Having now been in the Recruitment Services industry for over 5 years, I have had the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to interviews.

Most recently and unexpectedly I have had quite an influx of candidates with amazing experience at senior level but deliver the most abysmal interviews I have ever conducted. This left me absolutely bewildered as to how they are able to do what they do on a regular basis and yet not be able to articulate it.

So to make life easier, here is my Interview Hack to giving an amazing interview if not to most people, at least if you ever encounter me in the process.

The Easy Stuff:

1. Show up on time! If you are running late, I don’t mind because things happen but at least have the courtesy to give me a call to let me know.

2. Do not call one of my colleagues my PA. Yes, this happened and believe it or not it was by a senior candidate.

3. Make sure you are well presented. I don’t care if you are in your work uniform, T-shirt, semi-formal or formal, please make an effort with your appearance. It shows that you actually care about making a positive impression.

The Important stuff:

1. Know your CV/Resume. 

  • Dates
  • Organisations
  • Roles
  • Reasons for leaving

2. Know your roles. (This is the most important part of the interview).

I expect candidates to come in and talk me through their experience. So sit down before the interview, grab a pen & paper and write down what you did on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. This will not only help you articulate your experience but it will help you realise what you do instinctively or as second nature (look at your job description for inspiration).

3. Good format to talk me through your roles:

  • Start by talking about the company you are/were working for
  • Talk about the size, the services or products the company provides and who it’s clients or target markets are, who your competitors are
  • Size of the company (branches, locations, revenue if allowed, number of people)
  • Who you report to, the size of your team, how many reports you have
  • Talk about your key responsibilities
  • Talk about your achievements (shows your strengths and abilities)
  • Talk about the challenges you have faced (shows your self awareness and ability to pick yourself up after a near miss).
  • Talk about what you learned in this role and how it fits in to the bigger picture (this will show us that you have commercial understanding of how your role impacts the business)

3. Show me that you are passionate about the role/industry you are applying for. You can do this by giving examples of what you do align yourself with them outside of work.

4. Build Rapport. Your rapport building skills show us how you are able to build relationships with new people or handle and hold a conversation. Organisation’s place a huge emphasis on cultural or team fit, so we need to be able to see if you are going to be able to go in and get along with the team.

Ask the Recruiter about their background or how they got into recruitment and use it as a catalyst to relate to them (you will be surprised at the answers).

Talk about what you are passionate about, your personal interests and use them to engage with the recruiter by asking if they know much about them, if they don’t, they will know someone that does. Even if they don’t, educate them on the topic.

Use engaging response builders such as: “As you would know” or “I’m not sure if you are aware” followed by factual information about role, company or industry.

If you are struggling, talk about the weather, traffic, crazy house prices, good or bad recruitment experiences, or anything to show me that you have the ability to talk about something other than work.

5. Competency based questions a.k.a behavioural questions.

Best way to ace these is knowing what you do, how you do it, and why you do it. If that seems to vague, try googling behavioural questions for your role and there will be plenty to choose from. This should give you an idea of what you may come up against in an interview.

Remember that these questions aren’t there to trip you up, but are there to see how you handle yourself, whether you are just doing things because its process or if you actually know what you are doing, how you are doing it, and why you are doing it that particular way.

Depending on the role, the behavioural questions will be asked to demonstrate a combination of the following attributes:

  • Ability to handle stress
  • Adaptability
  • Analytical skills / Problem solving
  • Attention to detail
  • Customer focus / Customer orientation
  • Communication
  • Creativity
  • Decision making
  • Goal setting
  • Initiative
  • Honesty and Integrity
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Leadership
  • Planning and organisation / time management
  • Team work
  • Tenacity / Resilience

6. Ask the recruiter about the process. It shows you are engaged and are actually interested in seeing this application through.

7. Ask any questions that you may have. What to ask:

  • Culture in the prospective company
  • What does their ideal candidate look like
  • Ask about the management style of the reporting manager
  • If appropriate talk about what the remuneration package looks like or extra benefits or incentives
  • When they are looking to make the appointment

8. Thank the recruiter for their time and walk out smiling.

9. Go home that night and reflect. Is this role, the company or environment  where you want to be? Ask yourself “is this the right career move for me?” and be absolutely honest with yourself.

10. Email the recruiter the next day. Let them know if you are genuinely interested or not. Ask them for any feedback on the interview itself, and whether they had all the information they needed.

My personal belief is: if my advice can even help one person in this world, I would deem my time and effort giving it a huge success.

So ladies and gentlemen, I wish you all the very best in your interview endeavours and should you ever have any questions or feedback feel free to comment or message me.

This article was originally posted on Robbie’s Linkedin profile, click the image to view: