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How To Nail Your First Impression


Mike Thornhill - The Gulf Recruitment Group

Interview Tips by Mike Thornhill

From a recruitment perspective 2016 and 2017 have certainly been challenging, it would be safe to say that it has been a period of job consolidation and restructure, especially among the major MNC’s in the region.

That said there will always be roles, but in a client driven market, that is highly competitive, now more than ever Candidates need to prepare for their interviews to ensure they leave a lasting impression with the interviewers.

I have documented below some interview tips which should help you obtain that new role.

Be On Time – Arriving late for an interview sets a negative tone before the interview has even commenced. So ensure you know the location of the interview, allowing you to allocate the correct amount of time to arrive promptly, check out the parking options (if driving) and set out in good time, arriving 10 minutes early is much better than 10 minutes late. That being said arriving 30 minutes early is unnecessary in that case find the closest coffee shop and pop in for 20 minutes where you can do some last minute prepping.

Remember arriving late can also make the interviewer question whether you would be late for work regularly or would have trouble sticking to work deadlines.

Don’t play Guess Who - Make sure you know who you are meeting and what position they have within the company. Check their career background (LinkedIn is good for this) you can then ask them questions about their journey in the company which will give you a good indication of the career development available. People like talking about themselves and how successful they have been so this is a good way to get the interview flowing and making a connection with the interviewer, allowing you to set yourself apart from other potential candidates.

If you are working with a Recruiter on the role, ask for a first hand character reference on the interviewers, use this extra insight to adapt to their style.

Dress to Impress – Whatever the industry, whether it be FMCG or Legal, First Impressions Count! Business Dress is critical not only does it show you are being professional it also states your intent and that you want the role.

Research, Research, Research – I can’t stress enough how important this part is to securing a role with a new company. One of the most common feedbacks from client’s we receive is that the candidate didn’t know anything about the company from the product portfolio or the company history or even the in-market activity. This is always a red flag for a potential employer and could be the difference between a job offer and a rejection.
Being proactive sets you apart from the competition, research the client in many different ways, this shows you have gone the extra mile before the interview. This will also help for you to create questions from what you have seen/learnt.

Understand the Job Role - Have a clear understanding of the role before going to the interview. Has the recruiter or company sent you a Job Description or an overview of the role? This is paramount for you to prepare for their questioning or when appropriate raise constructive questions.

• Use the CAR theory when answering a question or a core competency, this approach keeps it concise and to the point.

o Case – What was the situation, what did you want to achieve or turnaround?
o Action – What did you implement
o Result – What was the tangible result associated to the objective

• Make sure that when you either take the interviewers through you career history or you answer core competency question that you constantly demonstrate the results or ROI for the company. Future employers are looking for stars who are going to instantly impact the business and either save or generate improvements.

Make sure you have Questions! Don’t be afraid to ask questions throughout the interview it makes it more conversational and informal.

Be a Human - show personality, of course you need to have the technical ability suited to the role however they want to see what you are like to work with as well as how you interact in a social environment.

The Competition – you are the competition! I’m constantly asked what are the other candidates like in the process. This can overshadow your performance and your ability. You have been selected for 1st Stage or 2nd Stage Interview for a reason it’s based on your own merit. Believe in yourself!

Lasting Impression – My advice is make sure that the interviewer is satisfied with the information they have collated from the interview. With a multi-cultural society sometimes things get lost in translation and perhaps the questions or scenario wasn’t fully discussed. Ask the interviewer “Is there anything you would like to further discuss or go into more detail”? That way you can leave the room knowing you have done all that is possible to obtain the role.

Good Luck!

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