- Punctuality and Timing. There’s more to this than just not being late – although that is crucial. Think about timing when arranging the interview, as far as possible go for a time that allows you plenty of room for error in travel and locating the office. Arriving 10-15 minutes early is polite, any more than that can make you seem disorganised and some hiring managers find a very early arrival extremely off-putting.
- Be prepared. Know your own CV inside and out – we all think we know our own career history but make sure to have a thorough read of your own resume ahead of the interview and consider any parts of it that might prompt further questions. You also need to thoroughly research the company, if it’s a subsidiary or part of a group study the parent company, the sister companies and the wider business as well. Have an answer ready as to why you want to join this specific organisation, it’s never enough to just want A Job, be prepared to explain why you think the company is better than their competitors and why you think they’re specifically a good fit for you.
- Have some STAR examples ready to go. Competency-based interviews continue to be very popular, and for senior candidates who haven’t had to interview for a decade, they can come as a shock. Competency interviews consist of questions in the style of “Describe a time when you achieved a difficult goal, what steps did you take or “Tell me about a time when you failed to complete a task on time”. Make sure you think through situations where you’ve displayed your best qualities, and organise what happened in terms of Situation, Task, Action and Result, always giving positive reasons for your actions.
- Ask questions. It’s in every single interview guide for a reason. Turning an interview into a genuine dialogue is a great way of standing out from other candidates, and it allows you to make sure the company is right for you as well as proving you’re the person for the job. Ask for details of the role beyond what you already know. Ask about the team you’ll be working with. For smaller companies when you’re interviewing with a founder or MD, they’ll relish any opportunity to talk about their business’s values and their work philosophy. If you feel the interviewer will be receptive to it, ask if they have any reservations about you as a candidate. It shows confidence and gives you an opportunity to directly allay any fears they have about gaps in your experience or skill set.
- End on the right note. Take the opportunity to restate your interest, tell them that based on what you’ve learned in the interview you’re sure it’s right for you, and ask if there’s anything else they need from you. Make sure to ask what happens next, but be tactful – “What’s the next stage of the process?” shows you’re serious, “When will I find out if I’ve got it?” makes you sound entitled and aggressive.
A specialist recruitment and executive search firm specialising in interim and permanent Governance, Risk, Compliance, Complaints, Financial Crime and Change & Transformation roles across Financial Services