Over the past 16 years, I‘ve conducted thousands of job interviews. And during this time, I’ve seen some knockout ones and witnessed others that would make your toes curl.
I thought I’d share some hints/tips/do’s/don’ts I’ve picked up on interviewing for both the interviewee and the interviewer.
After all, an interview can’t have a positive outcome without both parties giving it the thumbs up.
Below are my tips of things to do and think about before the job interview:
As an interview is the interaction between two human beings, the only cast iron guarantee is that every single interview will be different. It could be your fifth interview that day to recruit one role, or the seventh interview you have attended that week for seven similar roles, but it’s essential to treat each one as an individual event, and to prepare accordingly.
So for both the interviewee and interviewer, the prep starts well before 5 mins prior to the interview and yes, even in advance of the night before…
Before the job interview: For the interviewee
1. Research – and no excuses
Research the company. Using their company website goes without saying, but look at their competitors too. How do they differentiate themselves?
Research the interviewer: What is their background? Linkedin is a favourite, but try to find out more – what is their personality? How do they interview?
If you are using a recruiter, ask them to tell you all about them.
Research the job: This is vital. How can you effectively interview if you don’t fully understand the role?
2. Be specific
This is essential. Put simply: Know what makes YOU the IDEAL person for THIS job.
3. Know what you do
Easy eh? But how well can you articulate who you are and what you do? And say it jargon free? Practise your “elevator pitch”.
4. What do you want to know?
You will be expected to ask questions, so prepare them. And make them good. How long do I get for lunch is not a good question!
Of course, plan your journey. How long will it take you to get there? Plan to be a few minutes early and dress appropriately for the job role!
Before the job interview: For the interviewer
1. Prepare a welcome
Unless confidential, brief your front of house to expect the candidates arrival. When the candidate arrives it is incredibly reassuring and professional for them to hear “Welcome, Nicole is expecting you for the interview”.
2. Book a room
Don’t interview in the kitchen, canteen, or at your desk. The privacy protects confidentiality, is free from all distractions and will allow you to see the real candidate, without the disruption of John from accounts approaching you to discuss last month’s expenses
3. Allocate the time
If you allow an hour for each interview, is it wise to book three of them back to back at 9, 10 & 11 am? Is it correct to show one candidate out while the next is sitting in reception? Does this give the right impression? And what if they know each other?
4. Research their background
Thoroughly read the candidate’s CV; not just a cursory glance as you are walking to meet them. Find out more about them – at least look at their Linkedin profile. Know a bit about the businesses they have worked for. Prepare bespoke Qs around their background/experience.
5. Know your goals
Be clear in your objectives for the interview: This could be to uncover specifics regarding their skills, management style, motivations or aspirations etc. How will you uncover this information?
6. Prepare to sell the opportunity
This may not be the only role the candidate is looking at. Sell your opportunity. Promote the company, the role and the future career opportunities.
What’s your elevator pitch? Why should someone work for you? Always make it specific to the candidate’s requirements.
8. Allocate time for their questions
Give the candidate an opportunity to ask questions. They will have many and you will answer some throughout the interview, but to make an informed decision they need time to ask you questions too.