Over the last 3 weeks, we have been trying to find Talent for our own business here at Red Executive. It is just as difficult to hire the ‘right fit’ for our own business as it is for our clients.
To date, I’ve conducted 12 first interviews for the various open roles and the one thing that stands out is the lack of preparation taken by many candidates. It is concerning. When I ask candidates, “Why do you want to work here?” apparently the answer “because I think I would enjoy it” is acceptable. How can someone be willing to commit their life to a job and a business they literally know nothing about!?
As a consequence, I want to help people understand and share some tips on how to prepare for a job interview. I know it may seem daunting but to make a good first impression you have to prepare. This is done by taking the time to understand and research the company.
10 important tips to help you prepare for an interview
1. Figure out interview location
If you do not know where the interview is taking place, please take steps figure it out. If you call the line manager 5 minutes before the interview, it creates a bad impression. However, when the interview is being arranged, feel free to ask questions so you understand where the office is located. In fact, go to the office location the day before to ensure you know how to get there.
2. Arrive 5-10 minutes early
Showing up 15 minutes early is just as bad as showing up late. Aim to arrive between 5-10 minutes early. This is the ideal scenario and ensures everyone involved is ‘in the zone’ for your conversation.
3. Understand why you are there
Most interviewers will try and break the ice with an intro question like “So, why are you here?” This is an opportunity for you to display exactly why you applied for the role. Share information that is not on your cover letter and elaborate why you are interested in the position.
4. Know what the business does and how it monetizes
If you don’t know exactly what the business does, research it! Conduct an investigation and be prepared to explain what you believe is the commercial reasoning for the business.
5. Learn the company Values & Mission
It is vital that you understand these elements of the business. Search for them, it may not be displayed front and center, put in the effort to find them and learn. Write them down and understand what they mean. Try and hone your answers around these values and mission. If you cannot match your answer to values in a concise manner, you will not impress.
6. Ensure your personal and professional values match the company values
Ensure your outlook and professional vales match that of the business. However, remember, words are cheap and you must demonstrate this across all questions. For example, when you outline what sort of business you would like to work with ‘in an ideal world’ your answer must match and the potential employer’s values.
7. Check the company’s social media…..ALL of it
Understand the business and how they are communicating with their audience. Search for their accounts, often it is listed directly on the company website. Click the icons and research. Do you feel it is a positive experience? Would you change it? What does it say about the business?
8. Know the core markets
Understand where your potential employee operates and where they have experienced success. Why do you think this is?
9. Know the competition
Learn about the company’s competitors and the key core differences in how they approach the market. Do some research to understand both the company and competitions’ unique selling points.
10. Have questions prepared
When you get to the end of the interview, if you don’t have any questions ready to ask the interviewer, you are not prepared. One of the best questions I was ever asked, “what’s the biggest obstacles in Red Executive being successful?” This question got the candidate hired. It demonstrated the candidate wanted to understand the business and that they were solution driven. You should prepare 5 or 6 interview questions along these lines.
So there you have it. The interview process is tough. But by preparing properly you understand if the company and role is a right fit for you. Research and understanding will allow you to have an engaging conversation with the interviewer and give you a better opportunity to get the job.
This article was written by Martin Collins, Founder & Managing Director at Red Executive
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