Q: Have you prepared for your interview?
Q: Have you really prepared for your interview?
A: Erm, yes.
Q: Who is the CEO of the business?
Q: What is today’s share value?
Q: What questions are you going to ask the interviewer?
I’m sure you’ve grasped the point!
An interview is a two-way street. You would expect that whomever is interviewing you will have read your profile with interest, your credentials, your published articles perhaps?
You’re right; there is still a small contingent of poorly prepared interviewers who expect to be able to “wing it” – and they probably have done exactly that for years. Certainly the vast majority of clients prepare in advance as interviewers. The next Q is: As an Interviewee, do you??
You are at an advantage by increasing your awareness of your potential employer’s market strategy, external reputation (despite the messages produced to employees internally), current important business hires, changes and adventures, mergers and implications thereof.
“Please don’t show up and tell me what I or the company do…” is a common request from our clients and it’s really worth noting. This is because you’re simply not expected to tell the interviewer what he/she produces, how long they’ve worked for the firm, or the names of individuals in their team.
The Question of Questions:
I would strongly advise preparing a short but perfectly formed list of questions to work from – 4 or 5 should be enough. Interviewers tend to generalise that a firm, positive impression of a candidate results from asking competent, relevant questions in order to show interest and association with a product or brand. It’s most likely that if you don’t ask a question, then you may be perceived as not interested or indeed, not interesting…
A question asking the interviewer’s opinion on a market development will give an insight into their openness. In addition, do ask questions throughout the interview at natural pauses in the dialogue. This assists in building rapport quickly and for all the right reasons including the level of your engagement.
Revise, Revise, Revise….
Revise your CV, when did you make a change in your career, why and who inspired you? Were you recommended by someone for example? If so then let the interviewer know! Think also about your reasons for considering a job move at the moment. Don’t be over complicated but don’t shrug off this probing question – is it the structure, progression, reputation, opportunity to learn or a higher percentage of client facing activity for example which drives you? Just ensure you aren’t too critical of each company you’ve left because you are the common denominator!
You’re probably just what they’re looking for so try to describe and qualify your responses – you may have an alternative perspective on a market subject for example which can build intrigue and ongoing conversation. Just remember that transferable skills are exciting but they won’t usually make up for lack of interest. I’ll leave you with an example of strong preparation:
I represented a candidate to my client – he was one of two shortlisted for offer. The role was big, heavily sponsored by senior management and an exciting proposition all round. My candidate had competition in the form of an internal candidate – (every recruiter’s nightmare)…
My candidate was offered the job for a single reason – he was asked what the day’s share price was and he could answer…
If you are thinking of a career change, make sure to check out our latest opportunities here.