Here’s a controversial statement:
Interviews are scarier for interviewers than interviewees.
Not only do you have the responsibility of structuring the interview, knowing exactly what you want and bringing the best out of a candidate, you have some pretty tough decisions to make at the end of it. Life-changing decisions, in fact.
But, before you go into interviewer meltdown, here are some tips to make sure you are fully prepared for the task ahead.
1. Know your business.
Not just your job.
That moment at the end of every interview when you ask the candidate if they have any questions? Make sure you can answer them. Whatever they may be. What skills does the business need long-term? Be ready to spot talent and think outside the box. They may not be right for this precise role but if you know the entire business inside out, you will be in a position to refer them, develop them and potentially hire someone who has the ability to make an impact in a way you never thought possible. So, re-learn your business in the same way that your potential candidate will be learning it for the first time. And don’t get caught out.
2. The last minute CV print-out.
A cursory glance over a candidate’s CV five minutes before they walk in the room just isn’t going to cut it. Prepare for the interview in the same way your candidate will have. If they knew your name in advance, presume they have researched you on Linkedin (maybe on Facebook too, god forbid) and do the same back. That way you can tailor your questioning to a real understanding of that person, getting the most out of your time together. Remember, you are both on trial here.
3. Start as you mean to go on.
Make the beginning of the interview as positive as possible. Putting your candidate at ease is going to help you analyse their suitability far more easily than if they are stressed or on edge. So start by giving information, rather than with the hard questions. Talk a little about your role, the vacancy, how it fits in with the business as a whole. Make them feel excited about the position and ease them into questions based on your knowledge of their experience. Remember when you’ve been on the other side and make this interview memorable for the right reasons.
4. Be specific.
This is where your knowledge of the candidate’s experience will really come into play. Dig deeper into their CV. What did that project return for the business? How did they create company buy-in for that campaign? A good candidate with a robust CV will relish these opportunities to share their expertise and knowledge. A bad candidate will expose themselves. An easy decision for you.
5. Culture first.
The last thing you want to do is be responsible for bringing in ‘that guy’ to the business. The one that simply doesn’t fit in, is difficult to work with and, no matter how extensive their experience, just never feels part of the team. Leave time in the interview for finding out about the person behind the CV. What do they do out of work? Generic answers won’t do here, do a bit of digging, where were they last weekend? Does that resonate with how your business or department operates? It’s not just about do you like them: will they bring that something extra to your company that it needs? And, from their point of view, will this be an enjoyable place for them to work? Only you can answer that one…
We can help you prepare for the task of interviewing. Just give our team a call and we will talk you through the process from start to finish. Or follow us on twitter for more interviewer insights.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could read the mind of your interviewer?
Until we learn how to do that, being prepared with some of the most commonly asked questions can really set you up for a killer interview. Whilst we don’t recommend a ‘canned’ response to questioning, knowing what could be asked and what you will say will help you feel more confident, and stop you being caught off guard.
These are some of the topics you are more than likely to be quizzed on in job interviews, and how you could respond.
1. What do you know about the company?
This is not an opportunity to demonstrate how good you are at memorising the ‘About’ page on their website. Instead, demonstrate an understanding of the company goals, and how they align with your own. By showing that you understand and appreciate the vision of the business you are already fitting in with their culture, ambition and values. Hiring you should be a no-brainer.
2. Why should we hire you?
Don’t be shy! If you are asked this question you are in luck. It gives you the ultimate springboard to sell yourself, and that is exactly what an interview is all about. You can do the job, you can deliver great results and you can be part of the fabric of the business. This is your chance, don’t waste it.
3. What is your greatest weakness?
Aaaah! The dreaded question! Do you reel of a list of personal afflictions and remain humble or say you’re perfect and high five them on the way out? Finding the middle ground with this question is key. Be prepared with something you are working on. Like: “I have found public speaking challenging in the past but my recent role requires team management and I am finding new ways to develop this skill.” Hired.
4. What are you looking for in a new job?
Read the job specification. And then read it back to them.
5. What do you like to do outside of work?
Bit of advice: get a life. Telling them you like to go out and get pissed every Saturday night is not going to cut it. Think about what makes you tick, and do your research. If you’re fortunate enough to know who is interviewing you before you walk in the room you might find you have something in common. Love camping or languages or maybe you studied art in college? Consider this a first date and be interesting. It’s not just your work ethic they are interested in.
Most of all, have faith in your abilities. They want to meet you so you’re already in the game. It’s up to you to close it down.
Plus, you probably have never been in situation as bad as some of these terrible interviews, check them out here or contact us to find out how to nail the perfect interview.
When an interview goes badly you just know it.
From cringey to awkward to downright hostile we’ve all been locked in a room before that we just can’t wait to escape from. Hopefully you’ve never been in a situation as bad as some of these though. Take comfort in the fact that there is always someone who has messed it up worse than you.
Here are 5 things you should never do in an interview. And yes, they all actually happened. Get ready to hide behind the sofa.
1. Taking a call.
We don’t care if your mum needs you to pick up milk on the way home or if your wife is going into labour. Interviewers see nothing ruder than you picking up the phone halfway through a question. Turn it off and focus on the task in hand. If you’ve got somewhere more important to be then be there instead.
2. Nicknames aren’t cool.
“Hi, I’m Dave but my friends call me Dave The Rave”. Having a personality is cool, having a nickname is not. You are not there to make friends. You may get some smiles in the room but you won’t get the job. Be professional and wait until you’re hired to show your true colours. I’m sure they will give you a new nickname in no time, you party animal you…
3. Don’t cry about it.
If you’re asked a tough question or feel under pressure, for god’s sake, hold it together. Your interviewee is not your therapist. Take a deep breath and open a bottle of wine when you get home. If you break in the interview you’ll never cope in the office. And no matter how nice they are about it, if you start to cry you’ve lost the job. Be strong. It’s not going as badly as you think.
4. Know what you want.
If you fail to prepare you prepare to fail. Cheesy but true. Don’t get the business confused with the competitors you’re interviewing with tomorrow. Don’t act like this meeting has come around unannounced and seriously, don’t forget your interviewer’s name. Being able to demonstrate your planning skills also shows you have passion for the role. Be clear that you are entering this meeting with one objective, to win that dream job.
5. Don’t go over the top.
Have an understanding of the expectations of the interview. You might be able to pull off a killer musical theatre act, but now is not the time to showcase those skills. And yes, we have heard of candidates putting on a performance for their interviewers. Cringe.
The best advice we can give you is to be prepared. You can check out our top tips for planning question responses here. In the meantime, remember the more prepped you are the less likely you are to find yourself in one of these awkward situations.
If you would like to have a chat with your recruitment team on interviews planning, get in touch. Although the musical theatre thing, that was one of ours. Just a warning.
Here’s a great little piece of online recruitment knowledge we’d like to share with you…
Why should I hire you? – this is one of the most daunting questions you can be asked by a recruiter in an interview. How do you answer this? If you already know what the employer is looking for in your answer then it makes answering it a little bit easier.
They want to know if you match up to the requirements of the position. List your experiences and how these are transferable to this position. Also add any other experiences you may have that will benefit the role further.
They will want to know that you will fit in well with their company. Explain how you are a team player, hard worker, committed and adaptable to situations and changes – when/if the going gets tough you can pull you weight. Do your homework on the company and praise their products, service, reputation etc.
They will also want to know that you are committed to the job. Tell them how you are hard- working, motivated and dedicated. This is the job you want. It’s not just a stepping stone in your career and that you want to contribute to the success of their company.
Now that you know why the interviewer is asking this question, you will be better prepared with your answer, if you enjoyed this post then be sure to subscribe to our online recruitment blog for lots more related articles full of recruitment tips, advice and help.