Working Transitions

Step 4 – performing at interview - Ready for a Career Change? 4 steps to finding a job you love...

In the first 3 parts of our ‘finding a career you love’ series we explored how to assess your strengths and skills in order to decide your next move, how to create an impactful CV and how to seek out jobs and leverage your network to find roles yet to be advertised.   With a little bit of luck, you may now be at the stage where you’ve found a role that ticks your boxes, made your application and are now in preparation for the main event – the interview!

Remember, if you’ve been invited to interview the recruiter is reasonably confident that you can do the job – you’ve got the relevant skills on paper – it’s time to convince them that you, above all other candidates, are the best fit for the role.

In many cases, it is the best interviewee who gets the role – not the best candidate.  By preparing well ahead of the interview you will dramatically improve your performance.  Only 15% of Managers in the UK have ever received formal training on how to properly conduct an interview so with some preparation and research you may well know as much as the interviewee – a great boost for your confidence.

There are several areas that you should focus your preparation time on:

The Prospective Organisation.  Spend some time exploring their website – there is usually a wealth of information that you can glean – the hierarchy of the organisation, how teams are structured, the organisations core values, their key customers and the range of services or products that they provide. 

Take a look at their LinkedIn Page and Twitter feed to see what they are posting – if you see something you really like or that is of particular interest to you then don’t be afraid to mention it during the interview.  Also, don’t be afraid to look up your interviewer on LinkedIn – no doubt they will have explored your profile so don’t feel you can’t reciprocate.  It is expected these days and shows that you are doing your research and taking the interview seriously. Building rapport with your interviewer throughout the meeting, by demonstrating that you are interested in them, as well as the company, can be very engaging. Being aware of shared interest, or having mutual network contacts can help to build rapport quickly.

The Prospective Role – ensure that you have a really good grasp of the role that you are being interviewed for.  Go through the job specification with a fine-tooth comb and if there is any area that you are unsure of try to get clarification prior to your interview.  Understand how your current skills transfer to the new position and where you can add value to the organisation. 

The Questions – many interviews now consist predominantly of competency based questions - the idea being that one of the best indicators of future performance is real evidence of past performance. 

Competency based questions are designed to elicit how you behave in certain scenarios therefore the best preparation you can do is to think carefully about examples you can provide based on likely scenarios.  Think about how you have performed effectively in your current role and how you can utilise this experience within the new role.  Also, consider examples of situations that have not gone well but that have reached a successful outcome as a result of your actions.

Ensure you prepare some questions for the interviewer – these may be about the organisation or the role itself.  The questions you ask can contribute to the interviewer’s opinion of you so think them through carefully – questions about lunch breaks, holiday allowances and payrises – although important – are not usually well received at initial interview!

On the day – it may seem obvious but make sure you plan your journey and allow yourself plenty of time to arrive at your destination.  There is nothing worse than rushing and arriving at the last minute.  Arriving in plenty of time will allow you to grab a tea or coffee in the area and arrive at your destination feeling calm and collected.


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Working Transitions
26 January 2017
Supporting effective and successful organisational change


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