This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
Interviewing|Know the Knows - Part One A

s someone who has been interviewing (and employing) people for more than ten years, I’m still amazed at how some very strong candidates (on paper at least) interview

so poorly. I’m sure each person I’ve interviewed has really wanted the job. So why are very bright professionals

(including lawyers/accountants/

engineers/entrepreneurs and sales people) simply not cutting it in interview?

In this two part article, I’ll discuss several reasons in my view for failure in interviews. By far the most important of these is lack of preparation. Too many interviewees believe they are well prepared when in fact they are far from fully prepared. Know the following “knows” and you’ll be in a much better position to secure any job at interview.

1. Know your CV. Firstly, know your CV. We think we know our CV very well, after all, we did the work, we studied at the schools/universities. That’s true. However, when asked “what are your key responsibilities at your current firm” so few interviewees have a great answer (an eloquent, succinct answer about key responsibilities). Ask yourself this question about each of your previous roles. You should have these polished answers verbatim.

2. Know the company. Again, this is an obvious point, but so many candidates do not do the requisite research. Look at the website, check the latest news section if there is one, check professional publications on line to see if there are any articles the company has been mentioned in. Look at social media, whether Facebook or Twitter. Doing this detailed research will give you a better understanding of the organisation and help craft any questions you have for the interview.

3. Know the interviewers. If you haven’t been given names, then call and find out who will be interviewing you. Check their biographies on the company website if available. Review their LinkedIn biography. Have they been quoted in any of the professional publications or involved in any matters in the public eye.

4. Know how to apply your background and experience. Generally, you won’t know in advance what sort of questions will be asked, so it’s important to be as well prepared as possible. Many larger organisations ask competency based questions. “Give an example of using your communication skills/tell us about a difficult situation which has necessitated using your persuasive abilities to influence an outcome.” These questions (and there are a lot of them) operate on the principle that past performance will be a good indicator of future performance. Competency based questions take time to master. As with most things in life, practice makes perfect.

5. Know what NOT to do. Never criticise your current or former employer. This will almost certainly result in your forfeiting the interview. There are ways to address such issues in interviews and Employment Tiger employment advocates will skilfully help you negotiate such questions.

6. Know the job specification. Review the job specification carefully. Can you give examples from your past experiences that meet the list of specifications? Once you have identified past experiences that do fit, craft them into suitable and succinct answers. If you have no practical experience, but perhaps academic experience of a point, then state that clearly indicating that you’d be keen to gain a greater practical understanding.

Part Two of this article will follow next month.

Simon Cairns is a Director at Employment Tiger.

Tel 0203 468 0999

Work 30 To advertise please telephone 020 8275 5307 or email: &


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56