Of course, your presence is the most important component of an interview but you also need to think about any supporting documents that could give you an edge.
Whenever anybody asks me how to improve their interview strategy I always say remember you’re not at a disadvantage. An interview should not be an interrogation so don’t treat it like one. Don’t go in assuming the interviewer wants to catch you out so they can reject you as quickly as possible – I never want to reject anybody! This meeting is beneficial for both parties, in fact if you’re the right person for the role then you have the upper hand because the employer wants to ensure they hire you.
Treat every interview like a meeting between two people looking for a mutual resolution.
With this in mind, think about how you’d prepare for an interview like this – what would you bring? How would you lead the conversation?
I have many pet peeves when it comes to interviewing candidates but the one that gets me every time is a lack of simple preparation such as bringing a notepad and pen and writing notes. You’d never go to an important interview without something to take notes, right? So why do the majority of candidates do this in an interview? If I’m explaining the job role in detail I want you to remember the specifics. I want you to ask me questions about the role. How do you plan on remembering all of the details if you haven’t written it down?
Just this one simple step could work wonders for you.
Next, I’d always recommend bringing some examples of your work. For example, if I’m recruiting for a communications role I’d expect to see a piece of copy the candidate is particularly proud of. If I were recruiting a project manager I’d expect to see details of something they’ve worked on from start to finish. If it were a sales role, I’d want to see monthly figures.
This is what I call investing in your own success. What better material to pitch in a natural way than something you’ve already prepared? I always remember a candidate who had taken the liberty of designing his own presentation about the opportunity and about Hamilton Bradshaw. He told me all about the business, about our competitors, who we’re comparable with and how their experience could add value.
The fact he had taken the time to prepare something so detailed left me thinking ‘wow’.
In my mind, you have a limited window of opportunity to win points on my mental scorecard. With a strong presentation you certainly cannot lose points, you can only gain them. A pitch document tells me a lot about you professionally because it expresses your style, thought processes and quality of content.
So next time you’re preparing for an interview, don’t just turn up empty handed and if you don’t have any previous work to show at least bring a pad and pen!