As marketing recruiters we meet hundreds of marketing experts each and every month and put forward the industry’s leading talent for interviews with our clients. As a result we’ve gained a deep understanding of what a successful interview looks like and how as a candidate you can best prepare yourself.
So we asked our senior managers with vast marketing recruitment experience to come up with their top tips for conducting a successful interview, based on feedback they’ve received from both candidates and hiring managers. Here’s what they had to say:
• Be a STAR – Give your answers using the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to ensure you convey your message in a structured way and always come across as meticulous and organised.
• Prepare the counter – Remember an interview is a dialogue, not a monologue. You can size up the company as well as the other way round. Asking questions about their market and growth plans demonstrates your interest in the company and shows you have researched them. e.g. “I can see your competitor x has recently launched x. What are your thoughts?” If the interviewers answer all the questions you had prepared, tell them what you were going to ask them and talk through the answers they’ve given you. Whatever you do, don’t say no or they’ll remember you for the wrong reasons!
• Do your research – Familiarise yourself with the company – their history, offering, stakeholders and where they sit in the marketplace. Your interviewer will easily be able to tell if you have taken the time to find out more about their company. Read the company’s website, latest press and financial results.
• Back it up – Make sure you have strong examples to give for each requirement on the job description. You need to prove that you have the skills you say you do, so you’ll need to flesh out all your answers to competency-based questions with ROI, case studies, figures and other evidence.
• Know your interviewers – Research the people who will be interviewing you. Check their LinkedIn profile to see their career history, likes, previous posts and anything else that you can use to build a rapport.
• Follow up – Chase an answer if you haven’t heard back within the expected time. Even if you fear that you weren’t successful, interview feedback can be crucial in helping you refine your answers and technique for future interviews.
• Don’t bad mouth previous employers – Always be diplomatic and professional. If you’re negative about previous companies, the interviewers will only think that you’ll inevitably do the same to them one day.
• Check all channels – Explore the company’s social media channels – not just their website – to get a comprehensive view of the business. Join their social media groups where relevant.
• Show weakness – Questions like “What would your friends say is your worst characteristic?” or “What are your weaknesses?” aren’t an excuse for you to say you’re “a bit of a perfectionist.” What they really want to know is how you’ve learnt from your mistakes, how you turned that characteristic into a strength. They want to know that you’re introspective and always looking to improve.
• Bring examples – You may want to try and wow the interviewers with an impromptu exposé of some of your past work. But always check with them beforehand – don’t get it out and start talking through it without being prompted it or you could end up wasting time not answering the questions they wanted to ask.
Finally, don’t forget, most marketing recruitment agencies will want to meet you before putting you forward for an interview. It’s important to ask your dedicated consultant for their feedback on your strengths and weaknesses in an interview setting. Honest feedback will go a long way towards helping you prepare and demonstrate your key strengths and skills in front of the interview panel.