Make An Employer Fall In Love With You!
How To Make An Employer Fall In Love With You - Tips To Ace That Interview.
Disclaimer: following the advice in this post will not guarantee that you get the job, but will help you feel confident in interviews and impress your potential employer!
Valentine’s Day has been and gone, but with Spring in the air, and flowers starting to bloom, you might be thinking of a fresh start in your career. In my last post, I talked about keeping career planning… this post follows on with some practical advice for job interviews.
Going to a job interview is a bit like going on a first date – it’s probably the first time you and your potential employer have met face to face, you are both a bit nervous (having been on both sides of the recruitment process, I can vouch for the fact that interviewing can be as nerve-wracking as being interviewed!), and it’s the first opportunity to find out more about each other and see if you have chemistry.
If you’ve been offered an interview for a role, then you have already ticked enough of the employer’s boxes that they want to know more about you – you’ve shown through your application, that you have the right skills and experience for the role – now it’s the time to talk more about yourself, show your interest and enthusiasm for the job and the organisation, and find out more about the employer and the role. Below are some easy tips to help you prepare for the interview, structure your answers, and feel confident when you walk into that interview room.
Research: Undertake some more in-depth research in the organisation you’ve applied to, and the role itself. LinkedIn is your friend here – you can use it to find out more about the people who are interviewing you and similar roles in the company. Look at the organisation’s website – what’s the vision and values? What are their big projects? Use this information in your interview responses, or to help inform questions that you might want to ask. Go back to the job description and look at the language used to describe the role and use this in your interview responses – this really helps establish rapport between you and the interviewer(s), and shows that you’ve made the effort to engage with them on their terms.
Be Practical: Make sure you know where the interview is, how you’re going to get there, how long it will take, what you will wear etc. Best practice is to arrive no more than 10 minutes early.
Use the Job Description and / or Person Specification: Remind yourself of what skills and experience the employer is looking for. The interview questions are likely to be based on the role and role requirements – imagine that each requirement is a question. For example, if the job description specifies that they are looking for someone who can manage and prioritise a portfolio of projects or accounts, you might be asked the question ‘Tell us how you prioritise your work and manage different projects’.
Be a STAR! The STAR technique is really helpful in structuring answers to interview questions. STAR stands for:
Situation: where you were / the role you were in
Task: what you were asked to do
Action: what you did – be specific in the actions you took
Result: the result of the actions you took. Employers are results focused so being explicit about what you have achieved helps them understand your capabilities
Practice: Ask a friend to run a mock interview with you. Get them to ask questions based on the job description. Practising answers in your head and saying them out loud can often result in different response. Taking the time to actually vocalise what you want to say can increase your confidence, and you can ask for feedback from your friend.
Prepare Some Questions: asking questions to your employers shows your interest in them and gives you the opportunity to find out more about the role. Questions might include:
What would a typical day in the role look like?
What training / induction is offered for this role?
What would you want the successful candidate to have achieved within six months in the role?
What is your favourite thing about working for this company?
There’s also lots of resources online to help prepare some questions.
Be Enthusiastic! Employers want to see your personality and that you are interested in working in that organisation. It’s OK to smile in interviews. Talk with passion about what you’ve achieved.
Finally, if you are not successful, ask for feedback. It’s not easy to do this, but it will help you for next time. Don’t take it personally – keep going and you will get there!
Esme Caulfield is a professional People Developer and organisational Change Manager with a strong background in careers advice and employability training. Her work is based on empowering people to be aware of their strengths, talents and achievements and using the confidence that gives them to enable them to progress in their career. Whilst working at the University of Salford, she successfully led a graduate employability programme, working with over 300 final year students and recent graduates to develop their job application and interview skills and place them with local businesses.