7 Tips for delivering a great interview
So you are ready for your next leadership challenge in UK Manufacturing, and have honed your CV and Covering Letter. This has got you in the room, creating the opportunity to demonstrate your qualities and also assess whether this is the organisation for you. Here is what I would consider:
You will rarely have a great interview experience without doing your homework. Make sure you have covered the basics:
- Deep knowledge of the organisations you have worked for and your own CV
- Prepared examples for competency or behavioural questions to bring your experience to life – I have found the STAR (situation, task, action, result) method the most beneficial
- Researching the organisation to enable insightful questions
2. First Impressions
What you do from the moment you first walk into the reception area can make a difference in the process, as people are forming a view of you over a very short time window. Even the most elaborate interview process takes up less than half a day, so it’s vital to impress from the off.
You are probably used to setting the agenda at work, but the interview schedule is defined by the interviewer. Accept this and respond accordingly; a good interviewer will provide plenty of opportunities for you to make an impact and to ask your questions.
This is the scourge of a successful interview. A fruitful interaction evolves to become a mutually beneficial conversation where air time is shared. Start by providing coherent and concise answers to the questions posed, and the interview will build from there.
Bad mouthing your previous/current organisation or boss is never a good idea. You need to be able to constructively explain the evolution of your CV and the skills you have gained to date. Do this without casting any aspersions on an organisation or apportioning blame to the people you worked with.
There is an art to sensing the room and understanding whether an interviewer is engaged or switched off. Pay attention to signs that you are over-elaborating or have missed the purpose of the question. For example, if you are in a recruiter interview and they aren’t taking notes it’s probably a bad sign – after all, they will be passing on their view to the client for successful candidates. If in doubt, ask whether you have answered the question satisfactorily.
7. The Job
If you are attending an interview, there is a reasonable presumption that you are interested in the role on offer. Be prepared to explain why you are keen; what is it about the company that appeals? This should focus on the product/service/people/ethos rather than circumstances such as ‘I need a job… any job’ or ‘it’s in a convenient location’.
David Thomas is a Partner at Berwick Partners, focused on supporting organisations with key leadership appointments within the manufacturing space.