Seven Unconventional Interview Tips You Need To Read
The following tips are not your standard interview advice – we won’t go through mock interviews or how to dress for success. We won’t be giving you the recipe to make a great first impression. Instead, we have compiled some of the most misused preparation tips and interview mistakes from real feedback and experiences. Some might seem a little unconventional, others may contradict what you already know but all will give you a bit of an edge on your competition.
- Become a Stealthy Stalker!
You’ve probably been advised to read up about a company before an interview. Nothing new there. But most don’t go beyond a quick glance at the ‘About Us’ page on the company website. Instead, make yourself privy to all those important pieces of inside business information by becoming a little bit of a stealthy stalker.
Snoop around beyond their website home pages and get right into their mission and beliefs and search for any press mentions online. Follow them and see what the company gets up to on social media – Facebook, Twitter and on Instagram. Have a decent rummage around LinkedIn. You’ll find out what projects are being worked on, all the latest news and updates, the average company tenure and have a sneak peek at your interviewer’s activity and career history. It’s worth swinging by Glassdoor, Google Reviews and Trustpilot to see what employees and customers are saying too.
This will not only give you a competitive edge on other candidates when asked what you know about the business but you will also get a real impression of what the company is really like and if you even want to work for them in the first place. If there is a long interview process ahead set up some Google Alerts to keep you informed on everything new that is published about the company when it happens – maybe even before they do!
- Don’t Arrive Early
We’ve all heard the saying the early bird catches the worm – but not anymore! In today’s business world it’s all real time and right now. Arriving 15 minutes early or more can be as disruptive as being 15 minutes late. You could awkwardly bump into the previous candidate or place your interviewer on the back foot. If your interviewer is unable to accommodate you, a long wait is known to increase nerves and could lead to poor interview performance.
It’s best to arrive just in time. Google Maps is great at predicting how long it will take to arrive at your Interview. Of course, things can happen, traffic is worse than expected, buses don’t arrive and cars break down. Don’t just turn up late, instead contact your recruiter or interviewer as soon as you can. They will appreciate your consideration.
- Don’t Say Sorry
I’m sorry but Irish people say sorry a lot! It’s become an auto-response to things that we aren’t even apologising for. In a time when first impressions are so important, why use something that reflects personal fault. Try switching it out for a positive that shows your appreciation.
- You’re late. The traffic was terrible, but you have called ahead to let them know how long you will be. Don’t rush in saying “sorry I’m late!”, instead, say “thank you for waiting”.
- If you ramble on through some hard questions, “Sorry I rambled”, say “Thank you for listening to me”.
It’s not that we think you shouldn’t ever be sorry. But taking an attitude of gratitude will acknowledge the impact on the interviewer instead of being just about you. It will also show your consideration, warmth and ability to be positive.
- Stop Pretending you’re Perfect
What’s your greatest weakness? A question so commonly asked that it’s surprising to hear it is often answered wrong. Maybe it is the continual drive toward perfection or the desire to prove a 100% compatibility with a job? But, if someone answers that they have no real weaknesses it can seem like they’re unauthentic, have a lack of self-awareness or are just too lazy to really think about the question. Pretty harsh!
It’s not really about what you can’t do and more about how you self-reflect, learn and adapt so saying your greatest weakness is that you are a perfectionist won’t cut it. Take some time to really think out situations where you have struggled in work and focus on what happened, what you learned, what you did to change it and how you manage it today. Chances are if you are interviewing this question will come up at one so be prepared.
- Don’t be Fooled in Overly Friendly and Laid-back Interviews
It’s natural to feel relieved when your prospective employer greets you with an extra friendly smile and utters the words, “this will be more of an informal chat than an interview”. Finally, after a few interrogatively intense interviews, someone is really friendly, down to earth and makes you feel at ease. If you feel like this in an interview – you are being lulled into a false sense of security! Take the “Interview Chat” as a warning sign. You will be more willing to be honest about your level of experience, dish the dirt on your previous employer and overshare about your personal life.
The Casual Interview technique is used to make you relax, lose that interview persona you have been perfecting and show who you really are. The thing is, it’s not necessarily a negative. Casual interviewers are not trying to undermine you. They really want your interview to go great and for you to get the position but they also need you at ease to make sure you are the right fit for the company.
You have a great opportunity to show them who you really are with your Interview mindset switched on. Be your real professional self and stir the conversation to hit all of those on the job experience points that they are looking for. Even if you happen upon a genuine ‘casual style’ interview you need to make sure that your prospective employer walks away remembering you for more than being really nice or oversharing.
- Stop Asking for the Sake of a Question Questions
Having questions prepared before an interview is an age-old trick. People usually jot down two or three regarding the team, training and the next steps. But these are often answered organically throughout the duration of the interview. This leads to ‘questions for the sake of a question’ being made up on the spot because that’s what you’re meant to do – But why? Whatever is asked is an insight into your knowledge and what’s important to you in relation to the position and the company.
At this point, we recommend you keep any package related questions off the table where possible. Everyone knows that money and package are going to be really important and will seal the deal. If you deliver a good interview you or your recruiter on your behalf will be in a strong negotiation position later. But right now, in your interview, both you and the company should be focused on ability, fit and if you actually want to do this job.
When you’ve already done all that stealthy stalking from point one, online questions will generate naturally from gaps between each piece of information. Use company information found, along with job details, and a question that will actually inform you about your role.
E.g.) I would like to know a little more about being a sales advisor on your team. I noticed you recently launched product x on the market, could you tell me how the sales team were involved in this before and after launch?
- Don’t Drop the Ball
You’re finally nearing the end and regardless of if you have sat through a formal interview, intense interrogation or casual chat, you have just sprinted through your complete career to date. You’re probably tired and you feel like you have done everything you possibly can but you know there is one last thing to do – Your final pitch. This should be a quick, concise and controlled close that summarises why you are the person they should hire using a modern sales closing technique.
The technique is focused on ‘customer needs and pain points’ and how you are the solution. A great way to prepare for this is by breaking down the full employer job specification into 5 to 6 short points. Using the same language, replace the details with your most closely linked successful experience. You may not use all of the points you prepare, but you will gather intel on what’s most important to them in the interview.
The closing pitch is the opportunity to solidify your capabilities and want for the position in the mind of your prospective employer. Keep it brief or you will lose clarity. The opportunity to pitch usually arrives naturally at the end of an interview when you are asked if there is anything you would like to add. But if not, it is ok to say that you would like to say a few points before finishing.
Once the ball is in your court – don’t drop it.