TOP 5 Interview Tips for 2021

TOP 5 Interview Tips for 2021
handsome african businessman with group of businesspeople on background

1. Be Yourself

It sounds easy, but it is the one people struggle with the most.  But why?  It’s just a conversation at the end of the day.  A conversation that could change the rest of your life, but it’s still just a conversation.  And the best bit, it is a conversation all about you!!!  How great is that?  That is a topic you probably know quite a bit about!  In all seriousness, interviewers want to feel engaged with the interviewee, and if you are too guarded and trying to force the issue too much, that won’t happen.  The fact is that most people will be very formal, very false, and very inhuman. The robots haven’t taken over yet (quite), so interviewers are still looking for PEOPLE with a PERSONALITY and want to get to know the person behind the CV to ensure they will be a good “fit” for their team/department/company.  So stop pretending to be someone or something else.  Relax, be yourself, be natural, and if they don’t like you- you probably wouldn’t have liked working there anyway, so move on to the next interview.

2. Tell them a story

Create an engaging answer by making it REAL.  When asked a competency question, set the scene, tell them what you had to do and why you needed to do that and what the resultant outcome was.  Try and add emotion to it too to really create a rich picture that interviewers will remember afterwards

3. Be aware of “what you are packing” 

I don’t mean a suitcase, I mean know what you have to offer- what benefit you can bring to the organisation.  Have a think about your strengths, how you have developed and where you are wanting your career to go, and align that with their organisation.

4. Have a plan and tell them about it

This is a really useful trick for a number of reasons.  Before the interview, do as much prep as you can- find out what they want for this role and where they see it going, where the department is going, and put together a rough plan of what you would do in the first month, first 3 months and first 6 months.  During the interview, ask questions that will help inform your plan and sell the plan back to them.  This not only shows them that you have put real thought into working there, it also demonstrates your focus and commitment to the role you haven’t even got yet, but even more so, it puts you in the role in their heads.  If they are picturing you in the role, you are already halfway there!  Try it, I promise it works!

5. Focus on the future

At the end of the interview, there is always an expectation to ask some questions.  When I’m preparing candidates for interview, it’s one of the things I’m asked most-“what questions should I ask”?  The one most people pedal is “Ask them why they work there”, or “Could you see me working here?”  Neither is necessarily bad, but I feel they are becoming a bit too common and bland, and the second one sometimes make interviewers awkward if they don’t actually see you working there.  I suggest asking them about the future of the organisation, but also identify some future challenges that they may have, and what are they doing to overcome them.  For example, in the Social Housing market, you could ask what they are doing regarding the digital agenda, or what are their long term plans after the 4th year of rent cuts- are they preparing for additional cuts etc?  This not only allows you to assess if they have a clear plan for the future (you should be interested in this for your own career) but it generates an interesting dialogue and may even create an opportunity for you to offer your thoughts and how you feel the market is unfolding.  It also shows that you are thinking about working for them in the mid to long term- another attractive trait!