Level Up Your Interview Prep

So, you have been invited for an interview. This means you are qualified enough on paper, now it’s time to sell yourself!

There is plenty of content on how to answer your typical interview questions. My tips will take your interview prep to the next level. The key to smashing your interview is to be knowledgeable and to be likeable! For the likeable side, my advice is to tap into your best professional characteristics and let your personality shine. For the knowledgeable side, I will share a few ways on how to find company information and how to impress the interviewer with your business awareness.

Your key resources are:

  • Google (to find national news, industry news etc)
  • The company website (to find company information and values)
  • The company annual reports (read the CEO report/ Chairman report to find out exactly what has happened in the company over the past 12 months)

So, here’s the things you need to know, and the best thing about this is, it can all be done in an afternoon!

1. Know Your Industry

It is important to have an understanding of the key regulation reforms, current ‘scandals’ and general news, happening in the industry you are entering into. Having this information will allow you to generate talking points, or even answer some unexpected questions such as ‘What do you think the key risks are for this organisation and why?’. It could also help you form your answers to standard interview questions such as ‘Why do you want to work here?’ or even help you generate questions for your interviewer, ‘What are your thoughts on XYZ?’.

Note: Find 2–3 stories/issues/ regulation reforms and research the changes over an appropriate amount of time (I recommend going back 6 months). This will demonstrate that you have been following the developments.

2. Know How Changes in Your Industry Will Impact Your Role

Or make an educated assumption, of course, from reading the job description. This will be another talking point, ‘I want to work here because [said industry development], this will be an exciting change for the business and more specifically my role because [said reason]’.

Example:

You: How has [said change] impacted the business and how has it and/or will impact our work?

Interviewer: Answers question

You: That’s great, because that’s something I really enjoy doing/ That’s interesting, I didn’t see it having this kind of impact.

3. Know the Company Values and Mission

This is important as it highlights the culture of the company, and if you don’t vibe with the values, it might not be the place for you. If you are just trying to get your foot in the door, know the values/mission like the back of your hand and try to tie any answer you give, including role specific ones, back to these.

Example:

Value: Transparency

Career- breaker/ Fresh out of a grad scheme

Question: Give me an example of a time when you had a difficult stakeholder and how did you deal with this?

Answer: Explain the situation, explain why the stakeholder was perceived as difficult, explain what you did, and then explain the result. Now tie your answer back to the company’s value. E.g., Although, this was a challenging situation, and eventually we got a result, working in a place that promotes transparency would have made this situation a lot easier.

Fresh Graduates

Question: Give me an example of a time when you had to work in a team?

Note: At this point you might not have any experience so you will have to fall back to some sort of group project.

Answer: Explain the situation, explain the task, explain your role, and then explain the result. Now tie your answer back to the company’s value. E.g., Although, this was a challenging situation, and we were able to deliver the objective, I learnt that communication, and being honest and transparent will build trust amongst the team which will help to deliver the project.

4. Know a Few Awards Won by the Organisation

Go on the company website, find out what awards they have won. Talk about how you have seen that they have won the awards. If the awards relate to your potential team or the wider organisation, ask the interviewer what the atmosphere was like when the award was won. You can also tie this back to the company’s values and mission.

Example:

Award: Insurance Broker of the Year

Company Value: Customer First

You: I saw that the company won the (Year) Insurance Broker of the Year Award, it’s impressive, it really shows that XYZ is about putting the customer first. What was the atmosphere like after winning?

Interviewer: Answer

5. Always Have Questions for Your Interviewer

Nerves and other factors can affect how your interview goes, but one tactic you can use to turn your interview in to a conversation, is to have questions for your interviewer. There is normally time for this at the end of the interview, but during the interview, if your interviewer has asked you something, whether you are confident in your response or you have winged your answer, you can also ask the interviewer for their thoughts on the matter.

Example:

Question: What do you think are the risks that this firm faces?

Answer: With so much going on in the industry from [‘scandal’ 1] to [reg reform 1] I would say the key risks for the firm are data privacy, liquidity and fraud. What are your thoughts?

This can turn the interview to a conversation and increase your likeability.

In Summary:

Gather a decent amount of information specific to the industry and the company! Be prepared, and let your personality do the rest!

DISCLAIMER: To apply all these tips during your interview, ‘read the room’, know when to ask certain questions. Asking questions or dropping your knowledge randomly is just weird and might not work in your favour!

I wish you all the best in your future interviews! Feel free to reach out with questions and comments, @_morvialee on Instagram and Twitter xoxo

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IT Auditor- Chartered Accountant- Boy Mum (11 Years and Counting) with experience, advice and a story to tell 😊😊

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Morvialee

Morvialee

IT Auditor- Chartered Accountant- Boy Mum (11 Years and Counting) with experience, advice and a story to tell 😊😊

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