Preparing yourself for job interviews
Your CV has made the cut, and now a potential employer wants to meet you for an interview. Regardless of how well your CV and cover letter stood out, these elements can only get you so far. The ultimate test comes during the interview process. So relax, grab a cuppa and read through our advice on how to prepare yourself for an interview.
Interviewers can sniff out when the interviewee hasn’t done their research and its off-putting. If you can’t demonstrate that you understand the key elements of the job role or your potential employer then how can they be confident you are the right person for the position? By research, we do not just mean a quick glance on LinkedIn. You need to understand their mission, their objectives and even some activities that they have undertaken in the past.
By researching the business beforehand, you can also see if the business matches up with your personal goals. It is also useful to note down any questions that pop into your head while researching the business. Interviewers always like it when a potential employee asks a question, so always have one prepared.
However, you are being interviewed by an individual(s), what do you know about them and can you find commonality? This can be a great icebreaker at the start of an interview, first impressions count!
While you might find the concept of rehearsing your pitch or answering possible questions embarrassing, it is a great way to prepare for an interview. Round up friends or family so they can critique and provide guidance, but should that not be possible use a mirror. Confidence is vital, so rehearsing can make you feel calmer in these situations.
Don’t just focus on words and your voice. Over 50% of communication is non-verbal. You might not realise that your face, hands etc. do lots of involuntary movements, especially under pressure. Make sure you know your idiosyncrasies and can work on minimising them in an interview.
Timing and ties
It is essential to make a good first impression, and that starts before you have even sat down in the meeting room – never forget the receptionist/meet and greater will often be asked for their thoughts. The number one tip is always to arrive early. On the flip side, you do not want to inconvenience your potential employer by arriving too early, so we advise at least 10-15 minutes early. If you are going to be late for any reason, phone ahead and if you are no longer interested in the role, never not turn up.
While the workplace has certainly become a lot less formal, it’s important to dress for the occasion. By researching your potential employer, you might get a feel for the sort of attire that is acceptable. This can be especially true if you are creative, going suited and booted will often actually be seen as a negative.
Alternatively play it safe and ditch the jeans and switch that tee for a shirt.
Evidence of your work
Due to the creative nature of the marketing industry, it is often advisable to have a portfolio on hand. When they ask you a question, reference the work you have done, then show them the work in your portfolio. This will reduce the likelihood of it getting pushed aside, and they will have to look at your work.
It also shows your potential employer that you have prepared for this interview beforehand and that in turn demonstrates how you will likely perform in the workplace.
A note of caution, use a portfolio sparingly and don’t ‘hijack’ the interview. The potential employer will have their agenda and will want to ask a variety of questions. Speaking just through your portfolio for an hour can mean the Interviewer does not get out what they need from the meeting.
Be confident, but not arrogant
By all means, show the employer how you are well suited for the role. Share relevant experiences and skills, but always make sure you are still willing to learn. If you come in claiming that you are a perfect human, that fails at nothing, 9/10 your interviewer will see right through this. Be confident about your abilities, but do not go in promising the world when you can only give them a country.
Always ask questions
We touched upon this in the research section, but when we say ask questions we don’t mean, “Do I get a Christmas bonus”, or “How long can I take for lunch”. You need to ask intelligent questions that make you stand out from other candidates. If you are unsure about what kind of questions to ask, our blog about asking the right interview questions will be a useful tool for you.
After the interview
Always send an email thanking the employer for their time, and that you would be grateful for any feedback they have to offer. This shows that you are genuinely interested in the role. Similarly, if it’s not right for you, thank them for their time and wish them all the best in their search for a new recruit.
In our upcoming blog we will be sharing with you how to approach and present a task, so make sure to follow us on Twitter.
If you want to discover more about how MET Marketing can help you progress and find a job that impacts your career, then contact us today.