One of the most frequently asked questions we have at Career Moves is what to expect in an interview. After all, once your CV has been shortlisted for a position this quickly becomes the most important point of the process; the interview is your chance to make an excellent first impression, build rapport and have an intelligent discussion that leaves a lasting impression on a potential future employer.
What tips can we give you?
At Career Moves, we prepare candidates with logistical info you will need such as location details, the organisation’s cultural anchors, relevant information on the web, and tips on how to conduct research.
We can also prepare you with typical competence and role related questions so you can put your best foot forward.
But what if we could give you the inside knowledge from the experts – what do they think? Well here you go!
We’re lucky to have Sam Lucking, Resourcing Manager at Hobbs, and Helena Davenport – HR Manager, MTV share with you their inside knowledge over 5 questions.
Q1. What sort of questions do you like to hear being asked by candidates in interviews?
Sam Lucking, Hobbs: Company plans/vision. What is the culture like? Structure of the team the role is for.
Helena Davenport, MTV: Sensible questions about the role, but only 4 maximum – about the team, what they do, their challenges and pressures, what we are looking for in a candidate, why the person in the role is leaving, room for development in the role (although use judgement – if you indicate that you would be expecting to move up from the role within a short timeframe then you may not get through to later stages because we might be looking for someone to stay in the role a couple of years).
Q2. Preparation is key; what key factors would you expect a candidate to research before an interview?
SL: The brand and not just looking on the website! Anyone can repeat a company history. I’d expect them to visit a couple of stores to get a feel for service, culture etc. I like them to have a view on the stores and an honest one rather than telling us what they think we want to hear, same goes for the website. I’d also expect them to read any press on us and be knowledgeable about where we are headed. Research is key.
HD: The company, competitors and the specific areas of the job
Q3. First impressions count, what should a candidate think about before an interview to make sure they give themselves the best chance of impressing?
SL: A firm handshake! There is nothing worse than a limp handshake. From a personal point of view I like candidates who can chat from the off despite being nervous. Evident, authentic interest and passion in the role and brand.
HD: Don’t be late. A firm hand shake. I like to see evidence of enthusiasm, and confidence. Someone who’s succinct and answering the question that is asked. Relate answers to a real life situation that they have encountered in the past and how they handled them and importantly what they learnt from them.
Q4. When candidates deliver presentations, what kind of things impress you?
SL: A well thought out presentation that needs little questioning from the interviewers as it’s all there. Attention to detail, you’d be amazed at the amount of spelling mistakes, grammatical errors we see…
HD: Succinct, bullet pointed, brief but can talk around the subject, intelligent, answer the question asked, keep to timeframe given.
Q5. Building rapport can hard to quantify but how important is this in an interview?
SL: Hugely. If you don’t feel engaged with that person it can be tough and that’s from both sides. Rapport means probing is much easier and you get more from it. For me a great interview feels like a great chat! If you have to work to your script it means something hasn’t clicked.
HD: Important, as a HR interviewer I like to see if a candidate has a rapport with the manager during the interview as it is important if transferred to the workplace.
If you're interested in speaking to one of our consultants for advice on your job search then contact us on 0207 758 4300.