Top tips to impress at your interviews

Here at Lorien, we see our fair share of CVs, with hundreds passing through our offices each day. We also pick apart the interview process regularly; helping candidates prepare and then checking in after to see how they felt about their answers, how well they think they’d align to the culture of the company, and what could have gone better. As an internal Talent Acquisition Business Partner - someone who recruits for a recruitment company – recruitment has become part and parcel of my every day. So, with this in mind, who better to advise on the interview process?

Company research

Most of the work comes at the very start of the process – the preparation and research.

  • Always research the company. Learn about their history, their mission, their values, their leaders and their products or services – this is the most basic information you should know. A good way to approach this is to try and be prepared enough to explain the company back to your interviewer.
  • Stay up to date with your research on the sector. It’s a good idea to set google alerts or subscribe to some specific publications related to your specialty if you haven’t already. This demonstrates a good understanding of the landscape the company fits into and it’s also a perfect way to illustrate your greater awareness and understanding, even if it’s just making small talk about something you read recently before the interview officially starts.
  • Look over the company’s content. Every single modern company will have a blog, or a social media feed, or create content in some capacity. Showing an awareness of this demonstrates that you are the type of candidate that goes above and beyond and understands not only the function of the company, but its culture. 
  • Make sure you know your interviewer’s correct title and the pronunciation of their name. This step takes minimal preparation but can make the world of difference, especially if your interviewer is used to correcting people. Often, if professionals have names that are difficult to pronounce, or wish to make their accounts more disability-friendly, they will have a speaker symbol with the pronunciation of their name on their LinkedIn profile that you can make use of.

Questions to prepare for

There are three core questions you should always prepare and consider before any interview:

  • Why you?
  • Why this role?
  • Why this company?

If these answers don’t come easily, it’s worth considering if the role is right for you. After all, the recruitment process is just as much about seeing if the company is the right fit for you as it is about seeing if you’re the right fit for the company.

Beyond these, focus on the core competencies and the job specification. What stories and examples do you have to demonstrate that you have these skills?

More and more interviewers are asking competency-based questions, so build up a stack of examples you would use to demonstrate your acumen and knowledge. Stick to a simple: introduction, problem, resolution structure when constructing these answers. A few examples of these types of questions include:

  • Give me an example of when you had to work to an important deadline
  • Give me an example of when you had to support others in a team
  • Tell me about a time you were able to anticipate a problem
  • Give me a recent example of when you have worked as a leader

Being yourself

Make sure that you arrive to your interview calm, collected and on time. It’s also important to note that you may be making an impression upon important people before you even enter the building – queuing for a coffee in a café round the corner, parking your car, or leaving the nearest station.  How you interact with the other people you meet in the building also says a lot about you so try to remain composed and your usual, friendly self.

When you do get into the interview officially, here are some things you will want to consider:

  • Making eye contact. It exudes confidence, approachability, and warmth.
  • Being passionate. Simply put, let them know you want the job!
  • Demonstrate your interpersonal and communication skills during the interview - try to be a good listener as well as a good talker.
  • Try to be memorable. It’s a careful balance between being too chatty or casual and being forgettable. A good way to ensure you nail this balance is to always let the interviewer dictate the tone and pace of the interview and to make use of the time you have to explain your history by telling it in a captivating way. Don’t be afraid to drop in some details about your heritage, an influential figure to you, or the moment you realised you wanted this career – tell these details as interesting memorable stories. Selling yourself with these extra descriptions will also make you stand out as well as set up the role as the next logical chapter in your story.
  • Ask questions. Again, the interview is for you as well as for them, and asking the right questions can say just as much about your passion as your answers.
  • Finally, be courteous and thank them for their time as you’re leaving.

After the interview

After the interview is over, take the time to drop your interviewer an email and connect on LinkedIn; it reaffirms your interest and shows you’re eager for future opportunities if there are any available.

For more job search and interview advice from Lorien click here, or view our other insights here.

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