Job Interview Tips, Coaching, Question Preparation, Help and Advice

In my experience, the biggest mistake candidates make with executive-level interviews is to think that they can wing the interview process, over-estimating their interviewing skills. A large percentage of my executive candidates tell me that they will be fine when it comes to the interview process, only to find out later that they have interviewed poorly, and have not been invited back for a second round discussion.

For this reason, I insist that my executive candidates undergo a rigorous interview practice schedule prior to any important client-facing interview process. Nothing can beat hard core interview practice because interviewing skills, thankfully, can be significantly improved and mastered, with even a modest investment of time.

I cannot stress enough that interview preparation is the key to securing the job of your dreams. In the current economic climate, when the stakes are high and the interview process has never been more competitive, you cannot afford to leave that important job interview to chance. Get professional help and advice. I have put together some pointers that I recommend for executives preparing for interviews. Some of this information might seem very basic and common sense, but you would be surprised how many candidates make simple mistakes which can mean the difference between a job offer and a rejection letter.

Interview Preparation

Prior to your interview it is imperative that you have completed your research about the company to learn as much as possible about the organisation, and the people you will be interviewing with. This inevitably means doing more than just a quick skim over the company website the morning of the interview! Always confirm the names and the business titles of those you will be interviewing with, and get clear written instructions from the recruiter as to the location and time of the interview. The more you know about the interviewers, the more comfortable you will be.

It is relatively easy to find out background information about the interviewers via a Google search, a quick check on LinkedIn, or simply asking the recruiter for more information. The more information that you have, the better you will be able to prepare. I also recommend candidates ask for a job description to assist with their interview preparation. When this is not available, it can make preparation for the interview considerably harder.

Interviews are predominantly framed on competency-based interview principles. This means that the interview questions are designed to assess whether the candidate can do the job, whether you would be able to hit the ground running once on the job, and whether you fit with the company’s culture and management team, through assessment of your competencies, skills, capabilities and past experience. To prepare for your interview, you should anticipate what questions you may be asked, and rehearse quality responses that address them. This is relatively easy, as I can almost guarantee the questions that you will be asked, as they will broadly cover 5 key areas that the employer will be looking to address during the interview process.

5 Key Areas The Employer Will Want To Address: 

  • Why are you here, why do you want to work for us, why are you knocking on our door?
  • What can you do for us?
  • What kind of person are you?  Can you fit into our organisation and do you have the same values as us?
  • What distinguishes you from other applicants? For example, will you go the extra mile and do you have better work habits?
  • Can we afford you? Where do you fit into our organisation chart?

5 Key Pieces of Information the Candidate Should Try and Get Out of the Interview:

  • What does the job involve?
  • What are the skills that a top employee in this job would have?
  • Are these the kind of people YOU could and want to work with?
  • Can you show that there is something unique about you that will differentiate you from other candidates?
  • Can you persuade them to hire you on the sort of salary that you want?

What are your key values? Demonstrate these values and you are UNLIKELY to get the job!!

  • Arrogance
  • Aggression
  • Tardiness – late for appointment
  • Complaining or blaming, especially about previous employer
  • Any sign of dishonesty or lying
  • Irresponsibility
  • Inappropriate humour
  • Not following instructions
  • Lack of enthusiasm
  • Any sign of instability

Appearance and Personal Habits, Before Interview Make Sure….

  • Wear a dark suit – conservative corporate style dress is usually recommended
  • You are freshly showered
  • Try to get an ‘am’ interview vs. later in the day
  • Interview mid to late week as they are usually more successful
  • Freshly laundered clothes
  • Pants with sharp creases
  • Shoes polished
  • Finger nails are clean
  • Fresh Breath! Absolutely essential for smokers!
  • Not too much cologne/aftershave
  • Avoid smoking prior to interview
  • Ladies – avoid clothes that are revealing – dress conservatively

Interview Rules and Tips

  • Research the company prior to interview including checking their website, press, leverage your contacts, check Google & LinkedIn
  • Follow 50/50 rule re how much you should speak
  • Answer questions within 20sec – 2mins, practice this timing to make sure that you do not under-answer, and do not ramble over-time, and lose the interviewers’ attention
  • Prepare and plan what you are going to say
  • Think of yourself in terms of how you can solve company problems – you are the solution! Use language to reflect this
  • Illustrate the way you have conducted your job search – and why you want to work for the company, make them feel special
  • Provide evidence of your past successes, and weave relevant examples of your experience into the conversation
  • Don’t bad-mouth former employers
  • Treat interviews as a research opportunity, think peer to peer – versus I am begging for a job
  • Remember HR are trying to screen you out – every answer needs to be great/better than average
  • Don’t let your resume become the agenda for the meeting
  • Send thank you notes following your interview – very important, an extra effort that will get you noticed
  • Everything that you say, think in terms of how you can benefit the organisation

To book an Interview Coaching Session, please visit our Online Shop to select and pay for your service, or contact one of our consultants on 1800 RESULTS or (02) 9922 6175 for more information.