ACA 30 Years of Experience: Top Tips #2 Preparing for Interview

You’ve applied for your dream job and you’ve been shortlisted for interview: congratulations! Whether you’re going to a less formal meeting over coffee with your potential new employer or a formal interview with a panel, it pays to be prepared. Here are our top tips for shining your brightest in the interview setting.

 

Do your research

In this internet savvy age there is no excuse not to research your new company fully. Showing off your knowledge of a company and its products is a sure-fire way to impress upon your interviewer what a good fit you’d be in the company. The vast majority of companies will have their own website so be sure to study it: what types of product and service do they offer? How is the company structured? Do they have overseas offices? Is there a news page? Do a search for any press items relating to the company and familiarise yourself with their profit and turnover – this is especially important if you’re applying for a financial role – summaries of all UK registered companies can be obtained free of charge from companies house.

Also, check your social networks, it’s a very connected world so if it turns out you went to university with someone from the company or you both have similar passions this can be a useful icebreaker. Finally, make sure you’re up to date on current affairs, your interview starts the moment you enter the building so the level of your small talk can have an influence on the overall impression you make.

 

Prepare for success

Prepare for the interview by researching typical interview questions and how you would answer them (e.g. where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time? Strengths? Weaknesses? What would you do within the first three months in the role? Etc.) If you’re at a competency based interview, you may be asked to “describe a time when…” the STAR technique is a great way of answering these types of questions.

 

Utilise your recruiter

Your recruiter will be able to offer you an insight into the company and the people who are interviewing you, which is something you won’t be able to research on the internet. Listen closely to what the recruiter tells you regarding what the interviewers are looking for and take up any offers of role briefings or interview preparation. Keep your recruiter informed regarding your availability and make sure your mobile phone is on; busy interviewers sometimes need to arrange meetings with short-notice. After your interview let your recruiter know how it went and what was decided regarding next steps, this is important as the employer usually contacts the recruiter regarding any follow up (rather than contacting the candidate directly) so you don’t want to leave your recruiter on the back foot regarding how you got on at interview and whether you’re still interested in the role.

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