Preparing for an interview…..

Over the years we have had candidates at all levels prepare very differently for an interview…with some taking a minimalist view to their first interview whilst others a very structured and detailed approach. Regardless of success, we always find that the people who impress most have gone the extra mile. Candidates who would usually be someway off the mark with their skills or the depth of their experience have pulled themselves into contention by simply preparing better and in doing so show a higher level of enthusiasm and interest in the opportunity. Below is not an exhaustive list but some good basic principles to start your preparation for interview. The advice is generic and has been used successfully at Graduate to Executive level.

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Business Research:

  • What do the business do? What are their key products / services?
  • What markets do they operate in?
  • Where are all their offices and what does each office do?
  • When were they formed? What are their milestones?
  • What is their mission statement / corporate values and why do these suit you?
  • What is the IT structure and where does this role sit in? Team Size? Overall IT Size?
  • Write down all names of people you would be working for / alongside, note their backgrounds and any similarities to your background
  • What is the last “latest news” update on their website?
  • What is the top article about them on a Google search?
  • If a public company, what is the share price?

Job Research

  • List all the skills on the specification that you have. Next to it write an example of what you did with this technology.
  • Write a list of all the skills on the specification you do not have. Alongside that list write a list of tech that does a similar job that you do have experience of?
  • What are the key features of the technology that you do not have exposure to?
  • List your 3 main technical strengths and why you feel they are your strengths.
  • List your 3 main non-technical strengths.

Interview Preparation

  • Firstly, gather all the research you have already done and put it into a file with separators so you can turn to each section easily if called upon to do so.
  • Make sure you have printed off some of the research material and made scribbles and notes on the material (a highlighter pen is always good to use for particular areas you would like to refer to in the interview.
  • Make sure you have the address, telephone number and Interface contact details all in the file.
  • Ensure you have planned out your route and know the likely traffic scenarios at for the time of the interview.
  • If you have put together a presentation or need to present some information make sure you have practised your delivery of this at least 5 times and preferably twice in front of someone.
  • Ensure you have prepared a number of good answers to competency questions. A list of these types of questions can be found easily on the interview but there are some obvious ones
  1. Give an example of where you have managed conflict / stress / under performance etc
  2. Tell us about your proudest achievement
  3. Tell us your ‘war story’ where you have battled through adversity and reached your objective
  • Why would you like THIS opportunity? – Remember this needs to be backed with fact. If you read somewhere that they are investing in international development, tell them why you think this is good for your career.
  • They will likely ask you what you know about them. Write down a detailed but concise overview of the company and practice delivering it at least 5 times.
  • Write down a short paragraph, again detailed and concise, as to why you are unique and feel that you are the right person for this role.