Winning Interview Preparation
Congratulations! You've secured yourself that all important interview, now you have to prepare. Preparation doesn't just include memorising your CV off by heart, it is an accumulation of scenario planning, research, questions and more. We know that interviews can be nerve-wracking and that they can be a very different experience from person to person. So whether you are searching for your next Mechanical Engineering job, or your next Quantity Surveying contract, it's important to keep your finger on the pulse.
The key to any interview be it in person or virtually is preparation, so we've put together some of our top tips to help you make a good impression in your interview and maybe even enjoy yourself along the way! If you interview through us then our consultants will talk you through the process and provide you with some more insight into the interview process and what the client is really looking for to give you the edge.
Practice makes perfect
You might be a little anxious before your interview, and that’s understandable. So it’s not a bad idea to think about some of the topics that might come up around your skills and experience and consider how you could answer them.
We’re not saying you should prepare a speech, you certainly don’t want to come across as rigid and rehearsed. But have a think about some of the points you want to make and how you can get from A to B in your answers without stumbling.
Don’t try and shoe-horn in rehearsed statements to questions that don’t fit though! Make sure it’s relevant and feels natural. You’ve got this; trust your gut!
Let your personality shine through
It can sometimes be hard to find the balance between being personal and professional, but the best piece of advice we can offer is just to relax!
Don’t feel like you need to be stilted and overly corporate. Smile, engage in small talk, and if you’re brave enough you could even crack a joke! It’s equally as important to show how you can fit in as part of a team as it is to show off your impressive skills. The more relaxed you feel, the stronger your answers are likely to be.
Research the company
Knowing your stuff about the company you’re hoping to get a job with is a pretty obvious tip for your interview, but it's important none-the-less.
Try and learn the most relevant information possible. Have they been in the news recently? What are the most recent projects they’re working on? (tip: check out their social media channels or annual report!) If you can clearly weave information about their current projects into the conversation, as opposed to just shoe-horning in facts and figures from five years ago, this is much more impressive.
Explaining your experience
Don’t fall into the trap of embellishing your skills! It might be tempting to exaggerate some of your achievements, but it’s usually incredibly obvious to an interviewer, and if it's not then you will no doubt be found out later down the line.
And there’s nothing worse than coming across as misleading in an interview – that’s a sure-fire way not to get the job. Instead, just be honest; talk about genuine successes. You’ll find it much easier to speak fluidly and get wrapped up in conversations about your experience.
Don't be afraid to clarify questions you are unsure of
We get it, in an interview you want to seem like an expert, so vocalising a lack of understanding about a topic might seem like a bad idea. But this isn’t necessarily true. Asking for clarity shows you’re not afraid to take stock and make sure you’re 100% clear before you proceed.
In a real life work situation, it’s better to make sure you have a thorough understanding before you proceed with a task, and how you deal with this in an interview is a reflection of your approach to work.
Match your CV to the job specification
You should have been given a comprehensive job description that outlines what your duties will be if you’re successful.
A good way to prepare for your interview is to go through this spec and outline clear opportunities where you can link your CV to the job responsibilities. Demonstrating clear evidence of how your skills match with the duties you’ll be carrying out is a great way to show that you’re the ideal candidate.
Be prepared to answer questions about the salary
We don’t need to tell you that it’s not a good idea to ask about salary, benefits, or holidays in your first interview, unless it is already asked or mentioned in the job description. However, it’s probably good to be prepared in case your interviewer questions you on the topic.
You don’t need to have a concrete figure in mind, but if you know you’re not going to accept an offer lower than a certain amount – be honest! If you’re being asked outright, there’s no point in being shy here. You’ll only be doing yourself a disservice.
Prepare questions for your interviewer
This one’s so obvious that it’s easy to neglect. We all know that when you’re asked if you have any questions, you’re expected to have something prepared.
A lot of the time however, things you were going to ask may have been covered in the interview. So try preparing a few different questions so you definitely have something to ask at the end of your conversation. Good questions show that you’re keen, eager, and insightful.
At Progressive Recruitment, our consultants have built up excellent relationships with our clients, and so we’re able to help guide you in your interview with them. We don’t just offer generic recruitment advice. Our relationships with hiring managers allows us to identify what questions are likely to be asked, what particular managers are looking for, and can offer you the best tips to impress your interviewer!