People tend to adopt similar strategies in their approach to interview preparation, but what will help you stand out from other job seekers? Louise Campbell, Managing Director of Robert Walters Ireland provides a few tips on how to succeed at the interview stage.
Talk to people in the industry and ask questions that will provide insight into the company’s culture, success factors, clients and competitors, as well as its growth and market share.
Do quality research
If what you know about the organisation interviewing you is available on its website, you can be sure other potential candidates will have already accessed the same information. Instead, be proactive and use other channels to do your research. Talk to people in the industry and ask questions that will provide insight into the company’s culture, success factors, clients and competitors, as well as its growth and market share. Also refer to journals, articles and media coverage of the company to get a sense of their activities and marketing strategies. Industry knowledge and your personal observations will strongly differentiate you from other applicants.
Testimonials are powerful tools that can strongly differentiate one candidate from another. Tap into your network of contacts and business partners from various industries and find out if they can write a few words on how they feel about you and your work. Collate them into a folder and use it as a self-marketing tool. Hirers tend to be more impressed with what others say about you than what you say about yourself.
It is essential that you are well-prepared to ask questions that will position you as someone who can contribute to the organisation. The following are some questions that are popular with hirers:
- What are the organisation’s growth plans for the next five years?
- What are my career progression opportunities in this organisation?
- What is the company’s culture like?
- Are there learning and development opportunities?
- Are there opportunities to work for the organisation’s overseas offices?
- How would you see someone like myself making a change in your company?
- What is the company’s desired goal/objective for the person taking this role?
Study the job description and think carefully about each aspect so that you can ask specific, insightful and thoughtful questions, therefore demonstrating that you have a genuine interest in the role. The interview is also your opportunity to find out if the job is right for you.
Most importantly, you need to be positive, poised and confident. Focus on your strengths but acknowledge your weaknesses and explain what action you are taking to improve in these areas.
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