Top 10 interview tips (plus 5 new one if you are having a Video Interview )

Having performed both in person and online interviews for both junior and senior roles, I have picked a couple of little tricks over the years to help try and smoothen the process and increase the likelihood of nailing that interview. Remember that the position must be suitable for you as much as you are suitable for the position. These tips below are mainly focus on the first interview and assume a physical interview ( which I appreciate under current conditions may be an issue ). I will add to these later for Video and further interviews .

  1. Ensure you are mentally and physically preparation.
  2. Do research on the company and the potential interviewers, try and find out about the culture of the company.
  3. Come up with a unique question to ask them and other relevant questions, write them down on a pad of paper and take the pad and a pen in with you,
  4. Find out what they can do to help your career path.
  5. Review LinkedIn and see if you know anyone who works at the company,
  6. Ensure you plan your journey and arrive at least 10 minutes early, go to the toilet, look in the mirror, smile and say a good thing about yourself. Always be polite to the receptionist/first person you meet as they are often asked about how the candidate cope in the first few minutes of arriving.
  7. Listen to the questions they ask you and answer them succinctly. Remember no question they ask is a stupid question. (Remember that most interviewers have their own standard questions that they ask every time and can gauge quickly how you compare to others).
  8. Read the job description and ensure you can answer those questions which ask about your specific skills that match and if there are any area’s that don’t match. With the latter ensure you have a back up to how you would overcome that possible short coming.
  9. Always ask the interviewer to describe their current main challenge.
  10. Always ask the interviewer to describe the culture of the business, if they can’t then question they are for you .

A colleague of mine from Honda Motor Europe ( Alastair Brumage ) put this post recently on LinkedIn and its very relevant to todays non face to face meetings . Please see his five valuable tips, some of them are covered above , but it’s worth a repeat . Thanks to Alastair .

Undergraduate Placements – At the risk of coming across as curmudgeonly, I thought I would share a few thoughts/advice to any prospective Undergraduates who might be searching out opportunities for their Industrial Placements.

Honda Motor Europe, like many other organisations, run an excellent and vibrant Undergraduate Scheme. We invest heavily in the Undergrad’s development during their year with us, and are committed to ensuring that these unique and brilliant individuals return to their studies enriched ( as are we by their input ) and with a better understanding of how they can fulfil their potential. I like to think that spending a year at a brand such as Honda would be regarded as a fantastic opportunity and would certainly look good on your CV when entering an increasingly congested and completive graduate job market.

We are in the midst of first stage video interviews at the moment, and despite meeting a few gems, I find there is also a lot of frustration with clearly bright, personable and talented individuals selling themselves woefully short. 

Here are my Top 5 tips to boost your chances.

1) Don’t be late to the call – do you really need a phone call to remind you to join the VC ? – we are prospective employers, not your parents.

2) Research the Company – we get that you might have applied for other positions, but at least have an understanding of what we do and have dedicated years to achieving. We spend a lot of cash on our website, you can read it for free.

3) Put your camera on – we want to engage with you and see your smile. Treat the IV as if you are meeting us in person; iron a shirt, brush your hair, tidy your room …

4) Prepare some questions – we love answering them; being inquisitive is a strength. There must be something about the role we haven’t covered; if not, ask about the last team building exercise we did.

5) What makes you memorable ? most undergrads don’t have an extensive job history or life experience to call upon and the CVs tend to all be a bit generic, but you will have all achieved somethings of which you are rightly proud. Tell us about it, we will find it interesting and remember you for the right reasons.