Recruiters and hiring managers have seen every trick and gimmick in the book when it comes to interviews. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. You can wear a smart suit, look the interviewer in the eye, but in the end it all boils down to the interview content.
So what can you do that will really impress a recruiter? Here are some top tips to help you in your next interview:
Know your experience
Planning and preparation is key. It’s amazing how many people stumble over what should be the easiest questions of all – you’re just talking about yourself! Go over your CV with a fine toothcomb as you prepare for the interview. Think about some of the most significant projects you’ve worked on, what you liked and didn’t like about each job, what you learned, and acknowledge some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced – and most importantly, how you overcame them. Make sure that you’re ready to explain any vague details such as gaps in your work history.
You’ll find it much easier in the interview when you’re explaining and applying your experience when you know the details like the back of your hand – be prepared!
Know the impact that your experience has had
It’s important to remember that one of the best ways to impress a recruiter is to quantify the impact you’ve had in previous roles. Recruiters want to hear about your experience in the context of what you’ve done and how you did it, but understanding the big picture and the impact of your work is essential too. Make sure that you’re prepared to answer questions about the outcome of what you did – what impact did it have, what difference did it make in terms of monetary savings, increasing efficiency, or an improved customer experience, and how your work played a role.
Sharing outcomes enables the recruiter to see that you’re able to follow a project through from start to finish and understand the bigger picture and consequences.
Apply your past experience to the job you’re being interviewed for
It’s key to ensure your examples and experience are relevant to the role you’re interviewing for. Take the challenges and outcomes you’ve already discussed and apply them to the role you’ve applied for. It’s great to know what you’ve done, but applying that to what the company is currently doing or what the role demands, is what will make the difference and land you the job.
Do your research so that you know what the role demands, what the goals are, what qualities the company is looking for so that you can discuss how you can use your skills to meet those requirements.
Have a conversation
Remember, an interview is a two way process.
Many recruiters tend to expect candidates to do most of the talking in an interview, but in a perfect world, the interview would be a conversation between both parties. After all, you’re both trying to work out if you’re right for each other. Try to find something in common with the interviewer, and do your background reading on the business to come armed with the information and facts you need.
Stand out from the crowd by getting the recruiter engaged in the conversation. Straight Q&A sessions can get pretty boring for recruiters after a while, so a more conversational style can make a real impact.
Ask the right questions
Ensure you keep the conversation flowing by asking questions that add value to the interview. Your interview questions should align closely with what you already know about the job, and highlight the skills that you bring to the table. Make sure your questions are interesting, valuable and show some insight into your thinking. It’s important to prepare these in advance so that you don’t walk out wishing you’d asked something you later remember.
Talk about the company’s culture, and how you fit with it
Most businesses showcase their culture via their website and social media, so make sure you’re familiar with it.
What type of content do they post? What type of tone do they use? Do they post humorous information or pictures of community events? Or do they stick strictly to product offerings and marketing communications?
Ensure that you thoroughly investigate these platforms before your interview to get a feel for how casual or formal you will be expected to operate both in the interview, and if you’re successful in getting the job.
The better your understanding of the company’s culture, the better the examples you’ll be able to provide of how you’ll be a great fit for their team. Think about what questions you might ask about their company culture based on what you’ve found out to demonstrate your interest in this at the interview.
Send a thoughtful follow-up note after your interview
Think back carefully and pick out the most important points from your interview. Points to consider might be something new you learned about the company, a conversation topic where you really hit it off and made an impact with the team, or a particular skill you might have forgotten to elaborate on fully – and send a short follow up within a day of your interview.
This is a good opportunity to remind them why you’re the best candidate for the role based on your experience, your knowledge and your cultural fit with the business.