17 Nov Preparing for Interview
Before the Interview
Speak to your Seltek consultant for advice on interviewer style and what to expect.
Do you need to prepare a presentation? If so, keep it to the suggested time, usually 15 minutes. Ask your consultant to proofread your presentation and give suggestions on what the interviewer may be looking for.
Research the company and the job – Find out about the company, its products, its markets, and its competitors. What are their goals and If you know anyone that works there currently, it is worth speaking with them to see what it is like to work there?
Be prepared to explain your experience concisely as the interviewer is likely to begin by asking you to ‘Tell me about yourself.’
Know why you are interested in this role – What are your motivations? Relevant strengths? and relevant experience? – Think of examples from current/previous roles or lab experience which demonstrate strengths and experience.
Make a note of any questions you would like to ask – Will I have to relocate? What goals will I be expected to achieve? What training/help/support will be given to me in order to achieve those goals? What opportunities are there for career progression? What exactly does the job involve?
Know your CV, interviewers will likely ask you about experience outlined in your CV, so it is worth knowing what you have written as it may have been a while again.
Plan how to get to the interview and how long it will take. Allow extra time for the journey and ensure you have enough time to complete the interview without needing to rush off.
Wear smart business attire, it is always better to be too formal than not formal enough.
Mobile phone set to silent mode.
Arrive about fifteen minutes before your interview. Take time to settle before heading in and be aware of others you may meet there. Be polite and engaging with those you speak with.
Smile and shake their hand with a firm handshake. Greet them in a friendly manner and make an effort to use their name if you know it.
During the Interview
Sound interested, energetic and enthusiastic!
- Be succinct – short complete answers without too much ‘filler’.
- Ask open-ended questions (beginning with who, what, when, why, where, how: these all ask for information and make the interview more of a conversation.)
- Avoid jargon
- Be polite, do not swear or use colloquialisms
- Use the other person’s name regularly throughout the conversation (but not all the time).
- Refer to the company by name.
Be prepared to answer ‘objections’
If the interviewer raises a concern, try not to take it to heart, but instead take it as an opportunity to overcome this objection and showcase why you are right for the role.
- Understand their concern
- Relate this to a previous experience
- Show how you would resolve this
“I appreciate that I do not have experience with this product range, however this was similar to my last role. I took the time to use my existing knowledge and learn the specifics of their products and became highly successful, I feel comfortable that I would be able to learn ‘abc’ as I have experience with ‘xyz’ in order to become just as successful. Would this in addition to the support and product training you could provide help me to overcome this?”
Many interviewers will have a set of questions that they will ask all candidates in order to be able to directly compare different people’s answers. Think about what questions are likely to be asked, and practice your response.
- Competency-based questions will ask you to give examples of times you have demonstrated a skill or trait.
- Read through the job description, look at the required experience and think how this could be posed as a question.
- Technical questions may be necessary to demonstrate an understanding or expertise of a particular product or technology. Revise your knowledge and look at their website to see what is their most promoted product/technology, which will likely be the focus of their questions.
Closing the Interview
While you can only make one first impression, it is the last impression they will remember.
Try to finish the interview in a way that will set you apart. We suggest always having at least 3 questions to ask at the end to show interest. Make these about the role and the opportunity, while it is advised to prepare these in advance it may be that you wish to expand on something they mentioned earlier in the interview.
- What does success look like in this role?
- I see you have been here for x number of years, what made you stay?
- What does the training and development structure involve?
Finally, you want to ‘close’ the interview in the same way you can ‘close’ a sale, ask for the job or an invite to the next round. Be polite, professional, and confident in yourself, but be aware not to be too demanding. Start by thanking them for their time and interest, reemphasizing your interest in the opportunity, then ask if they have any reasons for them not to take you forward.
“It was great speaking with you today and I am very excited about this opportunity with yourself and company X, do you have any concerns about ability to be successful in this role?”
This is a clear indication of your intent and gives both you and the interviewer the opportunity to resolve any obstacles.
Immediately after your interview please telephone your consultant. Very often employers telephone us to give us feedback, and always ask ‘Have you heard from the candidate?’