COVID-19 has seen offices completely change their day-to-day operations and people working remotely in their homes during lockdown. While this is a uncertain time for all, when it comes to preparing for interviewing there is a silver lining - extra time! While you would usually be caught up in your usual fast-paced and busy life, you now have more time to spend on interview prep.
Below, we have put together the best ways to use your time wisely and prepare as effectively as possible for your upcoming virtual interviews!
1. Research on the firm
It is key to ensure you have conducted thorough research of the company ahead of the interview. It is also good to be aware of any recent changes that have happened within the firm you are applying to, or indeed the market, such as new Partners, new divisions, or significant changes in the market the company operates within. You can do this by following the company on social media and LinkedIn, and looking up recent news articles on the both the firm and the wider market. Being aware of the company's ethics and morals is also key. If you have done your research and know that the firm’s key message is believing in teamwork, you can then relate this back in the interview and show examples of how you have demonstrated teamwork in the past.
2. Research who you are meeting
Ensure you are aware of who you are meeting and their career history. You can do this by looking at their LinkedIn profile, or employee profile on the company website. In your interview, take the time to get to know them as a person too. If you secure the interview through an agency then your recruiter should be able to tell you what the hiring managers are like in greater detail. use this knowledge to your advantage! Not only this, but when you ask questions at the end make them as personable as possible. For example, ask the interviewer questions relating to their career - why they made certain career moves, or why they have stayed at this firm for so long. This will show your interest in the interviewer as well as the firm.
3. Competency-based questions
A competency-based question is one which asks for behavioural descriptions in a given scenario, for instance, “tell me about a time when you showed ‘x’…”, or “tell me what you would do if ‘y’…”. Competency-based questions are key to any interview, so it's best to ensure you have examples prepared ahead of any interview - this could include times you were dealing with a difficult client etc. The go-to structure to handle competency-based questions effectively is the STAR format. This consists of a specific Situation you were in, a Task you were faced with, the behavioural Actions ‘you’ (not ‘we’) took, and the Results you achieved.
4. Technical knowledge prep
When preparing for your interview, make sure you are prepared fully on your specific technical knowledge and experience within your specialised market. For example, within the audit and accounting marketing, be fully prepared to answer questions regarding the UK and international reporting standards such as FRS 102 and IFRS. Audit quality is also key at the minute, so you should prepare answers on your methodology on how you would audit a client, and use examples as much as possible! This is applicable to all markets - whether you work in the accounting market, creative or digital spaces, or in human resources - no matter the space you work within, brush up on your technical knowledge and refresh yourself on the relevant technical terms and training you've undertaken.
5. Mock interviews
Although you might be working from home and interviewing remotely, this shouldn't stop you getting expert advice from your recruiter! Ask your recruiter to run through a mock interview process with you - will will help significantly. Ultimately, your recruiter will have the most knowledge about the interview process you will be going forward into, as well as information about who you will be meeting and the kind of questions you will be asked. This can be conducted over the phone or even better, by video call, so don't hesitate in asking to set up a mock interview with your recruiter to ensure you are as prepared as possible!
These are just a few of the ways in which you can improve your methods of interview preparation. During the nationwide lockdown use your extra time wisely, conduct thorough research, brush up on your technical skills, prepare examples to answer competency-based questions, and arrange mock interview scenarios to ensure you are fully prepared for the interview that will land you your dream role and your next challenge.