Think you’re a shoe in? Preparation is key to avoid stumbling at interview …

06 Mar 2013 | Naomi Marshall

I know that there are a lot of blog posts out there about interview preparation however I still seem to come across so many candidates that miss out on their dream jobs simply because they didn’t take the time to prepare.

If you are applying for a sales role, you are not guaranteed to secure that role just because you have a sales background. A one hour interview gives you such a small portion of time to be able to explain why you are right for a role. If you are unable to give clear concise answers during that hour… then you may very well miss out on the role, even though you were perfect for it!

Before interview, take the time to consider the skills and requirements of the role that you have applied for versus the skills and the experience that you actually have. Ask yourself “If I was the recruiter what would I want to know about the potential candidates for this role?”

For example;

  • Does the role you are applying for require a great deal of multi-tasking? If so, then the interviewer will want to hear about times when you have succeeded in multi-tasking in the past.
  • Is the position a sales role? If so, the interviewer will want to find out about your success in previous sales environments.
  • Am I missing any of the key capabilities? If so, the recruiter will want to know how you will overcome this, or what transferable experience might be relevant.

You get the picture…

Therefore in my opinion, one of the best ways to prepare for an interview is to think about some of the transferrable experiences that you have had in previous roles (that relate to the role you are applying for) and practice explaining them in an easy to follow, chronological order.

The last thing you want to do in interview is stuff up the answer to an easy question just because you run out of time to remember the details, or can’t remember the specific order of events.

When a recruiter asks for an example in an interview, they are looking for a SPECIFIC answer. Not… “I did that all the time” or “I met my KPI’s every day”. They are looking for exact examples of real situations and YOUR exact part within that example.  If you have taken the time to prepare an easy and concise way of explaining your experience you will avoid drawing a blank.

The interviewer will want to hear you talk confidently about your experiences, successes etc. If you stumble, stutter or backtrack it is much harder for that confidence to shine through.

When you walk out of an interview you want to be thinking to yourself “well I have done all I can do and I am feeling confident” not “far out I really stuffed up that basic question about my experience!”


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