Home Home Home

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

50 days: Interview prep. How much is too much and will you actually remember any of it?

When I tell employers that I'm punctual, what I really mean is: I Google map daily to ensure I have the route in my head, I'll set off hours before schedule to avoid public transport mishaps and I'll also spend about an hour or more loitering around said office, nursing a coffee like it's my last meal.

This might seem somewhat unnecessary, but the spare time before an interview can prove vital for ensuring you present yourself in the correct manner. Not only does it give you time to calm yourself, but it also gives you time to revise your interview technique and company knowledge.

The image above was taken last week when I arrived over an hour early to the town where my interview would take place. It would have been over two if the train I caught had not been running late. Who'd have thought I'd ever be thankful for a late running train service? These notes were actually a more concise version of market stats, company history and my own thoughts on the job.

Don't get me wrong, you're not there to be tested, but being in the know can set you apart. I've just had a call from a recruitment agent this morning taking me through an upcoming recruitment day. She said I'd be surprised at how many people turn up not knowing anything about the company they 'desperately' want to work for. Cringe! Here's a list of things I usually consider when researching for interview prep sheets:

  • When was the company established?
  • What are the core values of the company?
  • Have they previously won awards for their work?
  • How have they changed over time? Have they expanded, gained new contracts, started offering new products?

    Stats and figures
  • How many employees work for them?
  • Customer feedback surveys - particularly well-known companies. Search for Ofcom and Which? results.
  • Who is their biggest competition

  • Clients
  • General public or B2B?
  • Research on clients might be going a little bit too far but do always check out the portfolio of any B2B companies.
  • Can you profile their main demographic?

  • Personal attitude

  • Write down short quotes you'd like to fit in to your interview. Obviously you can't prepare a script, but short sentences will come back to you if you're not good at thinking on your feet.
  • Is this a permanent position or a short contract? If it's permanent ensure that you mention that you're in for the long haul. They are obviously looking for someone who is loyal.
  • Do you have a personal experience with the products the company offers? For example: I recently attended an interview with a publishing company which specialised in craft magazines. I made sure to talk about my passion for craft (and joke about my terrible knitting skills.) Remember that it's not always about industry experience!
  • Don't just say you're 'good at working in a team, but have the initiative to work on your own'. Think of an actual example to illustrate your point. How many people before you have said they are 'self-motivated, hard working and great when working under pressure'.

    So did I remember any of my notes? Yes, surprisingly! Although I didn't really have a chance to show off my company knowledge, I did slip in their distribution figures. I was however slightly sour about forgetting my 'make do and mend' line. I worked hard on that little gem.

    You're not revising for an exam, but making yourself familiar with the company will make you feel ten times more comfortable when going for that all important interview. So do your research and thank me later!

    Good luck!
  • No comments:

    Post a Comment