The internet is awash with a wide variety of blogs, websites, and newsletters offering advice on how to maximize your interview performance. I like to promote the ‘less is more’ approach to interview preparation. Not for one minute do I want to encourage you to attend your interview underprepared and I am certainly not going to tell you to ‘wing’ any part of your interview. But of all the candidates that come to me, there are two areas that are frequently neglected or overlooked in terms of their importance. One is the Job Description – many candidates fail to realize how important it is to review the Job Description and ensure that they have tested their competency in all the areas listed on the JD. Preparing answers to questions ‘word for word’ is, in my opinion, the equivalent of interview suicide. The answers that you prepare to these ‘imagined questions’ are too narrow in context and may, in fact, restrict your ability to sell yourself at the interview. By widening your preparation ‘frame’ to encompass the items listed in the job description you are already putting yourself ahead of the competition.

The second nugget that I will share with you (from my experience) is the importance of research – the company, the role, and the sector. Some would say they are all the same but there are subtle differences and in my experience, this is a highly neglected area in interview preparation. Take a deep dive into the ‘story’ of the company and when they ask you the ‘magic question’ what do you know about our Company? Be prepared to ‘wow’ the interviewer/s with your understanding of their business. This means more than just regurgitating ‘lingo’ from the company website – it involves showing the employer or interviewer that you are genuinely interested in the nuances of their business. If I ask a candidate the ‘magic question’ and the response goes like this ‘I was on your website and it looks very nice’ or ‘you offer X service or Y training, immediately I have lost a bit of interest as it is clear that the candidate has not done their research. You need to outdo the competition and ensure that you will be remembered when the interview points are being tallied. Have a look at the company’s media profile, recent newsworthy events or their company values or vision for the future. It is this level of preparation that will get you noticed at interview. Two simple and very often overlooked aspects of the interviewing process. Does it work – 98% of the candidates that we prepare for interview will tell you retrospectively that it absolutely does. These two candidates have succeeded at interview having engaged in a New Links interview preparation session:
“I’m delighted to tell you I had an interview for a tutor job and I just got a phone call telling me I was successful. The previous interview and your interview prep really had me prepared this time. Thank you so much for helping me reach my potential”
“I’d like to thank you for this session. It was very helpful and gave me insight into how hiring managers think. Looking at my CV now, I actually see myself in a different light”
For more information on improving your interview skills visit our website at www.newlinkstraining.com

Janet Tumulty
1st October 2018