HOW TO BECOME AN INTERVIEWING PRO
So, you’ve been searching for a new opportunity in Financial Services and now, have been invited for an interview – congratulations!
We understand that the interview process can be daunting – especially if it’s your first time or an experience you’ve not been through in a while.
Well, we’re here to ease your fears and ensure you’re thoroughly prepared.
We’ve spoken to our consultants to enlighten you on the questions typically get asked before an interview – and their top tips to help you land that dream role.
Read on to find out just what they are…
Question 1: How do I answer interview questions effectively?
Key to answering interview questions is preparation.
Preparing a bank of examples of times you’ve used key skillsets and answers for questions that are likely to arise, ensures you can go into the interview equipped to succeed.
Preparation can help with our second tip as well: confidence. You’ll have settled those pre interview nerves, knowing you’re walking into the interview with point to discuss – rather than having nothing to say.
Answering questions confidently shows you have conviction in what you’re saying, and adds to your likeability.
Another way to show your confidence is to maintain eye contact. Eye contact indicates dominance in a conversation, and therefore is heavily associated with confidence.
Not enough eye contact can suggest social anxiety, a lack of interest in the person you’re speaking to, or even rudeness.
This being said, it’s important to maintain a good balance of eye contact – too much unbroken eye contact can come across as intense and aggressive. Breaking eye contact when there’s a pause in the conversation is a good way to do this, by looking into the horizon.
A final consideration is how you deliver your answers.
As the saying goes, it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. The classic study on effective communication by Professor Albert Mehrabian found that just 7% of meaning is gained from the spoken word. Instead, almost 40% of meaning is derived from the way the words are spoken. The majority of meaning comes from facial expression – at a staggering 55%.
Making sure a passion for what you’re talking about is not only reflected in your spoken language, but your intonation and facial expression, too.
Question 2: What should I wear to an interview?
Within Financial Services, company culture can vary significantly from firm to firm. Fintech companies typically have a laid-back approach to dress code and office attire, in comparison to a more traditional financial institution.
If you’re still unsure, do remember it is a formal introduction and likely it’s the first time you’re meeting the employer face-to-face. For this reason, formal attire may be the most appropriate.
As our consultant Raqim says “If in doubt, get your tie out!”.
First impressions count, so being “overdressed” in a formal interviewing is not going to be perceived as negative. More feedback is received on candidates dressing too casually, rather than too formally.
Ultimately, if you’re working with a recruitment consultant – just ask them for advice.
All of our consultants are well aware of the company culture for the clients they hire for, and can give you guidance on what attire will be most appropriate for the interview. Afterall, their job is to help you secure your dream job, and they will support you in making sure that happens.
Question 3: What questions should I ask in an interview?
Asking questions in an interview is essential. They help you to get to discover more about your potential employer – after all, an interview is a two-way process – while showing your interest in the company, role, and people hiring you.
There are two key questions that our consultants recommend asking for interview success:
“Do you have any reservations in hiring me?”
Asking this question at the end of an interview whilst you’re still in the room means you can handle any objections your potential employer may have. It provides you with another opportunity to make your case, clear up any misconceptions and directly answer reservations.
It also can display a level of self-awareness to employers, which is an impressive skill to have.
“What are the business growth plans for the upcoming year? And where do I fit into that?”
This question shows your potential employer that you’re excited about the opportunity and the business, as you’re actively taking an interest in the growth and subsequent success of the company.
This question additionally shows you’re keen to know how you’ll play your part in that growth and success.
Question 4: What are the common interview mistakes that people make?
Whilst there can be many reasons as to why employers say “no” to a candidate that looks perfect on paper, there are four stumbling blocks where people commonly fall down in an interview.
Not preparing your answers effectively.
If you haven’t provided enough detail in your answers, this can be a red-flag for employers. Detailed answers tend to show an understanding of the role you’re applying for, how your skills relate and good communication skills.
If you haven’t taken the time to understand the role your applying for, it can indicate that you’re not passionate about the role to a potential employer.
Mentioning salary a little too early.
Money is usually an important part of changing roles – which is why salary is also a common faux pas.
Whilst financial motivation can be good for a sales-facing role, jumping the gun with this subject is not wise.
It can suggest that you’re not actually interested in the role, but you’re just in it for the pay packet that comes along with it.
Not showing ambition.
Clients like to see what your vision is for the role in five years’ time. They’re looking not just for the present and what you can do now, but for the future and the impact you’re going to miss.
Employers want to see ambition and motivation to progress. As you grow, you can help the employer with their plans for the business.
Being a little too honest.
One final area in which we’ve seen people fall down on before is being a little bit too honest in their interviews.
This is typically around why they’re looking to leave, reservations or issues with their current employer.
If you can put a positive spin on this, it can go down much better with companies.
Change “There’s no opportunity for progression in my current role and I feel stuck”
To “I’m ready for a new challenge to progress my career and growth with the organisation”
Change “I’m not paid enough I my current role”
To “I’m financially motivated”
Change “I don’t get on with my current boss”
To “I’m seeking a supportive culture”