This blog was originally going to be on a completely different topic, but as anyone who has tried to write a blog before knows, sometimes your inspiration and your colleagues have other plans!
By way of context, before the pandemic we would regularly ask our consultants to send us pieces of advice that they want all their candidates to know. We’d then upload them to our website (you can find them on the “Extras” page if you’re interested) and keep adding new ones, so every time you refresh the page you’ll get fresh advice. Obviously, COVID put a halt to a lot of those kinds of activities, but now that we’re back from furlough and all caught up, we’ve finally managed to get it back on the priority list.
After emailing round my colleagues and getting their latest tips in, there was definitely an “interview ready” theme emerging – so I thought what better than to turn it into a blog?
Let’s get into it…
“Always research the company before any interview, as they may ask you what you know about them.”
We’d say 99% of the time your interviewer will ask if you know what they do, if you’ve seen their website, if you know what tech they use, and so on.
Our IT Consultant Ben highlighted that coming to an interview prepared with this information immediately shows the company that you are invested in the opportunity, and are genuinely interested in them and the role, not just the remuneration. It also saves time and allows you to focus more on why you would be a great hire for them, rather than speaking generically about your experience.
Researching the company is also a great way of finding out what you don’t know about them, so you can arrive at the interview with some relevant questions that you are actually interested in knowing the answers to. If you’re not sure how many teams there are, how the communication structures work or how your role will be managed, that’s a great starting point for a meaningful discussion. As we said in a blog before – when in doubt, ask!
If you are working with a recruitment consultant on a particular role, then they should be your secret weapon! As part of their job, your consultant should have information and insight into the company that you won’t find online. They may have been on-site, talked to different managers or even recruited some of the existing staff, so will be able to give you a unique perspective into what you can expect.
Lastly, it’s always important to remember that you are interviewing the company as much as they are interviewing you. The meetings or conversations that you have at this stage are your best opportunity to work out whether the role, the environment and the company goals line up with what you are looking for. Better to find that out at interview than when you are a month into the role!
“It’s important to highlight your relevant experience, what you’ve learned from it and how it will help you in your future role.”
“Don’t be afraid to mention your biggest hurdles, but then also talk about how you overcame them.”
Whatever your professional or life experience, you will have worked on many different projects, faced many uniquely challenging obstacles and found a way to handle various types of tricky situations. The skill is in picking out the ones that are most relevant to the role you are applying for.
Make sure you are filtering your knowledge and experience to identify the highlights that will make you successful in this role. Even if your interviewer asks about every job you have ever done, keep bringing it back to those key aspects that make you qualified for that specific role.
As our Contract Specialist Ash pointed out, mention your failed projects as well. Everybody knows you cannot be successful in everything, but it’s how you learn from those experiences that makes the difference. So bring up your hurdles, but focus on how they made you improve.
If you found this article helpful, or if you have some interview advice you can share, drop us a comment and let’s start a conversation.