by MSM Coaching on 24th December 2012

In advance:

  • Find out as much as you can about the company that you are applying to. Visit their website and read up on their organisational structure, speak to the Human Resources department, get a copy of the Annual Report:
    • Are they privately owned or do they have shareholders?
    • How many offices do they have and where are they?
    • What are their products or services?
    • Who are their clients?
    • Who are their competitors?
    • What differentiates them?
  • Find out what you can about the person you are meeting.
    • What is their role and who are they responsible for?
    • Which division do they work in?
  • Prepare some questions to ask the interviewer(s):
    • What the key challenges facing the company over the next few years?
    • What will an average day consist of?
    • What are the long-term objectives of this role?
    • What level of input would I have in determining my objectives and deadlines?
  • Prepare - and write down - your answers to standard interview questions including:
    • What are your strengths and weaknesses? Be positive, and try to relate strengths to the role whilst also demonstrating how you overcome your weaknesses and that they do not affect your ability to do the job.
    • Where do you see yourself in five years' time? Employers are checking if you are ambitious, and if you have set goals in mind.
    • Why do you want this job? Be enthusiastic, and use the information from the job description and company website to help you expand upon the aspects of the job that you are excited about and want to be involved with. Do not just say that it's because you studied the industry / discipline for your degree!
    • Why do you want to work for this company? Demonstrate the knowledge you have of the company, from your prior research. Talk in detail about their achievements and how this has made you enthusiastic to become a part of their team.
    • What will you bring to the role? Give applicable examples of activities and experiences, and mention what you have gained from these and how they will help you in the role.
    • What do you think you will do in this role? Be sure you are very familiar with the job description, so you can give an accurate answer.
    • What other positions have you been applying for? Only mention jobs in the same industry, as this will reinforce the impression that you are committed to this industry and are keen to become a part of it.
    • What type of person are you? How would your friends describe you? Be positive! This is a great opportunity to introduce a facet of your personality that was otherwise difficult to add into your CV or the interview.
  • Prepare for competency-based questions by having examples of things that you have done which demonstrate the following:
    • Drive for results
    • Team work
    • Leadership
    • Drives & adapts to change
    • Impact & influence
    • Initiative
    • Curiosity
    • Communication
    • Analytical thinking
    • Energy & Enthusiasm
  • Take extra copies of your CV to the interview in case there are more people at the interview.
Getting there
  • Know where you need to go!
  • Have a trial run - particularly if it is an area you have never been to before
  • Aim to arrive at least ten minutes before the interview
  • Anticipate if you are going to be late and call them to let them know
At the interview
  • Smile and give a firm handshake
  • Make eye contact and ensure you direct your answers to everyone if there is more than one person interviewing you
  • Expand on your answers as much as possible. This is your opportunity to show them why you will benefit their company!
  • Remember to ask the questions that you prepared which have not already been answered and make it clear that you had prepared them in advance!
  • Ask what characteristics they are looking for in the ideal candidate
At the end of the interview
  • Ask the interviewer / panel about the next stage of the interview
  • If you like the job, tell them and make it clear that you will accept it if they offer it to you!
  • Ask for the job! - Particularly important for a sales-related role!
After the interview
  • Follow up the interview with a letter or telephone call, thanking the interviewer for their time and expressing your enthusiasm
  • Demonstrating enthusiasm and energy is probably the single most important factor during an interview. Convey a strong desire to work for that company! You should leave the interviewer feeling that you want the job and are the right person for that role!

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