Work has been keeping me busy the last few weeks and unfortunately I haven’t been able to give too much attention to the blog. The main reason for things being so hectic at work is the increasing client wins my agency has had come in – which is always great! However, lack of resources has meant we have had to do a lot of hiring and I’m now interviewing candidates non-stop.
Which leads me to this post, after seeing some very impressive candidates, I’ve also seen some not so impressive ones… So I’m going to share my thoughts on the top ways you can slay that all important job interview and land your dream job! (can you tell I’ve been wanting an excuse to use the word slay in a blog post ha!)
Just to caveat though, that some of these tips are personal preference and suit my nature as a manager, and also quite specific to the industry that I’m in.
Research, research, research
This is one of the key downfalls when I’m meeting new candidates, and probably one of the more obvious pieces of advice when on the job search. And yet I still see candidates come in and fail this question over and over again – ‘So how would you explain our business model?’ This is actually less relevant to the current role I’m hiring for, but at my previous company it was one of the first questions I asked.
At the time, I was hiring for a junior marketing role and the company was a B2B events company (the simplest way to explain it), the company was actually a subscription based network that provided members access to events, content and training. However this isn’t too obvious from a simple google search. You actually had to read through our content, our blogs, our customer case studies – to really get a feel for what we did.
If you are unable to explain what the company you are interviewing for does, then it probably isn’t the right role for you. So my advice is to do your research! Don’t just go off the job spec, really stalk the company. Check out their LinkedIn page, social channels, read any articles or press releases on the business. Go a step further even, and see if they are up for any trade awards. Where was the hiring manager before? What are their customer’s saying about them?
This research will ultimately enable you to relate your key skills with the company and role at hand. You’ll also feel confident enough to answer almost anything about the company which will make you come across confident.
But don’t just reel off the ones you find online! It’s pretty obvious when I get to the end of an interview and ask the candidate if they have any questions for me. I usually get a short pause followed by – “Ummm actually yes, what do you think success looks like in this role?”
To which, I usually answer by repeating detail around the KPIs the department works towards, how proactive they are as well as their ability to integrate with the overall team. In my head I’m screaming “original much?”.
That’s not to say it’s a bad question. It’s a great question, but its also one of the first ones that come up in a google search. So what does this tell me? 1) Yes, you’ve done your pre-interview research 2) Unfortunately you weren’t creative enough to come up with an original way to phrase this question or position in context to this role.
So what should you ask at your next job interview?
Let’s break it down. You want to find out ‘what success looks like‘, however about 15 minutes ago I told you about KPIs and what I’m looking for in a candidate. So you should be pretty aware on what success should look like. What can you ask though, to make you seem attentive and impress the hiring manager?
For example you could ask; “What would be the main objectives you would like to see me deliver in the first 6-12 months of the role?” I actually reworked this one from an article from Marie Claire. This question tells me you are accountable and want to understand what you would be expected to deliver, the timings on the other hand, show that you are driven and highlight your eagerness to drive results. This question will also be helpful for you as you will be able to understand how quickly you are able to develop within the role.
First impressions count
This isn’t just limited to the first face-to-face meeting. Your first impression happens from your application, cover letter, CV and also more importantly your LinkedIn profile and social channels.
Firstly you need to make sure all your information across all your communication lines up. In my experience, I’ve had CVs come in that were very strong, but then found their LinkedIn profile lacked the same attention – and in some cases had entirely different details listed.
Make sure your social activity is also kept professional, especially if you highlight this on your CV. One of my biggest turn-offs is a candidate that lists their Twitter profile on their CV then tweets negatively about their current company/role – what do you think this tells future employers?
Secondly, make sure you are presentable and (at least try to act) confident when first greeting your potential new employer. I actually recently had an interview where someone turned up in a white t-shirt and had the weakest handshake and was so timid when I first greeted them. Singularly, these probably wouldn’t have been so bad. However all together it just set the whole meeting off on the wrong foot, needless to say they did not progress to the second stage interview.
Make them remember you!
Being memorable is probably the most important advice of all. If you can master some technique on how to ensure the interviewer doesn’t forget you then you are definitely slaying that interview! In my experience, I find that if I’m unable to describe what I liked or disliked about them a few hours after meeting them – they weren’t memorable enough, which leads me to doubt if they would be a worthy candidate to hire.
In reality if you were unable to impress the hiring manager enough to make you memorable then they probably won’t remember you when making their final choices for the hire.
There are ways to “cheat” this. Your skills might not be as impressive as a candidate who has 5+ years experience on you. However highlighting your positive attitude and charisma will make you stand out in the employers eyes just as much as background and experience.
So that makes my top tips for slaying your job interview, do you have any tips yourself? Perhaps you’re on the job hunt or looking for you next move? Feel free to comment below or tweet me at @arcasela