Preparation is key to a successful interview!
All too many times, we find ourselves feeling overly confident that we are going to win the position only to find out that someone else did more homework and we did not land a second interview. Be fully prepared for those unexpected questions. Also, make sure you learn your CV and previous experience. Don’t forget to brush up on the latest upgrade or features. Remember the more prepared you are, the more confident you’ll come across. Trust us, clients like confident candidates.
Check out the company you’re being interviewed by extensively.
Make sure you understand their brand, product, and organizational structure. What is the company turnover? Or what are their latest news stories? Who do you know internally? Many times, we have had consultants interview with hiring managers only to find out both had similar acquaintances.
Utilize social networking sites.
They are a great and modern way to find more out about the company and even your interviewer. For instance, LinkedIn is a fantastic tool to inquisitively find out about a person’s career history. You’ll know how long your interviewer has been with the company, their career history and maybe even their hobbies, great for breaking the ice. As mentioned above, you may have similar people in common which can help solidify your client’s confidence in you being the right fit.
Dress for interview success.
It’s a cliché, but you need to look the part. We are judged on first impressions, so it’s vital that those shoes are polished, your best suit is dry-cleaned, and your nails are nicely manicured. We all feel more confident when we look good, so make sure your appearance is neat, tidy and appropriate for the type of firm you are being interviewed with. Make sure you bring some spare copies of your CV in a nice portfolio. Include a pen and paper for taking notes.
Be on time and research where you’re going beforehand – even if it’s a phone call.
Yes, it sounds like an obvious one, but you’ll be surprised by how many candidates end up being late or turn up far too early. It can actually be a disadvantage if you turn up too early. Always try to make sure that you turn up 5-10 minutes early for the interview. Phone calls are one of our main forms of the interview and many consultants wait until the final minute to join the call. We suggest joining the call early to ensure the conference line works and usually if there is a call before, our account managers will fill you in on prior questions. Five minutes could mean the world in final preparation.
Talk about yourself confidently.
This is one of the most popularly asked questions at an interview. Make sure you can relax and confidently talk about your education, career history and biggest achievements to date. Practice this with friends and family until it’s perfected. Start backward with your education and work history and end with your current employment.
Share your strengths, weakness and greatest achievements.
Again, this is another popular question. What are yours? Be prepared for these questions. Practice and make sure you’ll highlight the right weaknesses. Focus on your strengths and how they pertain to the current job description. Be sure to highlight major accomplishments in previous positions, say you saved your past employer over $100k on their implementation. I couldn’t imagine that kicking you out of consideration.
We know interviews aren’t always enjoyable; however, make sure you relax and stay as calm as possible. Take a moment to recoup if necessary. Have a sip of that water. Maintain eye contact with the interviewer and try to gain a good rapport. Listen to the entire question before you answer and pay attention. It can be embarrassing if you forget the question.
Don’t be afraid to ask your own questions.
Hopefully, you’ll have lots of interviews lined up. Therefore, it’s important that you make sure that the company, and job, is right for you. Make sure you have a few questions (3-5) written down and you’re ready to ask. Make sure the questions are centric to the project and current and future endeavors the company is seeking to pursue. This builds the credibility that you care and plan to be there for the immediate and future.
Close like a salesman.
One of the biggest mistakes I see consultants make when they finish a 30 min interview is not closing the client. My favorite line to use is “Based on our conversation, what holds you back from me moving forward with this position.” It puts the pressure back on the client to divulge hesitations and gives you the chance to reassure your client you are the right fit, even if you do not fit 100% of the job description.