Ever since venturing out and starting my own boutique headhunting agency, my mission was to always give back to the community and create the best candidate experience I could. Part of that experience includes preparing candidates for their interviews and guiding them through the process; providing them with encouragement and feedback along the way. Here are just some of what I think is most important for candidates to keep in mind as they prepare for interviews.
Before attending your interview, make sure to do your homework! Research the company you will be interviewing with - familiarise yourself with their company mission, vision and what their goals are. More often than not, the interviewer will spring the “So, tell me about my company” question on you. By reading ahead and doing your research about the company, you are indirectly showing the interviewer your confidence, your investment in learning more and how you might be able to contribute to the company mission. The more engaged you are with the interviewer and the company, the better you fare. Nothing turns people away more than coming across disinterested and ingenuine. Furthermore, doing prior research about the company opens up the opportunity for you to ask the interviewer questions. As the saying goes, “If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail”.
As you are speaking to the interviewer, be sure to have a notepad and pen with you to scribble down some notes and potential questions you might have. Not only does this show you are attentive and actively listening to the interviewer, this also allows you to ask the interviewer good questions about the company - anything from work culture to the company’s management style. The aim here is to make the interviewer go “Oh, that is an excellent question!”. As an employer myself, I feel impressed when a candidate can make me pause to think about an answer to a question. It shows me that they are thoughtful and have a lot of ideas to contribute to the organisation. Additionally, asking the interviewer questions opens the door to building a rapport with them. As humans, we are social creatures and we all value quality relationships. Building a connection with the interviewer can make your candidacy stand out even more.
Passion and enthusiasm. Two qualities that I think are incredibly important in candidates (and humans in general). Do not be afraid to be a bit more forward and show your eagerness about your profession as well as the job. Show that you are keen to learn, and are passionate about widening your knowledge base. Nothing is more attractive than demonstrating your passion for the job you are applying for. It shows tenacity - something that I think many candidates lack.
Last but not least, do not ever give up after unsuccessful interviews. Just to be clear, candidates are more likely to encounter more unsuccessful interviews than successful ones. It is all part of the process and trust me when I say that it is worth it in the end. Not only do you get plenty of opportunities to pick up tips and tricks to improve your interview game, you get plenty of practice to build up your confidence too!
Over the years, my experience has led me to observe what makes a difference between a good candidate, and an outstanding one. With practice, preparation and time, you will be able to see a difference in your confidence and performance from one interview to another. Believe me, it will all be worth your effort.