People typically form 90% of their opinions about someone in the first 90 seconds! Once you have managed to market yourself successfully to get an interview, your first impressions are more important than you might think. For this reason everything you do initially to present yourself is critically important.
Here are some important points to remember:
Do your research – google the company to learn about their products / services, their brand and position in the market, determine what it is about their business that appeals to you; use LinkedIn to find out about the people you’ll be working with and for, talk to people who have worked with them before including your recruitment consultant. Always explore the information you find with an open mind, there are often preconceived ideas or diverse attitudes towards an organisation.
Always dress up - even if employers work in a relaxed environment, it is important to dress as smart and professionally as possible. People will only be impressed
Display confidence but not overconfidence - look the interviewer in the eye and give them a firm handshake. In a Sales and Marketing environment you will be expected to be the face of the organisation, so in this sense you will need to have confidence and energy
Be as professional as you can be - 55% of impressions are formed by our dress, our facial expressions, body language and eye contact
Prepare answers for common questions - think of your strengths, achievements and areas for development and write them down to help you remember them
Interview practitioners will predominantly use a form of behavioural based or competency based interviewing - the theory behind this technique is that past behaviours predict future behaviours. You must therefore be able to provide relevant and specific examples to the questions asked by the interviewer.
In giving specific examples to questions, interviewers will look for you to provide a "situation", your "behaviour" and an "outcome". You need to produce enough information so the interviewer can understand these, whilst remaining succinct and straight to the point.
Situation - you need to explain the situation or task you faced so you can provide context around your answer
Behaviour - this is the action you took to handle the situation or task. Remember that past behaviours predict future behaviours
Outcome - the idea here is to explain how effective your actions (behaviours) were and why they were successful
With practice, you can learn to tailor a relatively small set of examples to respond to a number of different behavioural questions. Here are a few practice examples:
Describe a situation in which you had to use research and analysis to develop a strategy or product. What was the objective? What research did you consider or information did you analyse? What was the result? (research / analysis)
Give me a specific example of a time when a co-worker criticised your work in front of others. How did you respond? How has that event shaped the way you communicate with others? (oral communication)
Give me a specific example of a time when you sold your manager or executive team on an idea or concept. How did you proceed? What was the result? (assertiveness/ Influencing)
Describe a specific problem you solved for your employer. How did you approach the problem? What role did others play? What was the outcome? (decision making)
Tell me about a time when you failed to meet a deadline. What things did you fail to do? What were the repercussions? What did you learn? (time management)
Describe a time when you put your needs aside to help a co-worker understand a task. How did you assist them? What was the result? (flexibility)
Describe two specific goals you set for yourself and how successful you were in meeting them. What factors led to your success in meeting your goals? (goal setting)