The hard bit seems to have been accomplished, you’ve gotten the attention of the Hiring Manager and they have shortlisted you for an interview. So what’s next? the next thing would be to prepare!
You would be surprised at the level of preparation that goes into nailing an interview successfully. While we take on board your personal presentation, your time keeping and body language (including the delivery of your voice, it’s tone and it’s clarity) there are other fundamentals that needs to be taken into consideration.
Every organisation has its various styles of interviewing, some are more formal, some are informal, some are based around your technical ability, and if they are happy with that, then they would proceed to determine whether you are a good cultural fit. In most cases, organisations use a combination of all to identify the right talent that they feel will assist in achieving their business objectives.
Whatever the case may be, it is clear that in all hiring processes, 60% of an interview is based on competency while the other 40% is made up of your knowledge of the organisation, and your aspirations (i.e. your drive for career progression, and learning and development)
So my question is ” How well do you prepare for an interview?”
Let’s assume (and I would like to believe) that before you applied for the position within the organisation that you would have done some level of research about your prospective employer, but how far did you go?
When researching about an organisation you want to work for and represent; it’s all well and good knowing the products/services that they offer but have you looked at the following:
Company Turnover: You should be interested on how well you’re prospective employer is doing for two major reasons. Firstly, if it is an SME, you should use these figures to attain knowledge on their growth and also their stability. If their revenue is increasing year by year then obviously they are doing something right, and it is a great time to come on-board. However if they are not, then you need to ask yourself if you are ready to take a calculated risk. Secondly it shows the interviewer that you really do care about the organisation. You can also use this information to form part of the questions that you may want to ask the interviewer.
For example: ” I can see you did really well last quarter with a turnover of…… what was the product/service that contributed to that success? and do you see it as a front runner as the key product/service that will sell next quarter?”
In most cases, these details can be found on their company website and if not use the most powerful search engine called Google (it is your best friend!)
Their Current Success: Everyone likes to feel special and the representative of an organisation is no different. A Hiring Manager wants to know that you are aware of what they have been up to, and their current successes. It shows that you have been following the growth of the brand and also why you want to be a part of a winning team. Find an opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge, if there is a suitable opening in the dialogue to pitch, then take advantage of it. If there isn’t then poise it in form of a question, when you are given the opportunity to ask the interviewer questions.
For example: “I was reading the article on your organisation that you won the innovator of the year award, that is amazing, it would definitely bring in more business. So how will it affect the structure and dynamics of the team to ensure that we win next year?”
I used the word “we” on purpose; this subliminal message shows the Hiring Manager that you already see yourself as part of the organisation and this subliminal remark coupled with a sensible question should be a winning combination.
The Hiring Manager and the Organisation Structure: You will be surprised at how many people do not know the name of the CEO of the organisation they could potentially be working for. It is actually alarming and one of the key things that can let you down in an interview. Some people may wonder “why is it important ?” For those who might be thinking that, let me give you an example: If someone came to your house, sat down, ate your food, wined and dined with you, exchanged a meaningful/interesting dialogue and at the end of the night they asked you for your name, i’m sure you’d be pretty upset. It’s the same kind of scenario, you cannot expect to work for an organisation without knowing about the person who governs it, it demonstrates a lack of interest in the organisation as a whole.
Do a little digging on the CEO, their professional background and their career to date, the same goes for the Hiring Manager. Doing research on the Hiring Manager can give you an insight into his career, his personality etc. (Social Media, including LinkedIn are always useful tools!) even taking note of the kind of posts they like on LinkedIn can also tell you a lot about a person. This can make you more relaxed as you prepare for your interview knowing that you have a little edge over your interviewer.
Company Objectives: Every organisation has current and future business forecasts, and use this to build business modules/departments and identify key hires. Knowing about their business objectives is very important. It shows that you are walking the journey with them, and that you understand where they are going. So use this as a marketing tool to sell yourself, showing them where you can fit in to meet those business objectives
For example: If their objective is to build a data recovery centre before the end of the year, they would definitely need experienced talent in IMAC (Install, Moves and Changes) to fulfill this project. This can be made up of desk support staff, software developers, System Engineers etc. Selling your skill set and your soft skills based on your knowledge of their future projects shows that are ready to jump on board and integrate well with future projects.
The objectives of an organisation as a whole can usually be found as part of their mission statements on their website. In other cases, short term projects and objectives can also be found in online media interviews, and press releases.
All companies have goals for the next 5 – 10 years, and your knowledge of what they are will differentiate you from other candidates.
So when you have been shortlisted for an interview, take your time to really understand the organisation want to represent.
As much as they are looking for key talent to meet their business objectives, they also need to feel that you want them just as much as they want you.
An organisation will not compromise on that enthusiasm because in the long run, if you do not demonstrate what is expected and they have to let you go, it will be a costly hire for them and as a result will have to go back to the drawing board.