Interview preparation has never been so competitive
I’ve been in recruitment/executive search industry for over 20 years and every year I think candidates take interview preparation to a new level. The UK has a proud tradition of believing in the gifted amateur and indeed for many years candidate preparation was limited. It was also harder to prepare pre-internet. Like everything, though, the world has professionalised. In many cases for the better, in some ways without any effect (has anyone become a better footballer for having their initials on their tracksuit? I doubt it, but it’s lightening a few parents’ wallets). Having had one of the most extraordinary hiring markets in memory as the economy unlocked post-COVID, there has been a softening in terms of hiring demand. I don’t think we will see unemployment spike enormously, but the competition for each job will intensify and employers expect far more from applicants in this sort of environment.
We really appreciate at Fram that preparing for a job interview can be nerve-wracking and time-consuming. We’re a really experienced team and we’ve worked with all different candidate personality types, but the glue that binds everyone is that looking for a job can be hard work. However, with the right preparation and mindset, you can impress your potential employer and land your dream job. Whether you're preparing for an in-person interview or a virtual one, here are some tips to help you prepare for the big day.
First impressions matter
The first few minutes of an interview are crucial in creating a lasting impression. In fact, some experts say that humans form an impression within the first 7 seconds! It's important to arrive early, at least 15 minutes before the scheduled time, so that you have enough time to get settled and compose yourself. Always assume that there might be a delay in your journey time, so give yourself enough buffer time. Dress appropriately and make sure you have a firm handshake and maintain eye contact with your interviewer. Think of some small talk you can make whilst walking to the meeting room with the interviewer or during the first few minutes of the meeting to ease into the conversation.
Do your research
Research the company thoroughly before the interview, as mentioned things have never been so professional or competitive. Visit the firm’s website and social media pages to learn about their history, products or services, and culture. You should also research the competition to gain a better understanding of the industry landscape. Look for recent articles about the company on relevant industry news websites. If they are a listed firm, make sure you know the share price and their market cap. This research will help you answer questions about why you want to work for the company and what you can bring to the table.
Listen and adapt
During the interview, it's important to listen carefully to the questions being asked and tailor your responses accordingly. Bring in relevant quantifiable achievements and talk in percentages to demonstrate objectivity. Employers look for a number of things throughout an interview, including how you can benefit the company, how much you want the role, whether you will be a good cultural fit, what motivates you, and how qualified you are.
Be positive and confident
Throughout the interview, maintain a positive and confident tone. Explain your reasons for leaving your current employer without being negative. Be clear about where you fit into your current company and your role. Explain what objectives you are measured on and how you have exceeded these expectations. Be prepared to talk about your strengths and weaknesses and how you have tried to improve upon them. Finally, ask questions that demonstrate your interest in the company and align with your personal values.
If you're preparing for a virtual interview, test your equipment in advance to avoid technical glitches. Consider your background, and make sure it's clean and neutral with good lighting. Prepare notes outside of view to help you jot down questions or key points. Silence your phone and remove distractions, and slow down your responses to account for any technical delays. Finally, expect the unexpected, as your interviewer might be working from home.
After the interview, follow up with the interviewer via email to thank them for their time and express your continued interest in the role. This shows that you're professional, courteous, and interested in the opportunity.
Preparing for a job interview is all about doing your homework, being positive and confident, and listening carefully to the questions being asked. Whether it's an in-person or virtual interview, remember to maintain eye contact, smile, and be yourself. Don’t forget that it’s a two-way street and you need to understand if the firm, people, and management are for you, not just today but over the next 3-5 years.
About Fram Professionals
Fram Professionals is a specialist professional services recruitment consultancy based in Bedfordshire. We work with clients within the university “golden triangle” region of London, Cambridge, and Oxford.
Contact us on [email protected] or call 01525 864 372 for an informal chat about our services.
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