Our Top Consultants Talk Interview Success

Let’s talk interviews. We ask our top performing, most experienced consultants how to excel in the interview process and leave your interviewer wanting more!

Everyone is different so there can be no ‘formula’ for the interview success, however, there is probably a degree of general consensus among HR pros, Hiring Managers and Recruitment Consultants regarding some of the basic dos and don’ts of the interview process. For example, DO prepare and DON’T turn up late.

We have gathered all of the snippets of wisdom we can from our top, most experienced consultants and asked them to provide each of their top tips for candidates when it comes to showcasing your skills, introducing yourself confidently and dealing with any interview stress.

So let’s meet the consultants and see what top tips they have to offer…

Emma Metherell

Emma is one of ISL’s Senior Consultants and focuses on the Product Management market in London. Emma knows how to make a good impression when it comes to interviews and has some top tips to help you sail through yours:

  • Be organised! Make sure you know where you’re going and how to get there well in advance and don’t leave anything to chance. Think about road closures, change for the car park, how you enter the building- everything can add up, and before you know it you’re running late!
  • An interview isn’t a test- you aren’t expected to remember everything. We all get nervous in a strange environment, and it’s likely that you’ll forget some important points- so make lots of notes beforehand and take them in with you!
  • Put together around 5 STAR based answers (Google it if you aren’t sure) which you can use for a variety of competency based questions. As long as you’ve got some examples prepared, you can usually tweak them to make them specific to the question being asked. Keep all of your answers relevant, structured and to the point.
  • Prepare a positive reason for why you applied for the job, and why you want it. Think about why this particular job stood out to you against other positions you saw advertised and what you specifically like about the role and company. Is there something you feel that this role offers that others can’t?

Gareth Elsmore

Gareth is ISL’s Technology Recruitment Team Leader and has amassed a great deal of experience recruiting in both Engineering and IT sectors for SMEs through to widely known Blue Chip companies. Here are his top tips to succeed in an interview:

  • Research the hiring managers on LinkedIn and look into their experience.
  • Turn up to interview 10 minutes before it starts.
  • Never be late.
  • Dress smartly- there’s not really such a thing as overdressing for an interview, but you can definitely underdress by turning up looking too casual or scruffy.

Jon Holland

Jon is ISL’s Desk Lead for IT recruitment in London and has had a great deal of exposure to the Java market interview process which has taught him the keys to interview success in the IT world. Jon advises that you:

  • Introduce yourself with a firm handshake, this shows you have energy and are raring to go!
  • Be polite to everybody because you never know who you’re talking to.
  • Try to show your personality by asking questions about the interviewers, make cheerful small talk and show an interest in what they’re up to in their projects/role.
  • Demonstrate the research you have done into the company, don’t let it go to waste! Drop it into the conversation, for example, by asking a question on one of their projects that you have researched.

Danielle Chapman

Danielle is one of our Principal Consultants and currently recruits for Embedded and Electronics Engineers. Danielle has seen hundreds of engineers through their interviews and has some top tips to help you make a good impression:

  • Always overdress, do not underdress. You cannot go wrong with a suit!
  • Always be open about salary and the skills you have.
  • Like Roxy, Danielle also advises that you always ask the reservation question “Do you have any reservations about me as a candidate?”.
  • Always be 10 minutes early.

Matt Cherrington

Matt is ISL’s Performance and Training Coach and has recruited for education, financial services, and public sector roles. As a Training Coach, Matt has a range of tips to help consultants see their candidates through their interviews smoothly. Here’s what he recommends:

  • Avoid starting on a negative. For example, if you got lost on your way to the interview, don’t make this the first thing you say. Starting with “Uh, traffic was a nightmare” only indicators to your potential employer that you may be a rather negative person or that you often run late.
  • Last impressions are as important as first impressions. Either if you think you have done really well or really poorly in the interview, don’t get too relaxed at the end. Repeat all of the niceties expected of an interview with as much gusto at the end as you would at the start.
  • Interviewing is a two-way process. It’s no longer simply clients offering candidates an opportunity, candidates now have choices and often need to interview their potential employer to ensure the culture of the company, the benefits package, and the role is right for them as well.

Tim Sampson

Tim is one of our Senior Consultants and has recruited across multiple markets including IT, logistics and sales. Tim knows how to help his candidates deliver a top performance in an interview- here are his top tips:

  • Like Danielle, Tim suggests asking if the company has any reservations about you as a candidate. This is the best opportunity to iron out any weaknesses and lay everything on the table. Give yourself the opportunity to overcome any downfalls there and then, rather than hearing back a week later that you were not the ‘best fit’.
  • Read the job specification! Be sure to look at the areas where you excel, but also think about the parts where you aren’t so strong. It’s a good idea to write your thoughts down before the interview in a strengths and weaknesses format, and think about how your strengths can benefit the company and how you’ve learnt to overcome your weaknesses. Doing this means that if/when the topic is raised, you won’t get stuck and will have plenty of examples to mention.

So there you have it! Some great tips on everything from making a good first impression through to clever ways of structuring your answers and how to leave your interview.

My advice? Always have a smile on your face! People want to work around other happy, positive people, so even if you have had a rough start to the morning stuck in traffic, keep a smile on your face and don’t bring this into the interview!

If you have an upcoming interview and would like some further advice on how to excel, simply pick up the phone to one of our experienced consultants who are always happy to help guide you to interview success! Call us on  0117 4280600 or alternatively, take a read of some more of our blogs on which questions you should never answer in an interview and how to survive a group interview.

This post was originally published on 29/08/17 and updated on 30/08/18.