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Interview techniques to help you land your next job

Posted by Alana Cumming on 26/08/2022

Recruitment faq

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If you want to land your dream job, you have to understand what employers look for.

In the past year, we have seen a rise in people applying for roles, so it is now more important than ever to ensure you stand out from the crowd to the companies you’re applying for and want to further your career with.

We realise that for some it feels like they are going around in circles and you don’t know what steps to take next. The first step is ensuring you have the ideal CV/resume, to start your job search the right way, click here for our recent tips.

 So, as your CV/Resume can only take you so far, it is now time to prep for your interview, so we are sharing some of our secrets and tips from the best recruiters in the business:

Interview prep checklist

Research the company the right way 

1. Start with the basics and visit their website

If you are looking for a position in recruitment, much like when you are a recruiter, your clients will expect you to know about their businesses and the person interviewing you for this role will expect the same.  The easiest way to ensure you’re fully prepped is to visit the website.

So BE CURIOUS, you’ll also want to know the following things in order to help you make an informed decision about the company you’re interviewing with.

So, what to look for on the site?

  • The markets that the recruitment business work in
  • The office locations of the business
  • Who’s who – From the CEO to the Consultants, familiarise yourself with the people in the business
  • Any interesting articles that have been published by the firm
  • Watch any videos and listen to podcasts produced by the business

2. LinkedIn profiles

Prior to your interview, look at the company profile so that you can get an understanding of any recent news and the structure of the company. We also recommend that you look at the profile of your interviewer to find out about their background and any common connections or discussion points that may be of use to you during your interview. If there is something that they highlight on their profile, whether it’s a sporting interest or they’re members of a group or committee – be curious! This could help you out with some relevant small talk that breaks the ice and sets you apart from other candidates.

3. Get advice from your recruiter / Talent Acquisition representative

Ask for some guidance from your recruiter. This is what they are trained to do so make the most of the knowledge they can offer you, as they know what’s important to look into.

Know your stuff and be answer-ready

Anyone that has gone through the recruitment process understands that it’s hard to know exactly which questions you will get asked during the interview, which can sometimes be daunting as you can feel unprepared. 

One thing you can be sure of is that the interviewer will ask about YOU and your background so make sure that you’re familiar with the timelines on your CV/Resume so you can talk through them confidently.

A good way to ensure you feel confident and prepared is to make sure you create a bank of different interview answers for you to go over before your interview. This will ensure that you have covered all basis and will make you feel more at ease during the interview and perform better.

Here are the five most common questions that you could be asked during your interview:

  1. Can you tell me about yourself? - This should be a short recap of who you are and what you do. Despite it being short, you need to ensure it’s compelling and should spark interest.

  2. What’s your ideal role? - This question is not to catch you out, but instead to help the recruiter or interviewer get a better idea to see if this role is a good fit for you. Knowing exactly what you’re looking for helps the interviewer understand whether your ambitions align with the available opportunities within the company and benefit both of you in the future.

  3. What are your motivations for choosing recruitment? - Employers may ask this but ensure you stay away from the more generic answers such as ‘I like to help people.’ Instead, explain how your skill set would make you an ideal recruiter and back this up with personal experience. This applies to all industries so ensure you do your research as to which skill set is needed for the job you’re applying for so that you can show how you’re the right fit.

  4. What would be your biggest weakness? - It’s really important you have a good answer to this. Your interviewer doesn't want to hear the mundane answers that they expect you want to hear such as, how hard you work or how you’re a perfectionist. Make sure there is a level of honesty and learning because that’s what they want to see.

  5. Tell me about a time you handled a difficult work situation. - This one is very common so ensure you have a think of an answer beforehand. You can use the same answer for any sort of conflict or leadership experience, and the best way to do this is by using the STAR method that we go through below. This will ensure you give a focused answer to their question.

The Interview Hour

One of the most frequently asked questions that people ask themselves when prepping for interviews is ‘How shall I give a good answer to questions in interviews?’ Normally an interviewer will ask a range of different types of questions to test all aspects of you from performance-based to gaining insight into your decision-making.

So, let’s break them into categories:

1. Behavioural questions

Behavioural questions are those such as, 'Tell me about a time when…'. We recommend using the STAR method for these types of questions to naturally create a narrative and prevent you from babbling, which we know we can all be guilty of.

This method will help you give a focused answer to the interviewer:

S = ­­­­­­SITUATION. Set the scene and try to be as specific as you can. Ensure you are answering questions such as,  'When did this situation happen?' 'What was the problem?' 'What was your responsibility?' You can simply start the sentence by saying 'The problem was…' to create a clear structure.

T = TASK. Describe the tasks you had to complete, challenges, constraints, deadlines, issues etc. 

A = ACTIONThis is where you explain the steps you took to address the problem. The key part of this is ensuring you keep this aimed at yourself as they are looking to hire you, not the team that may have helped you. Focus on YOU i.e. 'What did YOU do to achieve the outcome'

R = RESULT. You need to explain the final outcomes of your action. What impact did this have on the situation/project/company and how did this help?

2. Opinion questions:

An opinion question is typically one that questions a situation, such as, 'What would you do in X situation?' Here, the employer is looking for your subjective opinion on how to analyse a situation. Even though it’s likely you will try to pick the “right” answer that you think the interviewer will want to hear, the truth is, there is never a single right answer! Instead, this is a chance to gain insight into your decision-making skills, so be honest and yourself because everyone deals with situations in the way that works for them.

3. Competency-based questions:

Competency-based questioning is used to understand the behavioural attributes necessary for the role.  These questions will be more ‘Tell me about a time when you have experienced X’

If you use the STAR model to respond to these, you will be on the right track from the start!

4. Performance-Based Questions

Interview questions that are performance-based focus less on your individual behaviour and more on how you perform in the role. This is where the employer can ask about an achievement/failure. Some examples of questions that an interviewer could ask, include, 'how do you organise your urgent tasks?' 'How do you set goals and work to achieve them?'... This is really important in a recruitment role that is sales and performance-based. Make sure you are able to give specific achievements and highlight if you have had to work to ‘KPIs’ (Key Performance Indicators).  Be as specific as you can here.

Do you have any questions⁉️

As you come to the end of the interview and have answered all the questions, the interviewer will then give you the chance to ask the questions – BE CURIOUS, your questions will show that you are genuinely interested in the company and the position.

The golden rule to prepare your questions is: (you might not need all of these, and some may be answered as the interview has progressed but if you have them prepared, you’ll never fall short)

  • FIVE on the Company
  • FIVE on the Role
  • FIVE on the Interviewer

Never underestimate the importance of your questions for the interviewer. A good tip is to try and avoid questions you can find answers for in the job description or the website, but use the information on the website to find out more.  E.g. 'I see that the business has opened a number of international offices, are there plans for any more?'

Here are some more suggestions that you could use during your interview:

  1. What expectations do you have from someone in this role in the first three months? Knowing what your employer expects from you will help you have a more focused strategy on the job. It will show which areas you need to improve the fastest and work towards.
  2. What is it that you love about working here? Get the interviewer to explain why they personally work in the business, this will give you great insight into the culture of the business.

The waiting game

Now, you are out of your interview and you think the power is out of your hands. But, there is still time to make one good last impression, and it’s simple…

Send a follow-up email 

Sending an email after a job interview has a number of benefits for potential candidates. It's more than just a polite way to thank the interviewer for their time; it is also a way to show that you have a keen interest in the position and if done in the right way, a simple follow-up note could be exactly what seals the deal.

Get in touch.

We are always looking for new ‘good humans’ to be part of our LHi family and so, if you think you have what it takes and can master the interview tips and tricks, then reach out to our People Team today:

UK & Europe People Team at recruitment@wearelhi.com
US People Team at recruitmentUSA@wearelhi.com 

We love sharing bits about our industry with you, look out for our next blog in the recruitment series.