Interviewing tips – Part 2: The Interview

This series of three posts is designed to cover interview tips for both the interviewee and the interviewer – as after all, for a positive outcome, both parties need to be giving it the thumbs up.

In my last post I covered the preparation that both parties should undertake before the interview.

In this post I am covering the actual interview and a post on hints/tips for “After the Interview” will follow.

So how important is an interview?

A job description is useful, but even the most comprehensive job description can only say so much about the role. A company’s website can be good, but it rarely gives you a clear insight into the culture of the business. A CV/Linkedin profile is great, but never lets you get to know the personality of the person and what really makes them tick.

The only way to find out all of this is in the interview. That’s why, with all the technology and information available today, the interview still is, and will be for a long time yet, the key factor in making a decision on whether it’s the right role for you, or whether you’ve found the right person for your business. Don’t waste the opportunity…

For the interviewee

What’s your objective?
Your overall aim for the interview should be to demonstrate two things: a) You can do the job and b) You want to do the job. If you can leave the interview having convinced your potential new employer of both these things, you have gone a very long way to securing the role.

Think and be specific
Give specific examples of when you have demonstrated the skills being assessed. You can’t prepare an answer for every conceivable question – it’s impossible and if you could, your answers would sound rehearsed – instead give examples to prove you have done what is being asked.

Listen and answer the question!
Yes, you are keen to demonstrate how great you are and what you can bring to the party, but you don’t have to tell them your life story in one sentence, and all at once! Give a full answer, but be specific and answer the question – keep it relevant! See previous point.

Show the real you
Be yourself and show your personality. They are looking to employ a human being and if successful, you will probably be spending a lot of time with the person interviewing you. So it’s vital for both parties to feel there is a personal connection and that you can work together.

Remember where you are
Yes, show the real you but never forget that it’s an interview. You may call your current boss “mate” and swear in the office, but you are being assessed on your professionalism and attitude in a working environment. Act accordingly and be professional at all times.

Don’t ever, ever lie
If you lie to get the job, then at some point you WILL get found out. And think about it; if you need to lie to get the job then is the job really right for you anyway?

Ask questions
Towards the end of the interview, you will get the opportunity to ask some questions. Be prepared and have them written down, as the last thing you want is a mind blank and a missed opportunity to find out all you want to know.

If you want the job, then say so!
Think about it… unless you tell them that you want the job, how will they know?

For the interviewer

Have clear objectives
Be clear on what you are trying to assess in the talent. What do you need to know to decide whether they are suitable candidate for the role? When you know these key criteria, create behavioural-based questions to assess their skills in those areas.

Keep it a conversation
As above, have key questions and attributes you want to assess but don’t solely rely on a list of questions to be read from a script – it’s an interview, not an interrogation and should run as a two way conversation.

Keep control
Each person you interview will be unique, so naturally each interview will take a slightly different path. That’s great, but to get the most out of the interview, you must control the conversation. You need clear objectives so you can control the meeting and steer the conversation, whilst allowing it to flow naturally.

Sell the opportunity
Every candidate you interview, whether they are suitable or not, should leave, thinking that a) it’s a great job and b) you are an employer of choice. Just because they aren’t right for the role, doesn’t mean their friend or colleague might not be – and personal referrals are the best way to attract the best talent! Read this post on Interview Impressions

It’s a two way street
Talent have choice too, and just as you need to understand whether they are suitable for the role, they need to make an informed decision on whether it is the right role for them. They need to ask you questions, so be accommodating and factor this in to the interview.

Show the real you
If the interview is successful, the chances are you will be spending a lot of time with each other, so it’s vital for both parties to feel there is a personal connection and that you can work together.

Missed my 1st post on interview tips? Read it here.


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