Nicky Irving, client services recruitment consultant, The Industry Club
Your CV is spot on, the employer loves your experience and, as your recruitment consultant, we’ve sold your skills and personality to the hiring manager.
You got the interview for that plum position. Now smash it with these five steps.
#1 Prove you’re prepared
Go in armed with your notes on what you know about the company. What does it specialise in? What awards has it won? What makes it unique? Who are the key people and how did it become the company it is today? This will show the interviewer that you’ve done your homework. It’ll also stop you forgetting all those well-informed questions you plan to ask.
#2 Be a STAR
For a client-facing role, you’ll need to show you can field tough questions confidently and succinctly. To do this, use the STAR technique:
The interviewer says: Tell me how you’ve handled a difficult client with an unrealistic deadline.
You say: One Christmas, a client wanted a last-minute campaign. (Situation)
We had to fit an extra communication piece into an already-packed schedule and get a positive result from it. (Task)
I handled all the internal and external communication, keeping everybody in the loop. (Action)
The team worked really hard and I put extra hours in to see the promotion through and keep the client happy. The client was thrilled with the result and wrote to my manager to tell her so. (Result)
#3 Anticipate questions
As well as questions about what you know about the company and how you work with difficult clients, prepare yourself for questions such as:
- What do you know about our clients?
- What work of ours do you most admire and why?
- Why would you be good for this role?
- Why do you want to work for us?
- What are your key achievements to date?
- How do you work in a team?
- Where do you see yourself in a few years’?
When asked about your strengths, present them in the context of the role. Don’t be modest. Here, the interviewer wants to see what you’ll bring to the company. So, if you’re highly organised, calm under pressure, good at dealing with stressed clients and able to stay focused on long-term goals, say so.
And when it comes to the dreaded, ‘What are your weaknesses?’, never say ‘none’, or, ‘I’m a perfectionist’. Be honest without giving the interviewer cause for concern. You may, for example, say, ‘I used to struggle to prioritise work, but now I use tools to plan my day. I tweak my plan as necessary during the day, which helps me manage an ever-evolving workload.’
#4 Ask questions
Your questions will reveal a lot to the interviewer about your suitability for the role. Use open questions (those that don’t lead to a yes or no answer) to keep the conversation going:
- What does success look like in this role?
- What are this company’s biggest challenges?
- How would you describe the working style and company personality here?
- What are my longer-term career prospects here?
- What are the most challenging aspects of the role?
Ask too about the next stage in the interview process and when the agency is looking to have the new recruit on board.
#5 End it on a high note
At the end of the meeting, thank the interviewer for inviting you along and tell them you’d be very keen to be invited to the next stage in the process.
Nicky Irving is a client services recruitment consultant at The Industry Club, a specialist provider of recruitment services, executive search and training for the creative communications industry. The Industry Club works in partnership with Campaign Best Places to Work. Winners will be announced at a ceremony on 6 March 2019.