Interviews range from conversations lasting a few minutes to several formal meetings, sometimes with more than one interviewer. The interview process allows you to demonstrate that you are the right candidate for the job.
Our expert recruiters have dealt with a range of organisations and have a broad awareness on what they are looking for when it comes to interviews. Below are our interview tips and advice on how to succeed in interviews.
Do your research
The better prepared you are, the more relaxed and comfortable you will be. Being unprepared will be obvious in your body language and tone as well in the answers that you provide. Before the interview, it is a good idea to gather information about the company that has the position vacant and try to relate your experience to the specific duties of the job opportunity available.
Look the part
Dress for success! At an interview it is extremely important to look, act and dress professionally as you won’t have a second chance at making a good first impression. Ideally, a business suit should be worn. Clean shoes, clean finger nails and clean well groomed hair are important.
We can’t over-emphasise how important first impressions are. Research has shown that an interviewer has made an impression within the first eight seconds of meeting the person. The remainder of the interview is spent confirming this opinion, or turning this opinion around.
- Practice interviewing – Enlist a friend (better yet, a group of friends and colleagues) to ask you sample questions. Practice making eye contact.
- Video record your practice sessions – Pay attention to body language and verbal presentation. Eliminate verbal fillers, like “uh,” and “um.” Practice using positive body language to signal confidence, even when you’re not feeling it. Find more information about body language in interviews and how to use it to your advantage
- Handle logistics early – Have your clothes, CV, and directions to the interview site ready ahead of time, to avoid any extra stress.
Anticipate likely questions
To get to the motivations and working style of a potential employee, employers often turn to behavioural interviewing, an interviewing style which consists of a series of probing, incisive questions. This may sound a little intimidating; however with a little preparation you can feel confident before the interview.
A common question is “Why are you looking for a new role?”
Understand your motivations
You’ll have begun the journey of applying for a new job for a reason, make sure you’re clear on why this is and how a new role answers that.
There are some circumstances, such as redundancy, that are self-explanatory, but if you feel that you have reached the natural end of your current job then you need to examine why this is, and make sure these motivations match the jobs you are applying for.
Prepare your answers
If you give your reason for leaving as lack of opportunity then an interviewer will be wondering why your current employer couldn’t facilitate your growth, so be clear on the reasons why. A much better answer than “I need a new challenge” would be, “due to the size of the company they couldn’t offer study support” or, “I am qualified now and they couldn’t offer me a role fitting my experience.”
This will show you know what is needed to further your career and are clear in your motivations.
Show understanding of the new role
Credit professionals are often declined at interview because employers just don’t believe they are motivated enough, or their reasons for leaving won’t be resolved in the new role. For example, you may say you aren’t getting enough international experience – but if the new role is similar the employer will be worried you won’t enjoy this job either.
Or, if you say you’d like to be a head of credit in 5 years, an employer may think this is not realistic in their company and that they are the wrong fit for you.
If you are looking for a higher salary, then first do your research into what sort of salary your skills and experience can command in your local area and whether your demands are realistic, using tools such as the Hays Salary Guide. Your recruiter can help you understand what you should expect for your role.
By understanding your motivations for leaving and making that your new role reflects these motivations, you are more likely to find to be able to answer this question and find the right job for you.
During the interview
A firm (but not bone crunching) handshake with a positive smile will do wonders when you first meet your Interviewer. Some small chit chat from the reception area to the interview room will also help. These are the vital seconds (not minutes) in making your first impression.
Body language is also very important in your interview. Come across confident and relaxed. We suggest sitting up straight, leaning forward slightly and always maintaining good eye contact with the interviewer or panel. Looking disinterested will not get you the job.
If offered a drink accept it as this can help and can be used as a prop to perhaps give you some time to answer a difficult question.
DEEP BREATHS Take deep breaths to relax, keep calm and focus the mind.
RELAX Try not to let your nerves show through your body language
OPEN Ensure you are sitting in an open comfortable position
LEANING Lean slightly toward the interviewer to show your interest
EYE CONTACT Make eye contact with the interviewer