Skip to main content

What your recruiter wants you to know ahead of your interview

Joanna Belmar our consultant managing the role
Posted by Joanna Belmar
Published on 7 February 2017

Job interviews can be daunting for even the most seasoned professional. In fact, a recent Harris Interactive and Everest College study found that 92% of interviewees experience anxiety ahead of job interviews. But, if you are armed with the right knowledge and have done your preparation, there is no reason why you should feel anything but confident ahead of your next job interview. Take a look at the following advice from some of our Quanta consultants to help give you the winning edge.

Practice PAR

To impress your interviewer and make yourself memorable, you will want to have some anecdotes prepared that showcase your experience and abilities. It is not good enough to simply have a story, either. You also need to show how your reaction to an action or event impacted your work and made a difference.

To prepare, follow a ‘PAR’ (Problem, Action, Result) model. This involves identifying a problem you encountered in a previous position, the action you took to solve this problem and the resulting changes from this action.

The PAR method is a great approach to use when you are asked about your areas for development or times when you have made a mistake. Where possible, show evidence of learning from your mistakes and turning problems into positives.

Prepare for the standard questions

While each interview has its own unique circumstances, candidates can typically expect a few standard questions to come up time and again. Perhaps the most common is “Tell me about yourself”. Interviewers often use this as an ice breaker. It is important to remember that this opener is not an invitation for your life story; rather a clear and concise overview of your career to date, goals and personality. Think of this as your personal statement which summarises who you are professionally and why you are applying for the position. Include key details that are relevant to the role, such as your qualifications and specific skillset, but try to keep it to a couple of minutes or less. If the employer wants more detail, they will ask.

At Quanta we have noticed candidates are asked the following questions time and time again:

- What value have you added to previous projects you have worked on?
- What made you decide to move on from your last project?
- What are your biggest achievements on current and previous projects?
- What value will you add to this project?

As recruitment consultants, we are always happy to talk candidates through these types of questions to help prepare them for their interview, but any additional preparation you can do in this area will be really worthwhile.

Do your homework

It goes without saying that researching the company you apply for is incredibly important, but your pre-interview research should go beyond that. Prepare a handful of questions on the role, company, team, manager and wider industry to demonstrate to your interviewer that you are taking a keen interest in the company and its hiring process. Check LinkedIn, Xing or other Social Media to find out more about the people you might be meeting with and find out as much about the company and its projects as you can. If you are working with a consultant at Quanta, ask them to explain the interview structure and who you will be interviewing with.

Take a printed version of your CV and the job description along to the interview with you. We recommend annotating the job description with examples of your specific experience and achievements against all the key elements and tasks.

Ask and listen

Job interviews are like dates - for them to be successful, both parties need to be interested in each other. Richard Bolles, career expert and author of ‘What Color is Your Parachute?’ recommends a 50/50 approach when interviewing. This is where candidates spend 50% of the time talking and 50% listening. A great interview will feel more like a natural conversation than a formal question and answer format.

While some people might recommend coming prepared with questions to ask your interviewer, it is often preferable to listen carefully to their questions and responses and formulate your questions from there. This shows listening and comprehension skills that may well be applied to your future position.

For more information on how we can help our Quanta candidates, take a look here. If you’re interested in the current roles we have available, see our latest vacancies here. Good luck!

Life Changing Moments…