Interview preparation

Changing company and role is a big and important decision. Often the decision is based on the impression and information you received during your meeting(s) with your future employer. In terms of time, these meetings often last no more than a few hours and during that time the company should qualify you as a candidate, while giving you the opportunity to feel that it is the right company for you. It is therefore important to invest time before and between interviews to increase your chances of receiving an offer from the company while verifying that it is the right opportunity for you. Here are some pre-interview tips to help you in this process.

It may seem obvious, but make sure you research the company and the hiring manager you are meeting with. This will give you a first broader basis to qualify the company and the hiring manager. If you then formulate a few questions that shows you have done your homework, it also gives the impression that you are knowledgeable and motivated. For example, you might mention that you have seen that the company has won a large national project that seems very exciting and wonder if the department where the role is located will also be involved in that project.

Prepare questions

Think carefully before the interview about what you want to know to make sure it is the right opportunity for you. Then create a list of questions that you want answered during the meeting. Remember that an interview is often very compressed, so it is good to limit the number of questions to a maximum of five. Try to find questions that will help you qualify the role, the company and the hiring manager.

Questions such as: What are the company’s growth plans for the next few years and how will this affect the department where this role is placed? How will this role evolve over time and what do you think would be a logical next step for long-term development within the company? How do you think the people who report to you would describe your leadership style?

Present your benefits

Think about the top three benefits you can bring to a new employer that will make you stand out from your colleagues. Then think of examples that provide evidence of these benefits: “I am a good relationship builder, which was a great benefit in my last role where, as a projectleader, I got the client to share their long-term challenges outside the project I had. This allowed me to introduce more services in other areas, and the business grew from 1 to 5 million per year.

Giving examples is something that should be applied as much as possible when making a claim, including, for example, personal characteristics. Instead of saying that you are positive and solution-oriented, you can say; I am positive, I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs so I have had that attitude since my childhood. I am solution oriented, in the role of project manager it has been important to always react quickly with new solutions as it is such a changing environment. Giving examples gives substance and credibility.

Here are our top tips for going to an interview

1. Prepare yourself for the most common interview questions, you can find many common questions by doing a simple search on Google. When you are well prepared, you will see the questions as an opportunity to highlight your strengths instead of being asked and coming up with an answer that you will regret after the interview.

2. When it comes to questions about motivation, never speak ill of your current employer if you can avoid it. Instead, highlight the reasons why you became interested in the role with your potential new employer. For example, if you see the benefit of moving from a large company to a smaller one, you could say that you have had a good experience of seeing how a large company works, and that you are looking to take that experience to a smaller organization where you have greater responsibilities and more influence.

3. Avoid presenting salary as a reason to change roles. Most hiring managers look for individuals who have a longer-term perspective and an interest in their business and company rather than a higher salary. If you are asked about your salary expectations, the easiest and most transparent answer is to give an overview of your current salary and benefits and explain that you would like to see an improvement in salary if you switch. This reduces the risk of wasting your own and other people’s time with an offer that doesn’t bring improvement, while not limiting yourself by mentioning an upper limit or risking losing the role for asking too much.

4. Most interviews end with the employer asking if the candidate has any questions and the candidate asking what the next step in the process is. If you are working with a recruiter, the recruiter should be able to answer the question. An alternative and beneficial way to end the interview is to ask for advancement. If you feel that you had a good meeting and want to continue, say so. For example, you could say: “I got my questions answered and I like what I heard today. I feel that the role and the company are very interesting, that I can manage the tasks involved and that you seem to be a good manager”. Finish by saying that you would like to continue the process. If you feel it is appropriate, you can also ask what their impression of you was and if there are any concerns or less positive aspects about how you might fit the role and the company. In some situations, this may seem a bit too direct, but it gives you the opportunity to answer any doubts they may have and avoid misunderstandings.

Finally, some general tips

1. Be on time and register no earlier than 15 minutes before the interview and no later than 5 minutes before.
2. Put your phone on silent
and avoid taking it out during the interview.
3. Bring directions
and the number of your recruiter or the company where you will be interviewed in case something unexpected happens.
4. Bring a notebook
and a copy of your CV.

Don’t be too short but don’t be too long either. An interview is a casual conversation between people who in most cases have never met before. A good interview is like a good conversation: you give and you take. Also keep in mind that the purpose of an interview from the employer’s perspective is to obtain information. Making very long and rambling statements can cause the interviewer to become bored or feel that you are not communicating effectively. Make sure to invite the interviewer by making short pauses when communicating your message.

Good luck!

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