Interview advice and tips

I was asked on Twitter to provide a list of questions for interviews. So, if you’re preparing for an interview, it is a good idea to prepare for the interview itself and what questions could you potentially ask during the interview.

Interviews:

I am of the opinion that an interview is a two way discussion about the job but also the company and if you’re a good fit. I like to try and keep initial interviews informal and as an opportunity for each of us to understand the expectations behind the role, what we are expecting and also if we’d be a good fit. This has also been a great opportunity to understand if the person has done any research whatsoever about the job, organisation or purely: read the job description.

It is only from a second interview that I would consider a more stringent interview/competency based testing for the individual and I would try to ensure that the panel involved would be wide representing enough to allow each applicant a fair, unbiased chance. I like to give applicants the chance to present a topic or an example as I’ve found that this is a great way to help them relax from any nerves and gets them talking about a comfortable topic.

Preparation Activities:

There are a few preparation activities that I would strongly suggest that you do before attending an interview. You need to first analyse and research any prospective company. Ideally this should be done before you apply as you want to ensure that you’re not wasting your time but it can be a great way to acknowledge and understand how the organisation works, what has been going on for them and where would you be working. This could be understanding the specific part of the organisation that you’d be working for, what this means in reality and what they are doing, the clients /contractors they’re working with and how this might affect you if you’re successful.

I really like to learn about the working processes within their organisation. For Project Management, this could be understanding if they are doing Hybrid, Agile or Waterfall. If they’re working Lean, how efficient are their processes/retrospectives? What culture is the organisation? Where is the sphere of influence? E.g. Japanese, European, American etc. Knowing this can give you a great insight into the hierarchies, how decisions are made and what you might need to know about potential working hours/travel etc.

Do you have any questions for us?

This is one of the most important questions that you can ask as it can help you understand more about the company but also to differentiate yourself from other candidates. As a hiring manager, I really enjoy a question that will make me think but I also want to see where your research has taken you/ where your priorities were.

Some examples could include:

Company based questions

  1. I’ve noticed that the company has recently invested X in environmental projects. Is this something that will be continuing
  2. What do you like about working for the company?
  3. What was the companies biggest challenge in the last year? How did you/they overcome it?
  4. What is the culture within the organisation?
  5. Why do you work for the company?

Role based question:

  1. What project management/softwares are you using? In the job description it didnt mention anything specific
  2. What would a typical day look like?
  3. What does success look like in this role?
  4. What would I need to be doing in the first 90 days to excel/ensure success in this position?

Interview / people based question:

  1. Do you feel that I would be a good fit for the current team?
  2. What is the culture within the team? How do they work together?
  3. What are the development /growth paths for this role?
  4. Why did this role become available?

It’s a two way street…

Interviews are not just for you to be assessed by the company. This is also for them to inspire, and show off for you. What is their package/compensation like? What potential bonuses/perks are there? What additional benefits are included (e.g. car, pension, company discounts). I also want to ask any interviewer about development opportunties and how development is viewed within the organisation. Is it a side thought? or actively pursued? Would I have to fight for every training course? or is there a budget set aside for me?

Interviews are a great way to learn about how a company works, what is important for you and if you ‘gel’ with the individuals on the panel.

Whatever reason you have for a job interview, I wish you the very best!

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