Interview Secrets & Top Tips

PREPARATION, PREPARATION, PREPARATION. And then MORE PREPARATION.

 

Research the company, their products, what’s going on in their industry sector, their competitors, any awards they’ve won and also about the person who’s going to be interviewing you.

When you are preparing for an interview, there is plenty of "free" information easily and publicly available through company sites (Check Glassdoor, Github, Linkedin, Google). But it’s no good scanning the home page for five minutes as you munch on a piece of toast on the tube/bus/train on the morning of the interview (although, unbelievably, many candidates don’t even bother doing the bare minimum of preparation).

If you want this role, prepare to nail the interview!

And assuming you know who is going to interview you, research the interviewer/s. Look to see if they have a short biography on their company website or, even better, a profile on LinkedIn, so that you can see how they personally developed their career. Again, there may be press pieces about them online. If there’s a photo of them, add it to your file of research; the fewer surprises the better. You will pick up some background details that might give you a couple of ideas for small talk before and after the interview.

PREP DONE, now it’s time for your interview!

DRESS FOR SUCCESS - Plan out a wardrobe that fits the organization and its culture, striving for the most professional appearance you can accomplish. 

ARRIVE ON TIME, RELAXED & PREPARED FOR THE INTERVIEW – DO NOT BE LATE and give off a bad impression from the off.

MAKE GOOD FIRST IMPRESSIONS - Be polite and offer warm greetings to everyone you meet from the parking attendant to the receptionist to the hiring manager.

OWN THE ROOM - When you walk in to an interview, be confident. Smile, hold your head high and make eye contact.

THE HANDSHAKE - A firm handshake is a good thing. Don’t break their hand but don’t give a sloppy limp shake either.

BE PASSIONATE – Show them how much you want this job and why you love what you do.

BE YOURSELF – Be Authentic, Upbeat, Focused, Confident, Candid, and Concise. You know you better than anybody. Believe in yourself, remember they like your profile already, now it’s about talking about why you right and making sure there is a fit culturally.

ASK QUESTIONS - The interview should be a two-way dialogue, not you simply answering a series of questions. The more dynamic the conversation the more you will impress. The more interesting and relevant questions you ask, the more you will stand out. 

REMEMBER TO CLOSE - Not many people do this but ask your interviewer for feedback there and then. A simple but effective line you can use when you are being escorted back to reception is, “So what’s your gut feeling?” // “Do you have any reservations?” // “Do you feel as though I would be a success in the role?”

 

MOST COMMON "STANDARD" INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

We have conducted vast research over the last 12 months to help you in securing your dream job and below are the top 21 questions for you to prepare for:

 

  1.     What circumstance brings you here today?
  2.     Tell me about yourself?
  3.     What is/was the greatest frustration in your current/last job?
  4.     Talk me through a difficult scenario at work and how you dealt with it?
  5.     Tell me how you worked effectively under pressure?
  6.     Describe the hardest decision you have faced in the past 12 months?
  7.     Tell me about our company? Give your top-line analysis?
  8.     What specifically interests you about this job?
  9.     What are the biggest strengths you would bring to this organisation?
  10.     What are the first 5 things you’d do if you got this position?
  11.     What are the 5 things you need to be successful in this position?
  12.     What type of work environment do you thrive best within?
  13.     What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made in your life and how have you overcome it?
  14.     Talk about a time that you took a risk and failed, and one where you took a risk and succeeded.
  15.     What was the difference?
  16.     Tell me about one of your proudest moments at work.
  17.     When I call your old boss what will they say about you? And what would your husband/wife say?
  18.     What are you (most) passionate about?
  19.     What accomplishment in your life are you most proud of?
  20.     What is your ‘end-game’ or career goal? How does this role support that?
  21.     Describe someone outside your field of interest who inspires you and why?

 

Additional Killer questions

So here are a few of the questions that I ask and why I ask them. My experience is that exceptional people like to be challenged with questions that go deeper, allowing them to reveal their values and strengths. Keep in mind that there are no pat answers to any of these. The intent is to see a person for who he or she is; that's a great way to set the groundwork for the potential of an authentic long-term relationship.

Are you driven by the determination to succeed or the fear of failure?

There is no right answer to this question. What I'm looking for is what motivates this person to work hard. I do not judge ambition; it comes in many forms. Notice, by the way, that I'm asking if fear of failure "drives" him or her, not "paralyzes." See the next question for more on that.

Why are you successful?

Successful people think a great deal about what they are doing and why. They always have a definitive and purposeful answer to why they have been successful. They also have a deep need for success that always eclipses their fears.

If today were your last day on earth, what would you most regret not having accomplished?

Regrets are horrible bedfellows. I've found that people who live with a keen awareness of what they need to accomplish are driven to be creative and resourceful; yes, they're exactly who I want on my team. By the way, one of my favourite responses to this question was from a candidate who was also a private pilot: "Can you give me an approximate altitude above the Earth?"

How is who you are now consistent or inconsistent with the person you were at 12 years old?

To know a person, you need to know his or her journey. This single question may tell you more about the person you're talking to than just about anything else you could ask. Don't laugh this one off. Stick with it, and dig deep. It can take a bit of time, but it's worth it.

Name someone who is alive today, whom I would know, and whom you consider to be exceptionally intelligent. How would you rank your intelligence against this person's?

This is a two-part question, and you need to wait for the first answer before proceeding with the second question. The objective is simple; I want to know whom the person admires and how the person compares him- or herself to that person. This will tell you a great deal about how someone measures intelligence and values him- or herself.

When are you happiest?

The stuff that makes us happiest is what we gravitate to. This is a question you may need to probe a bit by tying it back to specific examples. Withhold judgment. It's easy to judge someone because what makes the person happy is not what makes you happy. What matters is that you get an answer that you feel is authentic, in keeping with the culture of your organization, and which will be fuelled by the work the person would be doing.