Interview performance is often the deciding factor when deciding between candidates for a job. It’s a critical part of the recruitment process so you’ll need to impress from the start. Here are some tips which should help you get the best out of this meeting.
Before the meeting
Find out as much information as possible about your prospective employer in advance – most companies have websites that are packed with information so this is a good place to start. Check the relevant trade press, familiarise yourself with mission statements, past performance and future goals. Talk to other people you know in the industry and others that know the company you’re interviewing for. Think about current factors affecting the company and build some questions around this – write them down, there’s nothing wrong with bringing a notepad out in a meeting and it shows a good level of preparation. Your questions are a really effective method of showing knowledge, desire and understanding and the importance of preparing these should not be underestimated.
In the meeting
Get the basics right – greet your interviewer standing, with a strong, firm handshake and don’t forget to smile. Good body language is vital – don’t slouch. Speak clearly and confidently and try to maintain a comfortable level of eye contact throughout. Interviews will normally start with an introductory chat, moving on to questions specific to your application and experience. You should get some information about the company and role too and finish with an opportunity for you to ask some questions of your own. Make sure you know what’s on your CV and be prepared to answer questions from it. Make sure you’ve read any job description thoroughly and think of ways in which your experience will benefit your potential employer. Listen to what is being asked of you. Think about your answers to more difficult questions – a short silence is better than minutes of waffle so be mindful of giving irrelevant detail. Give positive examples from your experience to date but be concise. Prepare yourself in advance for common interview questions.
Some common questions
There are some interview questions which have a habit of coming up, so make sure you’ve prepared for them.
- When did you decide that you want to pursue a career in digital marketing and why?
- What sort of work do you want to be doing and why?
- Where do you see yourself in the short term and long term?
A Levels (if applicable)
- What grades did you get and how did this rate with your expectations?
- What made you choose your A Level subjects?
Degree (if applicable)
- What did you study?
- Why did you choose this subject?
- How did you feel about your results?
- How did you work towards achieving your First / 2:1/2:2?
Career/Work experience (if applicable)
- How did you arrive in your current/most recent position?
- What are your responsibilities within the role?
- How important is attention to detail in your current role?
- Why are you looking to move?
- What have been your best achievements in your current role?
- In your last appraisal, what areas of development were identified?
- How are you tackling these issues?
- How would your Manager describe you?
Competency based questions
These can be tricky so make sure your answers have a structure. Think about the acronym STAR: Situation – describe the situation succinctly, the challenges and the obstacles Target – what was the objective? Action – what was your specific involvement in this? Result – what was the outcome? Here are some examples to get your started:
- Describe an example of how you have effectively worked as part of a team.
- Describe an example of when you have been given responsibility for a project from start to finish. What was the task? How did you ensure that the deadlines were met?
- Describe how you build good relationships in a working environment.
- Describe an example of how you have influenced a decision making process at work/university.
- Describe an example of when you have been set a strict deadline and how you ensured that it was met.
- Describe a highly pressurised situation that you have found yourself in – what were the pressures/who or what was pressuring you? How did you overcome them?
- Describe an example of when you have had to remain resilient against a challenging person/group of people. What did the person/people want you to do? How and why did you remain resilient?
- What do you know about the company you’re interviewing for?
- Why is this an organisation that you would like to join?
- What can you bring to the organisation?
- How would your best friend describe you?
- If you could take one item with you to a dessert island, what would it be?
- What are your 3 main strengths?
- What are your 3 main weaknesses? Be careful with this one – think about the negative implications of your answers and think about positive weaknesses where possible (“I’m a bit of a perfectionist” etc.)
Some good questions for you to ask the interviewer
Asking the interviewer or the panel your own questions plays a very important role in the interview. Not only for your own purpose of actually figuring out if it’s the right job and place for you, but it also tells the interviewer quite a lot about you. Often the questions you ask are just as important and sometimes more important than the answers to give to their questions. Here are some general questions that are great to ask:
- How would you describe the company’s culture and leadership philosophy?
- Can you please show me some examples of projects that I’d be working on?
- What is the single largest problem facing your staff, and would I be in a position to help you solve this problem?
- What specific qualities and skills are you looking for in the job candidate?
- Is this a new position, or did someone leave? If someone left, why did they leave or what did they go on to do?
- What is the typical career trajectory for a person in this position?
- What would you say are the three most important skills needed to excel in this position?
- Who would be my manager, and will I have the opportunity to meet him or her?
- Why do you like working here?
- What does a typical day or week look like for the person in this position?
- How do you see this position contributing to the success of the organization?
- What do you think distinguishes this company from its competitors, both from a public and employee perspective?
- Does the company offer continued education and professional training?
- How can I best contribute to the department?
- What particular achievements would equate to success at this job? What would success look like?
- Are you most interested in a candidate who works independently, on a team, cross-functionally, or through a combination of them all? Can you give me an example?
- What is your ideal communication style with your staff? Do you meet regularly with your team, rely heavily on e-mail, use status reports or work primarily through other means?
- Do you have any concerns about me or about my qualifications that may prevent you from selecting me for the job?
- What is the next step? When do you think you will be making a decision?
Other than these general questions, if you know and have researched the specialism you are interviewing for, there are numerous questions in relation to your field that might be worth asking. Check out our Resource Guides for more specific questions.