Passing the Job Interview With Your CV
I have been a head-hunter for over ten years and since 2004 have run a small recruitment firm primarily focused on investment banking hires. When I work with candidates one of the most frequent things I get asked for is for advice on interview technique and the best strategy to take.
I will always say that the preparation for any interview is the most important part of the process of getting work, whether it’s working in banking, local government or for shift work at the nearby supermarket. Preparing well will have a considerable influence on the outcome ie. whether you receive a job offer.
As part of this preparation, your research should focus on building your knowledge in three key areas: The company itself, the position your aiming for and finally, your own skills and experience, in other words, your CV.
You can book an Interview Coaching Session and/or a Mock Interview with an interview coach by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Tools available for researching the company, include press releases via Google or LinkedIn or don’t forget to check out the company’s own website. Your aim is to be as well informed about the firm as possible and if it’s in the public domain, at a minimum, the interviewer will expect you to know it. Even if you don’t get asked about it directly, engineering the conversation towards giving yourself the chance to show off what you know will contribute to you standing out against other candidates.
Spend time getting a clear understanding of the job you will be required to do may well be obvious but don’t forget this will serve two purposes. The first being that you’ll know in advance whether this is really a job you want or whether it’s something to keep you going until something better comes along. Secondly, if it is something you really want for the long term, use your knowledge about the position taken from your research to form part of your pitch to the interviewer. The pitch to the interviewer is a subject in itself and I have touched on it in another article but in brief here, if you know from your research that similar positions advertised on Monster and elsewhere mention the requirement for a specific skill e.g. knowledge of a particular software package but which isn’t mentioned in the job specification you’re going for, ask why. It may be an oversight or it may be that company runs different software to its competitors, either way you’ll be suggesting to the interviewer that you’ve done your research and that you’ve got enough experience in your field to give you an understanding of the fundamentals and skills the job needs.
Finally, this last point is related to knowing yourself and what you can offer the firm. Remind yourself what your CV says or what you wrote on the application form, clearly there’s something there which has attracted the interviewer to invite you in. Even if you know why it is, asking the direct question as to what was it about your CV or application that made them ask you in for an interview gives you a little a time to regroup while you listen to the answer and allows the conversation to be two way.
One final thing, no matter how well the interview might be going, asking whether the interviewer might have any reservations about you is a great chance to put into effect the last part of your research. Thinking about where your candidacy might have weaknesses allows you to predict what these concerns might be and if you’ve prepared well, nipping in the bud these concerns will tilt the odds massively in your favor. A gem of an answer that you should try to use in response to the concern of a lack of specific of experience is, “the issue isn’t my lack of experience in abc but how my experience in xyz can get better results than any of your experienced employees”.
Of course, there are no guarantees when it comes to interviews and much will depend on intangibles like the rapport between you and the interviewer and I write about this on our website but at least with your research you’ll going a long way to moving yourself from the long list to the short list of candidates for the job.
Tim C Thomas
Gerard Knight Recruitment
We are a well established niche search firm and have a track record of successfully completing senior hires for blue chips companies.
Visit our blog by clicking on http://www.gerardknightrecruitment.com/blog and you’ll find further tips and resources on anything from CV writing to building your contacts to making the best use of LinkedIn all of which is geared towards helping you in your search for work.
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