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Interview Skills

Top Interview Techniques

Anyone can learn to interview well
Anyone can learn to interview well

Successful Interview Techniques

An interview will make or break your job search. No matter how strong your experience and expertise, your success or failure will inevitably be driven by how well you perform during the interview. Although each interview is a unique, following these guidelines will give you the opportunity to make your interview a success.

Before the interview

Pre-interview preparation will really make a difference. It is a chance for you to explore the roles and responsibilities referred to in your CV and covering letter, and also tailor your experience and expertise to best meet the needs of the interviewing company and role.

Know your audience

Once you have confirmed your interview, find out everything you can about the company. Carrying out good and relevant research is the single most powerful thing you can do to improve your chances of getting a job. It distinguishes good interviewees from bad and it can be virtually guaranteed that the most prepared candidate will get the job over someone who has not done any research.

There are many ways to research a company, but looking at their annual report, website and in-house magazines/newsletters will provide enough ammunition for you to show your commitment and willingness to go that extra mile.

Know your industry

Researching the company is a great way to impress an interviewer but to really show you understand the role and appreciate the environment in which they work; the challenges they face and the key drivers for their business, you should show an in-depth understanding of their industry/sector and identify where you can add value.
Trade publications offer a wealth of industry specific information and will highlight the issues that affect, or have the potential to affect, your chosen company. Also, knowledge of competitor activity shows you are reading about the industry.

To ensure that you are maximising your impact in this area, it is crucial to prepare answers for the type of questions you'll be asked; in particular why you want the job, what your strengths are and how you would make a difference.

Know yourself

If you’ve ever been to a job interview you’ll know that your CV provides the structure for the meeting. However, making your mark in the interview is dependent on more than knowing your CV. The majority of recruiters will look to the interview to learn how your experience and expertise can meet their unique challenges. They will expect you to show your understanding of their business and prove how you can meet their needs. Both of these will be explored using a series of key questions designed specifically for the role being recruited.

To ensure that you are maximising your impact in this area, it is crucial to prepare answers for the type of questions you'll be asked; in particular why you want the job, what your strengths are and how you would make a difference. Providing clear and concise evidence to show what you've achieved in the past and how these achievements added value will give you a distinct advantage – facts and figures are particularly valuable.

Know how to impress

Preparing insightful and relevant questions to ask at the interviewer could provide an edge over competing interviewees. The key is to impress the recruiter and avoid those run of the mills subjects that you should already know or that will come out during the recruitment process.

Good questions will tend to focus on the priorities and scope of the role, on the structure and nature of the organisation and examine ways of making a difference or an improvement. The key is to focus on the needs of the organisation and not your own.

During the interview

Regardless of how you feel about your current employer, the role you are about to interview for or the person who is interviewing you, it is crucial to adopt an enthusiastic, alert and positive mind-set throughout the meeting. There is no benefit to being negative about your current role/employer. If an employer sees you as someone who is quick to criticise, they could be fearful of your attitude and approach to challenges, so make sure you focus on the positive.

Use the interview to show you have the technical skills required, you are sufficiently motivated to get the job done and that you have the right personality to succeed. Focusing on your positive attitude, excellent communication skills (oral and written), strong interpersonal skills, confidence, flexibility, leadership and self-motivation will make you difficult to refuse.

Following the interview

If you are particularly keen on a job and would like to increase your chances of securing an offer, you might want to follow up by sending an email or letter to reinforce your commitment. If you do decide to send an email or letter, take this opportunity to show your passion for the role, your determination to succeed and address any issues raised during the interview, while also re-emphasising your ability to do the job.

If you do not get the job, don’t give up. The truth is you will not be offered every job you interview for, no matter how perfect you might be for the role. In fact, being turned down for a role should be regarded as an opportunity to improve your future performance. If you have not been given the job, take the opportunity to ask politely for feedback and use these comments when applying for the next role!

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