Many senior candidates have not attended an interview for a long time so the purpose of this article is to refresh us all on the basics.
Find out as much about the company as you can. Get hold of annual reports (available in large libraries or directly from the company itself), research the company on the internet. The type of information you might want to research: nature of the business, number of staff, revenue of company, number/location of offices and key issues facing the business.
It may sound obvious but you will be surprised how common it is for interim managers to be late for interviews. The reasons are obvious; train delays, engineering works, roadworks etc but it pays to both do your research on predicted journey times (use www.Multimap.com, check with Network Rail, the AA etc) as well as planning to arrive at least 15 minutes before your interview.
Determine the organisation’s standard business attire and dress accordingly. Avoid ‘loud’ and distracting clothes (ties, jewellery, make up and fragrance).
Make sure you are clear on who is interviewing you and what the interview process is. How many interviews will you have? What are the interviewers’ names/job titles? How will these people contribute to the decision making process? Will there be any tests? If you have applied through a recruitment consultancy (such as Impact Executives) most of this research will have been done for you. Bring along a spare copy of your CV.
At The Beginning Of The Interview
Upon arrival, if you have brought a coat/umbrella try to find somewhere to put them before you meet the interviewer. Sit down, look relaxed (even if you’re not!), think twice about accepting a drink (what do you do with the cup when the interviewer arrives?)
Upon first meeting your interviewer make sure you shake his/her hand firmly – make eye contact, smile. Be prepared to make polite conversation – ‘Did you find us OK?’ – always try to answer these questions with more than just Yes/No answers. Perhaps you might want to comment on the attractiveness of the office environment or the ease by which you got there.
In the interview room, play safe with your etiquette. Don’t take your jacket off, sit down after or at the same time as the interviewer.
Pay close attention to your physical communication throughout the interview. This means good eye contact (ie looking at the interviewer for over 70% of the time – if you have more than one interviewer always try to address all of them with your answers). Don’t cross your arms (it can look very ‘defensive’), don’t slump in the seat, smile
During and After the Interview
Be clear about what your major selling points are. If, by the end of the interview, these haven’t been covered make a point of talking explicitly about these. Be to the point, make sure that you answer the interviewer’s question (it sounds obvious but nervousness and a keenness to communicate your selling points can often lead you away from the point.)
If you are asked to talk about a specific project it is worth explaining what the business aim and scope of the project was before you start talking about your involvement – it helps to set the scene.
Never say something in an interview which can’t be backed up by examples. If you say you are a ‘good team player’, ‘creative’ or ‘enthusiastic’ you will inevitably be asked for proof.
Be positive. Don’t overly your current employer. Generally, every time you talk about a problem or issue you should always be looking to say what your involvement was in overcoming this issue.
Sell yourself. Try to avoid giving cliched answers to interview questions (it is likely your interviewer has heard these responses more than you care to imagine). Use examples from your own experience, give your opinion.
Common Interviewer Questions
- Why do you want to work for us?
- What was the most difficult thing that you have to do in your last assignment?
- What attributes make someone a good interim manager?
- What are your most significant accomplishments?
- As a manager, what do you look for when you recruit people?
- How would your team have described you?
- Describe your personality?
- What are your goals?
- What are your three main strengths/weaknesses?
Common Interviewee Questions
- What are the current issues facing the organisation?
- What would you expect the key outcomes to be?
- What is the corporate culture?
At The End Of The Interview
- Ask how you did. Re-affirm your interest in the role.
- Ask what the next stage is, how many other candidates are being interviewed for the role and when you can expect to hear.
- Follow up with a thank you letter or email.