provide you with the opportunity to prepare and email further details on what a truly awesome person you are.
If you are passionate about the opportunity, what is the harm in expressing that. Warning though, everything in moderation, taking a group selfie and adding them to your Facebook friends is a little OTT.
13. The morning after:
If you have determined that this is a role that you want, get in touch with your Recruiter, HR or contact and express your interest in the position. This is not teenage dating. You will not benefit, in any way, by waiting days to assess whether they feel the same way.
Feedback might be brutal. They may not have loved you as much as you loved them. Get over that. Be gracious. Invariably it will be ‘decision by panel’ and most often you will have at least one person from the interviewers who is fighting your corner. You never know when your paths will cross again. Prepare for the future.
Should it be a match made in heaven. Amazing. Enjoy the ego boost but don’t lose sight of your goals and ambitions for the future.
Happy interviewing people!