At Eton Bridge Partners, we do our best to make sure candidates are fully briefed before they go to meet their possible new employer. But it’s important to emphasise that, when you meet us, the interview process has begun already.
We play a key part in assessing whether you are a good fit for the client; so all the advice here is relevant from the very start. If you make a poor impression when you have your initial conversation with a consultant, it can count against you.
I met a candidate recently who did not realise the firm she was about to meet was part of a larger, very well-known business that had recently been in the news. It was clear she had not done sufficient research.
I like it when people ask me about the client. What are the people like? What’s the culture like? They come across as genuinely interested in all aspects of the position.
In the countdown to your interview, look into the business and people you are meeting. Research the company’s annual report, or if you can, source any official published information, as well as any external analyst reports and reviews. It’s also worth looking for recent news articles about the company and its strategy. Don’t forget to digest the content of the company’s website in the first instance.
Spend some time on LinkedIn to research the person or people you are going to meet. As well as gaining more insight into the role, you might share an interest, or have mutual friends. You never know, those mutual contacts you find may come in very handy…
On the flip side, no doubt your interviewer will be doing their research on you. Make sure that you represent yourself accordingly on your social media channels, making your personal Instagram or Facebook profiles private if necessary.
Get ready for S.T.A.R. (situation, task, action, result) questions. These are the open-ended invitations that are often phrased: “Tell me about a time when…” Think back over your recent career and be ready to relate a concise but persuasive story about an instance when you delivered a positive outcome. Keep your responses relatively ‘short and sweet’, and gauge the interviewer’s body language as to whether you need to elaborate or not.
Prepare some questions you want to put to the interviewer. You should cover the basics, but this isn’t going to impress anyone. It’s the level of research you do on the company, its competitors and the sector in which it operates that will give you the leading edge. Delve deeper – if the firm is in transition, what does that look like? If it’s in a growth phase, will this be organic or via M&A?
In terms of competitor research, I would suggest that you always look at what is going on with 2-3 of their direct competitors as well as across the sector.
On the day, take the job description and your CV with you. You’ll look prepared and engaged when you walk in – and you’ll have something to read and revise on the journey there.