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  • Writer's pictureAcquired Talent

Candidate Interview Tips: How to Prepare, Approach, and Follow Up

Candidate Interview Tips: Interviews can be nerve-wracking, but with thorough preparation and the right mindset, you can turn the experience into an opportunity to showcase your skills, experience, and personality. As an industry-leading recruiter specializing in placing Product Management professionals across the UK and EU, I’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to help you ace your interviews. Here’s how to prepare, approach the interview process, and follow up effectively.

Before the Interview:

Research the Company

Even on the Day: Important news about the company can be released at any time, so check the latest updates even on the day of your interview.

Google News Search: A quick news search can reveal recent developments, financial results, or major announcements that can be relevant to your interview.

Financial Statements: Understanding the financial health and priorities of the company can provide valuable insights.

Social Media Content: Follow the company's social media profiles to get a sense of their culture, recent activities, and public engagements.

Website Content: Explore the company’s website thoroughly. Focus on the mission, values, and careers pages to understand what they stand for and what they seek in employees.

Current Employees: If you know someone who works at the company, reach out to them for insider information. Platforms like LinkedIn can help you find connections within the organization.

Research Your Interviewers

Connections: Check if you have any mutual connections with your interviewers on LinkedIn. A common connection can be a great icebreaker.

Shared Background: Look for any commonalities in your educational or professional background with the interviewers.

Published Content: If the interviewers have published articles, videos, or other content, review it to understand their perspectives and interests. Mentioning this content can help build rapport.

Review the Job Brief

Alignment with Your CV: Compare the job brief with your CV. Identify areas where you match well and note any required experience that isn’t clearly highlighted in your CV.

Real-Life Examples: Prepare specific examples from your past experience that demonstrate your skills and achievements. Think about:

  • Project Experience: Specific projects you’ve led or contributed to.

  • Management/Leadership: Instances where you’ve shown leadership or managed a team.

  • Lessons Learned: Be honest about what went well, what didn’t, and what you learned from those experiences.

Repetition in Multiple Interviews: Don’t worry about repeating examples in different stages of the interview process. Consistency can be valuable, and each interviewer will likely be hearing it for the first time.

Prepare Questions

The questions you ask can be as impactful as the answers you give. Prepare thoughtful questions such as:

  • Role Success: “What does success look like in this role?”

  • Development Opportunities: “What opportunities are there for personal and professional development?”

  • Interviewer’s Perspective: “How will I interact with you in this role? What does success look like from your perspective?”

During the Interview:

Build Rapport

Connect on a Personal Level: Use your research to find common ground with your interviewers. This can make the interview feel more conversational and less formal.

Show Flexibility

Empower the Interviewer: Offer options for which examples you can discuss. For instance, “I have a couple of examples, X and Y. Which would you like me to discuss?”

Seek Clarification: Ensure you have answered the questions adequately. Ask, “Did I answer your question correctly?” or “Would you like me to elaborate on any of those points further?”

Guide the Conversation

Not all interviewers are seasoned experts. If you feel that important topics haven’t been covered, guide the conversation towards them. For example, “I understand that XYZ is crucial for this role, and I’m conscious we haven’t covered that yet. Would you like to briefly discuss my experience in that area?”

After the Interview:

Follow Up

Thank You Note: Send a thank-you email within 24 hours of the interview. Express your appreciation for the opportunity and briefly reiterate your enthusiasm for the role.

Clarification and Additional Information: If there were any points during the interview that you think you didn’t address fully, use the follow-up email to provide additional details.

Stay Engaged: If you haven’t heard back within the expected timeframe, send a polite follow-up email to check the status of your application.

Final Thoughts

Interviews are not just a test of your skills but also an opportunity to determine if the company is the right fit for you. By thoroughly researching the company and your interviewers, reviewing the job brief, preparing insightful questions, and following up diligently, you can make a strong impression and enhance your chances of landing the role.

Remember, preparation is key. The more you know about the company, the role, and the people you’ll be meeting, the more confident and composed you’ll feel during the interview. Good luck!

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