Using recruiters when searching for your next job opportunity has many perks and benefits, as everyone knows. Without going into too much detail on this, they provide a key link and mediator of information between both the candidate and the employer before, during and after a hiring process. Throughout this process, recruiters are asked many different questions around the various stages, but the primary objective for keen candidates is “How can I best prepare myself for an interview?”
While the general interview approach remains the same – be on time, look smart, do your research, etc. – these guidelines have evolved, and the bar has been set a lot higher if you are to really stand out from the crowd. The digital landscape is forever changing, and candidates need to continuously adapt to it if they are to impress at interviews and live up to the standard employers now come to expect from a candidate wanting to work for them.
A wealth of information at your fingertips
The research that candidates can now do on potential employers is unbelievably easier in comparison to the past but, with that, interviewer expectations have risen. With so much information available and at the disposal of all candidates, there is no reason as to why you shouldn’t know an exceptional level of detail on the company you are interviewing for.
A company’s website is naturally always the first place to go. This will give you all of the vital details and insight you need to know when exploring exactly what the company does and how they do it. You are probably thinking, “Yes, ok, but that has been the same for years now!” But this is the bare minimum of what employers are now expecting. Therefore, you should go further, dig deeper, because there is so much more you can attain from a company’s website than just the ‘’About us’’ page.
Think outside the box – become a virtual customer
As a marketer, give yourself the best opportunity of getting the job. Analyse the company’s promotions, register with the company and analyse the entire new customer user journey you go through. Take note of the company welcome offers for new customers and of the overall user experience. Analyse the search engine effectiveness of the site, how easy is it to use, are the promotions effective and, in the end, be able to make clear suggestions and recommendations as to where they can improve across all of the above areas.
Not only can you research all their website, but you also have all the various social media channels at your disposal. As well as checking their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter presence, you also have LinkedIn. In particular, LinkedIn can provide you with a lot more detail about the company and how many people work there.
You can even search those who are interviewing you! Before meeting the individual or panel, you can know what they look like, confirm their job title, look for referrals through mutual connections, know what sort of backgrounds they come from, previous companies, etc. This allows you to find elements of common ground with those you are meeting with and enables you to direct questions in the right area too.
As well as Linkedin, you also have Glassdoor available which allows you some insight into what the general culture of the company is like and how you can see yourself fitting in.
Interview the interviewer
With all of this information only a few clicks away, preparing educated questions for interviewers is an absolute must. Before going into an interview you should always have questions prepared on aspects of the role or company that you don’t know already. This is also an opportunity for you to find out as much detail about them as they are looking to find out about you.
An interview is always a two-way street and the decision to join a company must be the right one for you as much as for them. Questions are always a good sign of enthusiasm and interest. They also give you the opportunity to get some finer details about the previous research you have undertaken.
For example, if you have fully researched and analysed a company’s welcome promotion prior to the interview and had registered with the company, but the topic hadn’t come up previously, you could ask “I noticed that you provide a 10% discount to new customers once they spend X amount, how is this promotion working for you at the moment, have you ever tried an alternative solution?”. This shows clear signs of in-depth preparation and will certainly set you apart from the rest of the crowd.
What to wear
My brother, who is a qualified electrician and may as well have been born in a pair of overalls because he has never worn a suit in his life, came to me a few months back as he was interviewing for a new position with a bigger company. He asked me for interview tips and any advice I could give him. When I advised him to wear a suit he was very much against it at the beginning, but after some persuading, he went with it. Out of the seven candidates he knew that went for interviews for the roles, two candidates were successful. They were the only two that wore suits.
Dress code is often asked by candidates prior to attending interviews. Knowing that so many companies operate in a casual environment, is it now “old-fashioned” to go to an interview in a full suit? No, is the straightforward answer. Unless you have been advised that you are to dress smart casual or in a particular way by HR or by your recruiter, it is never worth the risk.
Although interview techniques have evolved and improved in some instances, first impressions are still natural reactions. I advise taking the approach that you can never go wrong with a suit. No matter how casual the working environment may be, you may well still be expected to appear as professional as you can in an interview situation.