Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

5 top tips from the experts: how to ace every interview

There are many ways of conducting a near perfect interview, with the right preparation, the right articulation, and the right attitude. No matter your career options, you should plan ahead, so here are five ways of making sure you say the right things – from those in the know

Clean up your digital footprint

According to this piece from careers coach and writer Ashley Stahl in Forbes, 77% of recruiters Google candidates in the run up to an interview, and only 22% of people surveyed were happy with what they found when they Googled themselves. 

The time might be ripe to set yourself up with a LinkedIn or Twitter account and use the power of SEO to push a new, professional, talented you to the top of the search rankings. Ashley says: “Use your Twitter account to share content pertaining to your professional field, which will help to position you as a thought leader in your discipline. Make sure your LinkedIn includes your most up-to-date information, and connect with past and present colleagues who can endorse your skills and write recommendations on your behalf.”

Know about the company

Writing in Marie Claire, personal branding guru William Arruda said that researching the very latest news will help you stand out by showing enthusiasm and a zest for current affairs. He said: “If you are interviewing at Amazon, for example, and you learn that Alibaba just purchased a building a few miles away from Amazon HQ, you may want to bring it up in your interview to show you are paying attention.”

Figure out the interviewers’ ‘generation’

In the book Crazy Good Interviewing authors John B. Molidor and Barbara Parus suggest that senior figures might want different things from new recruits, depending on the generation they belong to.

Business Insider writes that the duo split the interviewers into four bands, starting with Generation Y interviewers aged between 20 and 30, through to Silent Generation Interviewers aged between 70 and 90. The former might want demonstrations of multitasking and visual samples of work, the latter will want evidence of loyalty and respect for their own careers. Do your research beforehand and plan your mindset accordingly.

Practice games

Incredibly, candidates are now being tested on their digital gaming techniques rather than being asked about their university and school qualifications. In a recent Guardian piece Rob Davies tackled a video game called Firefly Freedom, set in a fictional forested world but measuring real-life risk appetite, mental agility and persistence. Davies found at the end of the process, instigated by Deloitte, that he is “as quick at learning new things as most people”, but, “may not display either the truly breakthrough thinking required for step-change, nor the extreme due diligence required in high-stakes situations”.

As far as is possible research the company’s recruitment process to find out what you’ll be doing. Professor John Rust, director of Cambridge University’s Psychometrics Centre, said the tests can be superior to interview situations and could disadvantage people from specific backgrounds.

Learn how to answer ‘that question'

It’s a dreaded poser but one likely to crop up – where do you see yourself in five years’ time? The wrong answers are numerous and brutal: “don’t know”; “in your seat”; “not working”.

These all show a lack of goals, or arrogance, or a paucity of imagination, Instead, suggests this: “An interviewer doesn’t want to hear that you have no goals, that you have unrealistic expectations or that you’re trying to take his job. Try this, instead: talk about some goals that you have over the next few years and how this job is a step in the right direction to accomplish those goals.”