Interview techniques for finance, marketing or HR industry job interviews are much the same as for any other interview; success lies in the preparation and the delivery on the day. This sounds simple enough, but interviews can be daunting, especially for those of us who are more familiar with the clarity of spreadsheets, word processors and calculators than with questions and answers.
It is only natural to feel an overwhelming desire to get the interview over with as quickly as possible, but an interview can be so much more than just a question-and-answer session. With some good interview techniques and a little preparation, your interview can become a two-way process - a chance for you to sell yourself and an opportunity for the employer to sell the role. Here’s a checklist of interview techniques to help you turn your interview into a two-way discussion:
Create a ‘why me’ plan
A plan to communicate why you are suitable for the job can be developed largely from the job description. Instead of just preparing a monologue that you may not have the opportunity to deliver, also pick out key qualities from the job description, such as hard-working, diligence, attention to detail, and include them in your answers throughout the interview
Research the company
It is essential to learn about their achievements, products, services and objectives so you can ask knowledgeable questions about them. The website is a good place to start but also look at their social media accounts; companies often post their most up to date news items on social media first.
Research your interviewer
Get to know a bit about them, certainly their professional background but perhaps also try to find some common ground - LinkedIn is a great place to start
Review the job description
Understand the key responsibilities of the role. Try to think of your most relevant strengths and when you have carried out these responsibilities before to illustrate your answers
Prepare your own questions
You will need to prepare at least six questions (in case the interviewer covers some of the questions during the interview). Try to include questions that delve into the role and the company to demonstrate that you are committed and interested in more than just a payslip.
Practice answering questions
Prepare to answer open-ended questions in a punchy, clear and enthusiastic manner. Use the examples on our interview questions page and ask friends and family to practice with you.
At the Interview
If asked about why you left your last job, be honest about your reasons for leaving but don't speak negatively about your previous employer. Instead, be optimistic and enthusiastic about how all experiences are an opportunity to develop.
Your answers should be friendly and engaging but be sure to get to the point and answer the question.
Take a beat
Remember to take a breath and regroup if you feel as though you are rushing your answers. It is always better to take a moment to think than it is to rush through and miss your chance to shine
Find out what is great about the role, the company, what does your interviewer like most? Keep conversations going by finishing a response with a question - a good bridging technique engages the interviewer and will result in a more fluent conversation.
Let your personality shine through. Keep it professional but allow your interviewer to engage with your real personality.
Talk about what you have achieved. It's great that you worked as a team, but what did 'you' do well? They are interviewing you, not the team so avoid 'we' and don’t leave anything in the kit bag - sell yourself.
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