So, they liked your CV (thanks to our trusty tips!) and now you’ve secured an interview – halfway there right? Not quite! We hear all kinds of feedback following interviews at VMA GROUP, some of the very best and some not so good… Learn from these interviewers’ feedback and our top tips to help you ace your next job interview and bring you one step closer to your dream communications, marketing, digital or change role:
Look The Part
“One candidate lost out because he was not wearing a tie, while another didn’t wear a jacket. We’ve also had feedback regarding unwashed hair, too much make up and chipped nail polish!”
Even if you are going for an interview at a young consumer brand, err on the side of caution when it comes to dress code and personal presentation. The culture may be relaxed and informal but you will often be interviewed by a Director or the CEO, who may be a little more traditional or corporate.
Do Your Homework
“Potential employers have commented that candidates didn’t know who the Chief Exec was, couldn’t answer basic questions about the size of the business or, most importantly, the challenges they face.”
It sounds obvious, but it’s always surprising how many candidates don’t do their research. Interviewers are always impressed when a candidate knows their stuff, so before stepping into the interview make sure you’ve researched the company as much as you can. Looking into their website, social media and recent achievements can give you a better understanding of the organisation’s culture and values and help to convey a real passion and interest in joining their team! Be sure to use your recruiter to find out what the client is like and what to expect.
Nearly 50% of interviewers would not offer the candidate the role if they had a lack of knowledge about the company they applied to (Twin Employment). This is such a simple but crucial preparation step, so be sure you leave some time to do so. Don’t be afraid to mention what you know about the company in the interview, even if you’re not directly asked.
Ensure you have a few questions prepared that you can ask at the end of the interview. Not only does this demonstrate a genuine interest to your interviewer, but it also allows you to find out what you want to know and see if they’re a company that YOU want to work for. As well as the more generic and common questions that some may ask, perhaps come up with a few more unique and targeted questions based on your research – it may help you to stand out against other applicants.
Get The Nerves Under Control
“I can remember one candidate telling me she spilled her tea all over the interviewer, while others have had to be cut short because their answers were so long.”
Easier said than done, we know; after all, interviews are not natural situations. Potential employers need to see you can handle a pressurised environment so it’s essential to get your nerves under control. Don’t be afraid to take a bit of time to think before answering a question or admit you don’t know the answer. Rambling on and on is perhaps one of the biggest bugbears for the companies we work with – keep your answers concise and to the point.
Remember to back yourself – you’ve been invited to the interview for a reason, they’re interested in you! Considering only 1 in 5 job applicants get offered an interview (Forbes), you’ve already made it past that first big hurdle. Make sure that you are clear on what you have to offer and the value that you can bring to the role.
Know Your CV Inside Out
“One candidate had forgotten about a role on their CV and looked completely blank when asked to describe it. Another took out their phone during an interview to remind themselves of their career path. One of our candidates had an offer withdrawn after giving the wrong degree grade in her interview and on her CV.”
Make sure you know everything that is on your CV (and that it is accurate) without having to think. Do not get this wrong as it immediately raises suspicions. You should not need your CV in front of you to remind you. Even your ‘interests’ section may get questioned, so make sure they are genuine and you know enough about your hobbies to hold a conversation about them!
Practice, Practice, Practice
Rehearse your responses to the most common interview questions and ensure you can back up your answers using examples of your own scenarios where you have demonstrated certain skills. The STAR method is a useful tool to use in doing so, to ensure that you answer the question in full and keep the interviewer engaged.
For example, ‘Tell me when you solved a problem at work’:
Situation – What was the specific situation? e.g. In my previous role as a marketing manager at a small start-up tech firm, we were struggling to gain consistent traffic on our company website.
Task – What were you required to do? I was required to boost the number of monthly visitors to our website, with the goal of in turn, increasing leads.
Action – What action did you take? In order to boost our traffic, I initiated a review of our website’s keywords and content, with the aim of improving our website’s overall SEO ranking.
Results- What were the results of you action on the initial situation? My actions resulted in our website moving up two pages on Google’s search page results, therefore uplifting traffic by 30% in one month, and as a result boosting our website leads by 10%.
Practicing these answers with a friend or family member, recording yourself or even talking to yourself in the mirror are great ways to prepare. There’s no such thing as being too prepared, practice really does make perfect!
Body Language Matters
One of the easiest way to show confidence without even saying a word, is body language! Maintaining a good posture, avoiding unnecessary fidgeting and keeping a smile on your face are all ways of displaying your engagement and creating a lasting impression. However, most importantly, 67%&nb