I spend a lot of time interviewing candidates for Eames, and there are some common mistakes that I see people make. I'll share some advice on how to avoid them as well as some top tips for getting the most out of the interview process.
Take a moment to think before answering questions and think before you speak
This is great advice generally, but especially for interviews! They can be nerve-wracking, and often we can leave them kicking ourselves, thinking about all the things we should have said. In an interview, you should practice the power of the pause to help you with this.
This is a well-researched technique that identifies how pausing can promote relaxation, enable you to gather your thoughts better, and also can leave a lasting first impression if you appear to consider your answers before speaking. It's not a weakness to take a moment and think before you answer.
Hold yourself accountable and be honest
In an interview, we always want to present our best selves. However, when interviewing for a recruitment role, especially if you are experienced, you will be asked challenging competency-based questions and details of your billings and other performance metrics. Make sure you know your numbers! But, if you don't, don't try and blag it. Instead, say you don't know, but you'll go and work it out and follow up with the answer later that day.
In addition to this, try not to exaggerate your recruitment experience. Any good interviewer will quickly pick holes in your answers, and it's not a good way to start a relationship.
This is particularly common when it comes to questions around business development. For example, if it wasn't you who won a specific client, don't say it was. Instead, explain what you've learned and how you would approach BD in a new role. At Eames, we provide structured training and support on BD, we can get you there, but you must be honest!
Being honest shows self-awareness, accountability, and a lack of ego, which Eames will always look upon favourably. Equally, don't make excuses for underperformance by blaming external factors or a lack of training in your current company. Own your performance and explain what you have learned from any rough patches, as well as what you'll do differently next time.
Ask questions throughout the interview (and make them relevant)
An interview will often follow a question and answer format, which can be an effective way to interview a candidate, can feel robotic and doesn't provide much room for rapport building or normal human conversation!
You don't need to wait until the end of the interview to ask your questions. Effective questioning and probing are key skills for any recruiter, so use those skills throughout the interview. Not only will you get more relevant information from that interview to help you assess whether it's the right company for you, but you'll also show a good level of diligence and interest.
Think of company-specific questions or even competency-based questions you can ask your interviewer. This allows you to build a comprehensive understanding of how your prospective employer deals with problems and get an insight into their culture and values. Finally, look up the person interviewing you before you meet them, so you can build a picture of who they are and what questions would be best answered by them.
You wouldn't go to a client or candidate meeting without taking notes. The same applies to an interview! Whether it's short bullet points throughout the interview or writing down specific topics you've spoken about, taking notes shows interest and gives you some resources to refer to after the interview has happened. It can also be a great way to prompt further questions as the interview comes to a close.
Only ask for feedback if you're prepared for the answer
A common question candidates ask at the end of an interview is something along the lines of 'what's your feedback on how I performed in this interview' or 'how suitable do you think I am for the role?'
If you're going to ask these questions, you have to be prepared to hear the honest answer, and it can be a confidence knock if the feedback isn't wholly positive. If you ask for it, any good interviewer will be happy to give you feedback and advice for future interviews but be prepared that it might not be what you want to hear.
And finally, show your personality! An interview doesn't need to feel rigid or awkward. Instead, it's an excellent way for a potential employer and employee to have an open conversation with each other and find out whether they're the right fit.
At Eames, we'll always be open and honest through any interview. We want you to see the real Eames, so you can decide if we're the right place for you to take the next step in your career.