20 years ago, I started out in my recruitment career as a Resourcer. Just days into the new role I was called into the Boardroom by my manager. She wanted to discuss my office attire; unfortunately, I hadn’t yet mastered appropriate business dress!
At the time it was embarrassing and awkward for both of us, however that meeting taught me a very valuable lesson. Now an experienced recruitment professional, that moment has helped to shape my career and life, teaching me to always make a conscious effort to present myself and my work to the highest standards.
This life lesson has also helped me to educate and guide candidates prior to interviews, advising on the key things to remember. Some of these pointers may seem rudimentary, but you would be amazed at the times I have had client feedback on candidates who have let themselves down by not doing the basics.
The way you dress for an interview gives potential employers their first impression of how you present yourself professionally. Even if you look great on paper, if you do not dress appropriately for an interview you may give the impression that you lack respect for yourself and those you are meeting with.
Take time to prepare
Prepare content that is appropriate for the role, company and interview. Always research the company using the company website, word of mouth, annual accounts, social media and LinkedIn to find out the basics and then dig deeper. Make sure you have read and understood the job description. This level of research will give you more than just facts and allow you to build a sense of the organisational culture.
Have confidence and believe in yourself
Conduct some self-analysis on your accomplishments and prepare to bring them to life through story telling during the interview. This is a great opportunity to show what you can bring to an organisation, as well as the reasons you admire the potential employer.
Think of specific examples
Assess the key competencies of the role you are interviewing for and prepare at least three specific and relevant examples of great work you have done. Practice telling your story by outlining the situation, the steps you personally took to resolve the issue and what the outcome was.
Don’t be afraid of pauses in conversation
Use the time to think and take a deep breath if you are feeling under pressure. Do not let a pause throw you off track – take stock and use it to your advantage.
It is very easy to tell when someone is trying too hard or saying things that they think the other person wants to hear. Be yourself and have the courage of your convictions. A company is investing in you as an individual and all that is you. They want to know what you really think, not what you think they want you to think.
Ask insightful questions
As a result of all the preparation you have done, you should have several questions you would like to be answered. You do not need to wait until the end of the interview to ask them either – the interview should be a two-way conversation. The answers to your questions you ask might help guide how you position yourself for the rest of the interview.
Remember interviews are a great opportunity to meet new and inspiring professionals in the workplace who can open the door to your next career opportunity. Focus on enjoying the meeting and try to take away as much as you can about the role and culture within the time you are there. Just remember to leave the crop top and jewelled flip flops at home!
Berwick Talent Solutions (an Odgers Berndtson company) delivers bespoke multiple recruitment campaigns to organisations undergoing significant growth or transformation - across the commercial, public and third sectors. We specialise in recruiting the permanent technical and functional specialists whose roles are pivotal to the successful realisation of our clients’ transformation programmes. We work across multiple sectors at the individual contributor and emerging leader levels.
For more information about Berwick Talent Solutions, please contact Hayley Hufton – Hayley.firstname.lastname@example.org