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Gain Competitive Advantage at your Next Interview

Hiring managers are likely to have different techniques when it comes to the interview questions. Some may ask questions based on technical ability, leadership qualities and some may ask questions that are not relevant to the role but instead specific to finding out whether you will fit into the company culture.


1. Be in control at the beginning

Candidates should try to take control of the interview questioning. For example, if you are a Software Engineer and the hiring manager is asking you questions that are important to them but completely irrelevant to your experience and skill-sets, take control by redirecting the question to an answer that you can give that is closely relevant to the role itself, redirect the question back to your skill-set and relevance to your role. This will give you the opportunity to describe a past project or experience that is comparable. Confidently asking these type of questions will ensure that you are given the chance to be assessed properly.


2. It's all in the detail

You will be assessed on your communication skills – in fact, this is a very important part of the interview and how you answer questions is as important as the answers themselves. ‘Out’ with the short interview answers and ‘In’ with the longer ones. Hiring managers can fast become frustrated if they feel that they have to pry important information from you and so you need to ensure that your answers give as much information as you can. Start off with an opening statement that provides the hiring manager with specific information detailing your contribution to the project, or details on the challenges that were faced and the solution you provided to overcome them. It is important to explain what you accomplished from it and relate it back to how you can implement the processes developed and learnings gained into this specific role.


3. The power is in the proof

It is easy enough to make general statements about our strengths, but those should already be included in our CV. Statements can become meaningless if you do not prove them with examples of an accomplishment that demonstrates the strength at its best. Hiring managers will always be assessing candidates on whether they possess the key skills that are required to make the role successful, and a list of key strengths can be quickly forgotten. Before listing your strengths on your CV or answering the question, make sure you have good examples that demonstrate these strengths in a project or campaign setting and make these relevant to the role then practice these answers before you attend your interview.


4. Demonstrate company knowledge by asking questions

The only way you can ask the best questions is by being prepared. Research the company by looking at their website, LinkedIn profiles of the managers that you will be meeting, review social media profiles to understand the company tone of voice, and read reviews written by employees of that company. With websites like Glassdoor, it is becoming a lot easier to understand the company culture and ultimately help to decide whether this is the right company for you. The more information you can gather about the company, their strategy and goals, the stronger your foundation for asking relevant business-relevant questions as well as being able to demonstrate the depth of your preparation which is always appreciated.


5. Use the 'discovery' technique to gauge your position

Most candidates leave the interview being unsure on how the interview went. You can have a general idea based on signs but asking the right questions can give you a clearer idea of the assessment. Use the opportunity to find out more information by asking questions like “From what we’ve discussed, are there any areas where you may be unsure if I have the experience or skills to add to your project/strategy/the role” Asking this question not only demonstrates your confidence, it also gives you the extra opportunity to provide more examples of specific skill sets and experiences that are relevant to this hiring manager’s concern.


Getting to the interview stage is highly competitive and in the current job market, it pays to be as closely connected to the employer as you can. The more direct the contact, the greater the opportunity to engage with them pre-interview and post-interview giving you the extra opportunity to get ahead of competitors.


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