6 tips to ace your next interview

When it comes to interviews, recruiters see the best (and worst!) practices every day. A wrong move can put even the most qualified candidate on the back foot, so here are our top tips for making the most of the interview opportunity.

#1 Do your research  

Before your interview, it’s essential to spend some time looking at the employer’s site and social pages and researching what’s happening in the industry. Of course, it’s best practice to do this before applying, but once you get an interview, take a deeper look and make some notes.

It might sound simple, but it’s a step that is often overlooked. Showing that you have done your homework says a lot about your interest in the role.

#2 Know your audience

Interviews may be conducted by HR, senior management, the hiring manager or a combination, and it’s essential to understand who will be in the room (or on the screen!). This will likely affect the questions you are asked – and the responses expected. For example, if the hiring manager is in the room, you might expect more detailed, technical questions. On the other hand, if you are being interviewed by HR, you might find some more traditional experience-based questions, e.g., Tell me about a time when…

If you have the names of your interviewer/s, take the time to look them up on company pages or LinkedIn to understand their role in the organisation, as this will give you some idea of where their focus might lie and how to put your best foot forward.

Or, if you are working with a recruiter, ask them about the client. They likely have a good understanding of the personalities you will be engaging with, so their insights are invaluable.

#3 Create an elevator pitch

Inevitably, you will be asked the broad question of ‘Tell me about yourself’, but many candidates are still caught off guard. You’ll likely have included a professional or career profile on your resume, so create a brief pitch that aligns with whatever you’ve put in writing. And, of course, make sure it is relevant to the role at hand.

#4 Practice storytelling

An interview is your chance to highlight your skills and experience. The best way to demonstrate this is to tell short stories that illustrate what you did in real-life situations.

If you feel nervous, you can rehearse short stories that highlight each required strength listed in the job description, but it is more useful to remain flexible and understand how to structure your stories to highlight your skills.

Structure your story with a beginning (the situation), middle (what occurred) and end (what you achieved). Your stories should have a clear point, so practice them in front of someone else and ask for feedback. You don’t want to get caught waffling or, conversely, not giving enough detail.

#5 Use closed question responses to highlight skills and experience 

Although best practice interviewing techniques don't include closed yes or no questions, you will still likely encounter them. The key is to turn them into an opportunity to showcase your skills and experience.

For example, “Have you got experience with AUTOCAD software?”

If your answer is yes, add context. What have you used it to do? In what environments?

If your answer is no, you can still add context. For example, have you used other similar software? Do you have experience learning new technologies you can highlight that showcase your adaptability?

#6 Prepare questions in advance

Another area where candidates can be caught off guard is when the interviewer asks whether you have any questions for them. Of course, you don’t want to take up time with a laundry list of questions, but a few well-placed questions about the organisation show your interest.

Looking for your next role? Get in touch with the team at Denovo. More than simply helping you find your next job, we are here to help you make the right career moves.