How To Ace Job Interviews

Copy of the article that appreared in Hawke’s Bay Today, Saturday 7th August edition. Interview conducted with Ian Beattie of RIOT Recruitment, Hawke’s Bay’s recruitment specialists.

With all the advice and learning materials out there, you would think we would all be experts at the interviewing process. But recruiters still note that candidates are missing out on potential job opportunities because they are not preparing for the face to face meeting, i.e. ‘the sell’!

Ian Beattie, founder and Managing Director of Hawke’s Bay recruitment company RIOT Recruitment, says people really need to consider the basics when it comes to interviewing and ensure they have spent time preparing to impress.  

“This includes doing their research on the company, the role and the hiring manager. It still amazes us how little preparation and research some candidates do. Candidates need to understand that the interview is a “sales” situation and they need to prepare accordingly. It is important that they demonstrate their knowledge of the prospective company throughout the interview by asking targeted questions.”

Although the worst of the recession is over, and companies have begun hiring again, the job market still hasn’t recovered to its original state before the world economic crisis. Beattie says they are still seeing large numbers of applicants for advertised positions, literally in their 100s, which means that job seekers need to be really impressive to stay ahead of the competition. 

“Because of this, employers are in the position to be selective, especially when it comes to skills and experience. Also, because of the current economic environment, some employers are far less likely to take a “punt” on candidates, preferring to be more conservative in their approach.”

Interviews haven’t changed because of the recession but because of the sheer number of people still looking for roles, Beattie says candidates need to make sure they take a far more proactive approach for the whole recruitment process, including the interview.

“Demonstrate initiative, ask good questions and use your relationship-building skills to establish a strong rapport with the hiring manager.”

When preparing for your interview, think about some situations you have been in past roles, how you handled them and what the result was. This would include where you have achieved a great outcome, were presented with a problem or faced with an angry customer. 

“Behavioural-based interview questions remain the industry norm. Behavioural based interviewing discovers how the interviewee acted in specific employment-related situations. The logic is that how they behaved in the past will be a strong indicator of how they will behave in the future i.e. past performance predicts future performance” says Beattie.

The right ‘fit’ is so crucial for both the employer and employee so interviews will be focused around seeking an insight to the candidates personality and behaviour in the workplace. Beattie says the questions are likely to drill in on areas such as team-working, leadership style, resilience, energy and stress tolerance.

To really impress in an interview, Beattie says that a consistent and professional approach will go a long way and to also think about extra attributes and skills you can offer the employer.

“Think about how you may bring attributes over and above those detailed in the position description. Most employers will recruit with an eye to the future, so take the opportunity to demonstrate your future development potential.”

As well as doing all the right things, make sure you don’t do anything that could negatively impact on your job prospects.

“It is important that the candidate acts in a consistent manner throughout the recruitment process. Prospective employers do not like any surprises through the process, such as an unexpected increase in remuneration expectation” says Beattie.

And while it is essential to demonstrate you are keen to secure the role, Beattie says being too keen can be a turn-off and it is important to not come across as being desperate.

Job interviewing can often be an exhaustive, lengthy process but it is imperative to go to each interview as though it was your first and prepare for each one individually. Be fresh and energised each new prospective employer that you meet.

And as a final piece of advice for job seekers, Beattie reiterates the need for people to act like a ‘salesperson’ when it comes to proving they are the best candidate for the job. 

“Remember that the interview is a sales situation. The employer has a need. It is your job to understand that need and offer the solution – you!”


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