Interview tips from Morson
The interview process is designed to challenge you; to assess your skills, experience and enthusiasm for a role. Because of this, it is also a nerve-wracking experience for most candidates, so it pays to be prepared.
Coordinating over 500,000 people across Morson’s candidate database, our recruitment specialists are well placed to offer sound advice – here are some of their top tips:
You think you know the company? Think again. Make sure you look at everything from employee and branch figures to related news and market conditions that could impact the organisation. The more you know, and the more up to date and relevant the information is, the better.
Timing Is Everything
Interviews are already stressful – don’t add to that by misjudging journey times or locations. Be prepared and check your journey the day before, ensuring you aim for an early arrival time of around 15-20 minutes pre-interview. This allows you time to read over any notes, and arrive for your interview promptly, and in a relaxed manner.
Know Your Interviewer
Find out who will conduct your interview, and then do a bit of research. If they are on LinkedIn, then check out their profile and interests to see if you have anything in common. Ask your recruitment consultant what they have liked and disliked about other interviewees. If you take the time to connect with your interviewer, you are on the road to success.
Make An Impresstion
An unavoidable fact of life is that your opinion of a person is formed within the first 10-30 seconds of meeting them. How you present yourself is a key indicator to employers about whether you will ‘fit in’ with their company. Dress appropriately, and be aware of your body language. If in doubt, wear a smart suit – it is always better to be too smart than too casual. Test your handshake (it sounds odd, but ask the opinion of a few trusted friends – it’s amazing the impact a bad handshake can have!); a firm, professional handshake can make a strong first impression.
Thank your interviewer for their time, smile, shake hands, make sure they have your contact details and ask what the next steps are.
You feel confident about your research, your suit is brand new and you’re raring to go to your one-on-one interview. Or so you think. It is crucial to find out
exactly what type of interview you will be attending; if you’re expecting to talk through your CV in a room with one other person, then you could be unpleasantly surprised when you are greeted by a panel of four interviewers, each with their own list of questions. Simply ask what the interview format will be and how many people will be in attendance. Find out if there are any tests or competency-based questions, too.
Competency-based interview. Apply the STAR technique when preparing for a competency-based interview;Situation: Describe what the situation was. Task: Describe the outcome you had to reach. Action: Describe the action you took, and your part in its implementation. Result: Describe the result – remain positive
and take credit for your actions.
CV ‘talk through’ interview. As one of the more informal methods, a ‘talk through’ interview presents several challenges for the interviewee. It can be harder to ensure that you highlight your achievements, or have the opportunity to discuss certain skills. One solution would be to prepare a few examples of workplace success that you are proud of, and then bring them up at appropriate points in the conversation. Another method to ensure you highlight your skills is preparing a business plan. Detailing how you will achieve the major goals of the role is useful as it will help the future employer picture you in the role. If the opportunity to discuss it does not arise, then you will be able to leave it with the company to assess, reinforcing your commitment to the role.
If you don’t know the pay scale already, then find out. When the question of money arises, you can tell your interviewer that you are aware of the pay scale and would be happy to accept a reasonable offer. If you are using a recruitment agency, then hand this responsibility to them. If you are pressed to state an expected salary, then discuss what you were paid in your last role.
What’s Your Weakness?
Although one of the most typical questions in an interview, it is one that catches people out on a regular basis. This question is asked in order to assess how you can turn a perceived negative into a positive. Think about your answer, prepare a few options, and put a positive spin on it! The potential employer does not want to hear that you’re really chatty at work, or how you are always late. Think of this question as an opportunity to provide an honest answer about an area that you would like to improve upon. A text book response is typically: ‘I’m a perfectionist’ – steer clear from this overused expression, it is outdated and boring. Be honest; if the role does not require Excel expertise, then tell the interviewer you are planning to enrol on a course to brush up on your spreadsheets. If there is a qualification that would benefit you in the new role, then explain this is an area you would like to develop. Be honest, and the interviewer will respect you for that.
You never really know how an interviewer will approach your meeting, but there are a few standard questions that you can prepare for, and remember – they are not the only ones that can do the asking; you should also prepare your own questions to find out more about the role, and the company you are interested in working for.
Standard interview questions:
- Why do you want to leave your current role?
- Why do you want this role?
- Tell me about your current role?
- What do you like/dislike about your job?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- How do you think you will fit in with our team?
- What is your biggest achievement?
- What is the most difficult situation you have ever had to deal with?
Competency based interview questions:
- Tell me about a time when you have implemented a process that has improved how your team have worked?
- Describe to me a situation when you have had to convince others that an unpopular decision was the right choice for the company?
- Give me an example of the most difficult situation you have had to deal with in the workplace?
- Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a particularly difficult customer and what you did to overcome their problems.
Over To You
It is very important to ask questions when given the opportunity. The interviewer does not want to hear ‘No, I think you have answered everything that I need to know’. That demonstrates a lack of interest. Good questions to ask at this stage are:
- What plans do you have for the business?
- What are the rest of the team like?
- What are the challenges the company faces?
- What projects are coming up?
- What do you do better than your competitors?