Career advice, insights & tips for HR professionals
Top tips to give your best at interview 31/10/2011
James Ballard, partner at AnnaPurna HR, offers his to tips to HR professionals to get the most out of a job interview.
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HR - seasoned interviewees?
It’s ironic that having spent over a decade now in recruitment that I myself was particularly poor in interviews when looking for a job after graduating. I found it very difficult to write a CV document that would truly articulate me and my experiences, and even more so to then put these into words in a one to one situation with a complete stranger. I struggled through several interviews before finally getting a role, and fortunately have not had to do one since. Interviewing is often an awkward and stressful experience at the best of times.
For those who empathise with this experience take solace in the fact that this point of view is felt by a great number of people. HR is an industry sector where you would expect the HR professional to be a consummate interviewee, however this is not always necessarily the case. Many HR people are used to interviewing, but often find it a challenge to express and articulate themselves when being interviewed. It’s very difficult to encapsulate your skills and attributes on paper and then express them in a way that doesn’t sound false or arrogant yet still trying to portray yourself in the best light to a potential employer. Especially when you know what you are trying to say and what you think they are looking for, but find it difficult to articulate.
Here are 10 top tips that might be of use to people thinking about looking for a new job and to help prepare for interviews;
- Always check that the subject matter you have written on your CV, including dates, is accurate, as the interviewer will be asking you about this in detail.
- Always research the company, the role, and the interviewer in as much detail as you can, such as company website, job descriptions, linkedin and social media profiles. Ask the recruitment consultant for any advice on what has happened in previous interviews or any tips on what style and what questions might be asked.
- Look the part, it sounds like a trivial cliché, but first impressions do really count. Think about the company and the environment and check what dress style will be appropriate, wearing clothes that you feel good in, will give you confidence, and, may positively affect your performance in interview.
- Check the address, your journey plan to the interview, and give yourself plenty of time to arrive early for the interview. This sounds obvious, but you can never know what might happen with potential traffic or travel problems so best to give as much time as possible to get there.
- Plan for the questions, think about what the role involves and what the interviewer is likely to ask. Make sure that you prepare detailed examples that you can answer potential questions with. Also prepare for the follow on questions, such as: why did you do that? How did you implement it? How did you know that process worked / measure the process?
- At interview: be enthusiastic and relax, nerves are good to make you alert but don’t let them get the better of your performance, people like people who are confident and imbue confidence.
- Show that you have done your research, make answers specific and relevant to the job profile and the organisation, if you have any knowledge of the company then make sure you show what you know and how your experience could add value to the role profile and the organisation.
- Make sure that you have questions prepared at the end of the interview. Potential employers will judge your acumen and interest in the role by the questions that you ask them at the end.
- Don’t drop your guard, before and after the interview remain friendly and professional, but do not act too friendly or intimately, be yourself.
- Follow up and ask for feedback from the recruitment consultant, so that if you do not get the job you can learn from what you could do to improve performance for next time.
Coping with rejection
If you're not at first successful, remember that procuring a job can be a job in itself, don’t take rejection badly, and use each interview as a learning experience to improve your technique.
Always remember that at the end of the day that you only need to be successful in one process to get your next dream job. Good luck.
James Ballard, partner, Annapurna HR
James is a partner at Annapurna HR