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Brace Yourself... Interviews Are Coming

14th Apr 2015

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Candidate Interview Preparation

I am a specialist recruiter within the Digital Media space here in Sydney. I feel you can never be too prepared for an interview and the more preparation you do the greater chance of landing your dream role. We are experiencing an extremely competitive market and you want to ensure you are giving yourself the best chance in that critical first interview. Below are my top tips when it comes to interview preparation.

What should you wear?

My clients are predominantly Digital Agencies or Media/Advertising Agencies, where the dress code can be quite causal depending on size of company. It’s not uncommon to see people in thongs and boardies in these funky start-up vibe companies. Despite this, first impressions are everything so you want to make sure you hit the nail on the head and come across like you have made an effort. It is really important to mirror the culture and environment of the organisation you are meeting with. The hiring manager will want to visualise you fitting into the team and culture of the company. For those digital/media companies it is best to go smart casual.  For the more corporate organisations it is best to wear a suit and tie as it shows a sign of respect.  The key is for you to feel comfortable in what you are wearing which will help you relax throughout the interview.

Company knowledge

One of the first questions in most interviews is – What do you know about our company? It is vital at this initial stage that you have a good knowledge of who the company are, what they do and other important facts about the organisation. It could be something as simple as knowing a recent award the company have won, new clients they have brought on board or maybe new senior leaders that have joined. This shows you have done your homework and made the effort to do the research. This will get the interview off to a good start and get the interviewer on side. It’s never a good start to not know anything about the company.

Know your resume inside out

This may sound like common knowledge but it is something very simple that can help you out in the interview. You can imagine before the interview takes place the hiring manager will have reviewed your resume a number of times and has made notes to ask you around your previous roles and experience. It’s good to go through each role listed on your resume and have examples of when you faced a challenging situation, how you dealt with it and what the outcome was. It’s also a good idea to highlight some achievements for each role you have worked in.

Know the role you are interviewing for

You have made it to the first round of interviews which means you have made it past the resume screening process. As your resume has been matched to the specific role you have applied for its vital you know what it is when it comes round to the interview. When you are actively looking for new opportunities it can happen that you are interviewing with a number of companies at the same time. It can be exhausting having multiple interviews and can sometimes cause confusion around different roles. It is key that you know the job description inside out before meeting with the company. The person interviewing you wants to see that you are clear on the role and that this is the right role for you. It’s never a good idea to pick faults in the role or say you are not happy to do different responsibilities of the role. If that is the case this isn’t the right role for you.

Do your research on the person/people interviewing you

This is very easy and can prove to be very helpful. By looking at the interviewers profile on LinkedIn you will learn their background and what type of roles they have worked in previously. You could find that you have worked in the same organisation in the past or may know someone they have worked with in the past. You may find that you have similar interests outside of work which you could chat to them about at the start or end of the interview to build some common ground.

Ask questions

We all know that part of the interview when the hiring manager is wrapping up and asks you if you have any questions. Sometimes you can’t think on the spot or feel they have answered everything throughout the interview but it is important to ask questions at the end of the interview. It means you are ending the interview positively and the interviewer will be impressed with your interest. Some examples of questions to ask are;

  • What’s the career progression on offer?
  • What training and development programmes are provided?
  • What is the Team structure?
  • What is the reason you are looking to fill this role?
  • What budgets will I be working with?
  • What support is offered – e.g. will you have any direct reports and who will you be reporting in to?

Keep a positive attitude

It’s key to keep a positive attitude throughout the interview. You may have had a bad experience with your current or previous employer but believe me it’s never a good idea to criticise them. You should choose your words carefully if you have had a bad experience and come across like you have learned from the situation and happy to move on. Try to leave any strong emotion at home and go in to the meeting with a fresh outlook.