A Simple Guide to Successful Interviewing

So after investing time creating the perfect CV, you've now secured an interview for that exciting new role that will take you to the next stage of your career.

The interview is the employer's opportunity to get to know you better and see how well you'll fit into the organisation and it's your chance to find out more about the role and the company as well.

At Progressive GE, we know how important it is to get the right help and information when you're preparing for an interview. Our recruitment consultants will advise on what the employer is looking for, give some pointers on their priorities and provide some insight on the interviewers themselves. Being proactive is always a good idea so you may also want to call any colleagues who have worked with the employer you’re interviewing for.

Remember that an interview is a two-way conversation and it should be a positive experience so if you have any concerns either before or after your meetings then don’t be afraid to discuss this with your recruitment consultant who can investigate for you.

Before the Interview

When it comes to interviews, preparation is everything. We’ve put together a checklist to ensure you’ve completed the essential pre-interview preparation:

  1. Company name and the role you’ve applied for
  2. Date and time of the interview
  3. Names of the interviewers
  4. Location
  5. Why should they employ me?
  6. Why do I want to work there?
  7. Which of my key skills do I want to focus on?
  8. How will I get these across?
  9. What challenges does the company face?
  10. How can I be of value?
  11. What questions will I ask at the end of the interview?

Cover off these points and you'll have all the bases covered and you should be confident that you're ready. Now think about the type of interview - if it's a telephone interview, make sure you're in a quiet place to avoid interruptions and distractions and that you've got your CV and other relevant information to hand. Have a glass of water nearby to avoid a dry mouth, together with a pen and paper so that you can take notes as you go.

An increasingly common interview format is via video conference. Treat this as you would a face-to-face but be aware that microphones are always on. You should be in interview mode for a few minutes before it starts and after it finishes and always when you are in the room. Make sure you can hear them and they can hear you, keep your eye on the camera and react to the interviewer as you would if they were in the room.

During the Interview

Take a deep breath and calm your nerves – you've done your prep so you know you’re ready to give a great account of yourself. Here are a few of our interview dos and don’ts to make sure you continue to shine in person:

Do:

  • Bring extra copies of your CV just in case.
  • Dress appropriately. A smart suit is a safe bet – being overdressed isn't a problem, but being too casual is.
  • Ask questions but don’t interrupt, be polite – questions will help you engage with the interviewer and show you're a confident individual.
  • Be truthful if you don't know the answer to something but ask for examples if you need some clarification or details to help you give a great answer.
  • Have examples ready to demonstrate your key skills and experiences
  • Be prepared for a question about your salary. Be open about your current package but we advise you refer any discussion about what you're looking for back to your recruitment consultant who will work to get the best package for you.
  • Turn off your mobile phone

Don't:

  • Talk poorly of a previous employer, it's a big interview no-no
  • Be tempted to ask about salaries, holidays or other benefits. Speak to your recruitment consultant who will liaise with their HR team for details about company HR policies.
  • Answer questions with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Use the opportunity to talk about your experience.

After your interview

Now that your interview is over, think about what you felt went well and if there were areas you could improve on. Maybe you could have asked different questions, or perhaps there were a few questions you weren't prepared for. Whatever it is, jot them down while they're still fresh in your mind.

Your next step is to get in touch with your recruitment consultant, who will be keen to hear how the interview went. Things you cover should include:

  • Specific feedback from the interviewer about you and your performance
  • Your feedback, especially if you have any concerns that the company could look into and get back to you about
  • Timelines for possible next stages
  • Ask your recruitment consultant if it’s appropriate to send a follow up email directly to your interviewer

Overall we'd say that you should remember that the purpose of an interview is to ensure the company is a good fit for you – just as much as it is them screening you. Remember our tips and good luck!