Tips and advice for a positive interview

Its easy to forget that a job interview goes both ways; it’s as important for you, as a candidate, to determine if the job, the company, the culture, and the work environment is right for you as it is for the company to determine if you’re right for them.

When people say a job interview should be a two-way street, they mean it—but you must make sure you actually get into the driver’s seat and take control of the conversation.

Remember a job interview gives you the chance to assess whether this is the right job for you. Unfortunately, most of us spend the entire interview just answering questions.

Don’t forget that only 7% of the interviewer’s opinion of you is formed by what you say – the rest is judged on how you present yourself.

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Our 4 step guide

Before the Interview

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare….

You need to be able to sell yourself and why you want to work specifically for the company rather than just wanting a job!

  • Find out where the venue is beforehand, how to get there and how long it takes
  • Find out what you can about your interviewer, ensure you can pronounce their name correctly and their position. Look at their profile on LinkedIn, see if any of your business contacts know them
  • Get your outfit ready the night before
  • Find out what kind of interview it will be so you can prepare i.e. Competency-based, Technical, Face-to-face, Telephone, Virtual
  • Examine the person specification and your CV/application form, and think about what type of questions they will ask you
  • Prepare answers for the main questions – for example, why do you want the job, what are your strengths and weaknesses, what the main tasks in this job are. Have about three or four points for each answer
  • Do your research, look at the company website and check their annual report and press releases. Learn as much as possible about the position from the job description.

It’s Quiz Time

Prepare your questions for them – this demonstrates your interest in them and will help you decide if this is the right move for you.

Good questions to ask are those which demonstrate your keenness to develop within the organisation and take on responsibility.

A word of caution though – make sure these are relevant to the organisation. If you are being interviewed for a position in a company of ten people, then saying you would like to develop to managing director as quickly as possible is not realistic and may put an interviewer off as they will know your expectations are unlikely to be met.

It can also be an opportunity for you to demonstrate your research into the organisation by asking about relevant articles you may have read. For example, you might say ‘I read in the newspaper last week that you are expanding into Europe. Is the company thinking of expanding into any other markets?’

It is worth remembering that the interview is also a chance to find out more about the role and the organisation so that you can make an informed decision if it is offered to you. You might want to ask:

  • What does success look like for the business for this role in the first 90 days?
  • What factors distinguish successful employees from less successful ones?
  • What has happened to previous post-holders in terms of development?

Questions you might want to ask:

  • What are the most enjoyable and the least enjoyable aspects of the role?
  • Is there scope for promotion in the future?
  • How would you describe the work culture here?
  • In what way is performance measured and reviewed?
  • What are the most important issues that you think your organisation will face?
  • You have recently introduced a new product/service/division/project; how will this benefit the organisation?
  • What challenges could I face in the first three months?

Dress to impress

Make sure you are dressed appropriately for the position you are being interviewed for. Some companies have a much more relaxed approach to dress than others, but always make sure you wear a smart version of the clothes usually worn by the people in the role for which you have applied. If in doubt wear a suit. You won’t be criticised for being too smart, but they will make a note of it if you come in wearing a pair of jeans and a t-shirt!

Check the letter carefully, particularly if there is a social element to the interview and be guided by any instructions that are given to you.

The following tips from employers should help:

  • Ensure that you maintain impeccable standards of personal hygiene, but avoid using overpowering deodorants, aftershave or perfume.
  • Appropriate dress – traditional rather than high fashion.
  • Ensure your hair is neat and tidy.
  • Ensure that your shoes and clothes are scrupulously clean and maintained. Unpolished shoes and missing buttons will not create the desired impression.
  • Avoid inappropriate jewellery. Unless you are entering an extremely unconventional environment, the interview is not the place for obvious body piercings, ankle chains or personalised necklaces. Men should restrict any jewellery to cuff links, and a signet or wedding ring.

Check yourself out first!

Review your CV, think through your career history and anticipate the questions you will be asked and prepare some answers. Clients are impressed with candidates who are prepared for their interview. Rehearse with a friend or colleague if necessary.

What do they want?

List what you think the prospective employer will want from the ideal candidate and consider whether this is you. Summarise your involvement in relevant projects associated with your previous employment so when asked you can give fluent comprehensive answers to the interviewer.

Think about what challenges their business may have within Treasury and how you help beyond day to day tasks

Are you their perfect candidate?

Consider your key strengths, weaknesses and motivations for leaving your current role and desire to join the new employer. Prepare to be asked about them. Think about the contributions you have made to your current business and the ones in your last 5 roles/5 years

Any Concerns?

Remember this may be the last opportunity you will get to explore and alleviate any concerns or worries you have about the new role directly with the client prior to being offered a role, later stages of the interview process may be carried out with other company employees rather than the client themselves.

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