Preparing for interviews

Both telephone and face-to-face interviews require a lot of preparation - there are no short cuts. Even if you are eventually lucky enough to just have an informal chat with an employer, you will feel more confident walking into the room if you have prepared. Preparation should start at the application stage so that you are ready if you are invited to an interview at the last minute.

 

1. CV

These are questions based on your experience. It’s the story behind your CV. Keep it short, relevant and catchy, and leave room for questions. Practise this before you attend the interview.

 

2. Competency

Competency-based questions are based on the skills required for the role. They revolve around your past experiences and the evidence you give at the interview. Most will require you to give an example of how you have solved a problem in the workplace, for instance.

 

3. Motivation

Why do you want the role? You need to show an understanding of what the job entails. Read the job description and ask previous interns.

Why do you want to work for that company in particular? How does it differ from its competitors?

Learn the company’s Past (heritage, important mergers, etc.), Present (current share price, areas of expertise, culture, recent deals, etc.), and Future (what are its plans?  Any new launches, offices, markets?)

 

4. What skills will you bring to the position?

 Don’t just merely list skills, rather show where you gained them and give examples of how you have used them. Stick to the skills relevant to the role.

 

5. Technical & Market Knowledge

At an interview, you need to show that you are motivated for the role and industry. That will impress a potential employer.

  • Investment Banking – Corporate finance, current market conditions (exchange rates, share prices, etc.), recent trends.
  • Accountancy – Any formulas (costing, P&Ls, etc.)
  • Consultancy – Industry knowledge, market trends

Marketing – know your SWOT and PEST. Have an idea of what you would like to bring to the role, budget ideas and think of recent campaigns you liked/disliked.

 

6. Brainteasers

These can be logical questions asking you to solve a cryptic problem or market sizing estimate.

Learn demographics and measurements to help you with the guestimates. There is no right or wrong, just how you get there.  

For both types, always share your logic with the interviewer.

 

7. Have examples ready

Think of 5 or 6 examples that highlight difficult situations you have overcome. These can be projects, team, research, influencing, communication, planning, and analytical challenges you have faced.

 

8. Rehearse but don't over rehearse

Have answers prepared but don’t just memorize them. You need to be flexible and tailor your answer according to each question.

 

9. Pay attention to your interviewer

Interviews are not usually about tricking the candidate. They are there to get the best from you and learn about your experiences. Therefore, you need to listen to the questions and the pointers the interviewer gives you throughout the interview. Please, also make sure that you have eye contact. If there is more than one interviewer, keep eye contact with each of them, even if they don’t ask any questions. Also, smile when appropriate.

 

10. Ask appropriate questions (and keep away from inappropriate ones)

Ask questions about the job and specifically questions related to something you have researched which you want to know more about. Here is your chance to show your motivation. One or two questions at the end of the interview are enough. Don’t ask about salary or benefits, and don’t ask very personal questions.

"What is your favourite question in interviews?"

 

"Which qualities do you personally possess to lead a team?"

 

“Our job is so much about teamwork, personal development and (self-) reflection that I like to ask about the most important feedback received from others and also given to others.”

 

“Why do you think you are a good match for DHL Consulting?”