Tips on preparing for an interview

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Ok, it’s a bold (and slightly cheesy) statement, but this is your one moment to really demonstrate to them what a good fit you are for the role, the team and the organisation. They already like your CV and are interested in what you can offer, this is your chance to put that human element to your CV and demonstrate what you can bring to this role.

Tips for engaging with the interviewer

  • Research the interviewer and find commonalities or points of interest. Use LinkedIn to see what they have posted or commented on.
  • Create a rapport with them. People hire people they like!
  • Remember and use the interviewer’s name throughout the interview.

Every answer you give needs to tell them something about what you have achieved

Don’t ramble and don’t just list the details of your most recent job description. Get to the point and tell them your accomplishments. A good framework to base your answer on is SOAR:

  • Situation: What was the situation? What was your objective?
  • Obstacle: What obstacle did you need to overcome or problems you had to solve?
  • Action: What did you do? What skills did you use?
  • Result: How did it meet your objectives and solve the problem? If you hadn’t taken that action—what would have the outcome been? Quantify your results where possible.

Using this framework helps you tell a story around your achievements through a logical process. Use the job description of the role you are applying for to think about what questions they may ask you and create a number of SOARs in readiness.

Look at the wording that they use in the job description and try to incorporate these keywords in to your answers.

Think about what questions they may ask about you

Many interviewers are asking themselves ‘can I work with this person?’ On paper you have the skills, but do you have the right personality and attitude that will fit with their company culture?

As part of your interview prep use the opening statements below to think about what you would say if asked. It often helps to draft a short paragraph.

  • I am – what is your profession?
  • I do/can – what expertise do you have, what specific skills have you gained, number of years’ experience? Experience gained from where?
  • I offer – what are your strengths? What can you bring to this role? Think about your personality as well and how you work with others.
  • I’ve done – what have you accomplished? What other things are you proud of or you can bring to the role which would be beneficial?

General questions you may be asked

  • What is your management style/how do you liked to be managed?
  • What would your current manager say is your biggest area of development?
  • If you could begin your career again, what would you do differently?

Questions about your work style

  • Tell me about a time your management style impacted the success of your team?
  • Give me an example of when you asked for and received feedback. What did you do with that information?
  • What important career goals did you set and reach in your last position?

Have a strong finish - be ready for your questions of your own

At the end of the interview, make sure you ask questions that indicate that you are interested in the role, the company and the people. Can you see yourself working for this company and what information do you need to know that will help you picture yourself in this role? What do you want to know about the role, the team, the company, its culture?

  • How do you see this role evolving?
    this shows interest in what you can achieve in the role and how you can develop within it. But be careful how you ask questions around career progression. On one hand it shows ambition and future commitment to the business, but if asked in the wrong way, it may suggest that you are just using this role as a stepping stone to something else.
  • Tell me about the team and the company culture?
    The interview is as much about you working out if you want to work for them as it is for them wanting to work for you. Ask questions that will give you insight into their culture, employee support and development.
  • What are the next steps in the interview process
    This provides a clear indication that you are interested in the role. It will also give you a time line of what will happen next and the speed in which they want to fill the role.

At the end of the interview make sure that you have achieved these 3 objectives

  • Demonstrated that you have matched your skills to the needs of the role
  • Expressed an interest in the position
  • Asked about next steps in the interview process.

LHH career support

LHH is the UK's largest provider of outplacement services and we have been helping candidates for over 50 years successfully transition in their careers. For more information on how LHH can help you please contact us.

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