Here are some top tips from our team to help guide you through the recruitment process
Expert career advice from our teams in London and Manchester
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You’ve got a first interview for a job
- Think carefully about why they want to see you. What made you stand out from other candidates? Make sure you’re ready and prepared to play to these strengths.
- Review your CV. What does the interviewer like or dislike about it? Are there ways you could turn what they perceive as weaknesses into strengths? Are there more examples you can give them of the good stuff?
- Know your CV back to front and be prepared to expand on what you’ve written, giving examples from your experience.
- Make sure you know the address, plan your journey and give yourself plenty of time. As well as getting there on time and making the right impression, having a bit of time in hand to sit down and have a coffee will put you in the right frame of mind and calm any nerves.
Planning / attending the first interview
- Do your company research. Don’t just look at their website – they won’t just want a regurgitation of what they already know. Get to grips with their group structure; find out who their main competition is, where they like to recruit from etc. A bit of online research can be hugely valuable. The Companies House website can give you some great background information. Have a hunt through LinkedIn and reasearch Industry blogs for some great information. Why not approach the company as a customer to find out more?
- Can you find some common ground with the interviewer? A shared interest in travel or sport can be a great icebreaker and help you relax.
- Find out more about the interviewer. Have a look on LinkedIn and see if there’s a Facebook group you can learn more from; ideally get an idea of their style, likes and dislikes. During your interview, ask the recruiter about themselves, most people will be impressed and flattered (but remember to be genuine).
- Find out if the interview is competency or skills based. Each is a very different experience for interviewer and interviewee. If it’s a competency based interview, do some online research to be as prepared as you can.
- If possible try to find out how many people are being interviewed that day. A busy interviewer may have lots of questions for you but not have much time to make pleasantries or chat socially. It’s important you respond accordingly with their needs and agenda.
- Ask about the dress code; don’t make assumptions. Either a recruiter or reception should be able to give guidance on this. All industry sectors and businesses vary greatly and it is important to get this right.
- Think about your answers in light of what the interviewer is looking for – a marketing director may look for a different answer from a sales director. Are you having a group interview? Try to make sure you respond inclusively.
- First impressions can’t be underestimated, look confident and smart, make eye contact, smile and offer a firm handshake (avoid the damp fish or the knuckle crusher)
Preparing for second or final interviews
- Find out as much as you can about how things went the first time around. When you’re contacted to arrange the second interview you should be able to get a few pointers. Brush up and prepare to shine in the areas you may have been weak in and get together some more blinding examples of how brilliant you are.
- Can you find out more about the other candidates and how you compared? The interviewer should be willing to give you a bit more information to prepare with. You’ve nothing to lose by asking the question and it could be really valuable information to make sure you stand out and help you clinch the job.
- Find out who’s going to be there – do you need to target your answers for what each of the attendees will be listening out for?
- Do you need to give a presentation? If so, make no assumptions. Ask about what equipment is available, what kind of content is expected and how long your presentation should be. Many people present regularly but if you feel less comfortable about a topic closer to home or about yourself then stick to sound principles, research well, keep it punchy and relevant and make sure you know loads about the role, company and your audience.
- Make sure you arrive at the interview clear about the decision making criteria, for example who are the stakeholders, what’s the process of awarding the role, what are the timeframes, and what are the key decision factors?
- If appropriate, close the meeting. For direct sales interviews this may be asking for the job, but know your audience. For other sectors this may simply be asking what the process is from here.
- Know your audience
- Research and prepare well
- Have plenty of relevant questions
Mastering your CV
Your CV will be the first impression of you to a prospective new employer, it’s critical you get it right. To help improve your CV, read our blog about Nailing the Perfect CV
We are always looking for driven individuals to join our team.