Back to Basics in Interview Preparation
Are you preparing for an upcoming interview? Not sure where to start? Often, people get so overwhelmed and consumed with preparing for interviews that they lose sight of what the most important information is that they should be focusing on…
If you’re not sure where to begin in terms of preparation, the best approach is to go back to the most basic of principals – the essential information. Think about how best you can sell yourself and your experience to date, and then think about what other information an interviewer may want to find out about you. This could include more about your personality, what motivates you, your strengths and weaknesses, etc.
We caught up with Specialist Consultant at Progressive Recruitment, Elzana Ibragimova, whose daily role includes regularly preparing people for interviews, on the general steps you should follow to successfully prepare.
- As you may be aware your strengths and weaknesses are a common interview question. However, you should ensure when answering this that the weaknesses you give are not directly relevant to the criteria required for the role. For example, if you are going for a sales role, you would probably not say that communications or people skills are your biggest weakness. Likewise, if you are going for an IT position, then computer skills should realistically not be an issue for you. Put yourself in the interviewer’s position – judging by your answers, would you hire you?
- It’s best not to speak overly negatively about a previous employer or employers. Although you may have a had a bad experience with a particular workplace, and may have your own issues with a previous manager or co-worker, highlighting that excessively in an interview may reflect badly on you in the long run. While you don’t have to be glowingly positive about every place you’ve worked in, a neutral attitude is better in most cases as it doesn’t raise alarms bells for future employers and gives out a positive first impression.
- It probably goes without saying, but while the interview is focused on you, you should also do thorough research on the company and indeed the role you are interviewing for. Make sure to look at things such as their company culture to check if it’s in line with what you’re looking for personally as well. When looking at the role itself, try as best you can to match up any experience you may have with what the employer is looking for, even if it means thinking outside the box.
- Never lie on your CV. While you may play up and sell your experience as best you can, never out rightly lie about somewhere you worked or a skill you’re claiming to have. Don’t put anything down which you would not be comfortable speaking about if quizzed. Likewise, if you are interviewing other places, don’t lie about this either. It is much better to be open and honest, rather than suddenly accepting a new role and leaving other employers hanging.
- Towards the end of the interview, there is almost always an opportunity to ask questions. Many people overlook the importance of this, but this is actually your chance to set yourself apart from the crowd and show how interested in and motivated you are by the role. Maybe ask something industry specific or revert back to career progression and even global mobility within the business down the line. By choosing something less generic, it will help make your interview more memorable and hopefully you stand out as a potential candidate to the hiring manager. Think of this as making your lasting impression!
Interested in discussing the next step in your career progression? To hear about the latest opportunities on the market please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team at Progressive Recruitment at the below contact details: