No, the headline does not refer to the highly acclaimed album from that master warbler and wordsmith Billy Bragg, but a reminder of some of the dos and don’ts of interview procedure and etiquette. Recently, I’ve uncovered some rather unsettling anecdotal evidence that interviewees for even some very senior roles are failing to follow the established etiquette for before, during and after interviews, so at the risk of being accused of teaching granny to suck eggs, what follows is a brief guide to some elements you should consider.
Firstly, the concepts of the ‘six Ps’—and I hope I don’t have to explain that—remains true. Time spent in researching the firm, the division, the role, the hiring manager/interviewer and their reporting line is never wasted, neither is getting up to speed on the industry (hopefully you will be already, to a large extent), the specific segment, the competitors and the trends.
Secondly, prepare oneself fully for the widest possible range of competency-based questions you will invariably be asked—use real-world examples to back up your responses wherever possible—and practice structuring your answers into a series of ‘bite-sized’ responses of no more than three to five minutes each to prevent veering off-piste and entering rambling territory. At HornbyChapman, we supply candidates with multiple examples of relevant competency-based questions, which I’d be pleased to share upon request.
Prior to the interview, find out exactly where you’ll be meeting and aim to be in reception at least 15 minutes early to prevent arriving late through not locating the building in time or not appreciating queues at reception. No-one likes to see a candidate perspiring as that creates the perception of nerves or a lack of confidence.
During the interview, bear in mind that it is a two-way arrangement so do feel free to ask any and all questions—within the limits of professionalism—of the interviewer, including the firm’s strategy, investment required for the segment, product gaps, and management support, as well as enquire as to career progression within the firm, potential challenges to the role and the cultural/working environment within the firm. Leave questions on remuneration either to the HR interviewer or to your recruiter, if at all possible.
Finally, a timely and appropriately worded thank-you note is invariably well received. Your recruiter should be able to supply the relevant email details if you didn’t receive them during the interview itself.
Of course, within the confines of a short column it’s difficult to cover every angle that should be considered, but as ever I’d be delighted to cover any questions offline. Happy—and successful—interviewing.
As ever, do let me know your thoughts. Drop me a line at paul@localhost