Getting interviewed is both an art and a science. You’ve got your Talent Passport filled out, you’ve written your proposal and you’ve been shortlisted for the project or role. At this stage the stakes are higher for both you and the interviewer. You need to get the points that make you unique across and do everything you can to be preferred over the competition.
This 3 stage plan will help you make the most of interviews:
- Do your prep: on the company, competitors, and wider industry landscape.
- Think through your approach: the client will likely want to hear your first views on the project description, how you would approach the deliverables, and your anticipated timelines for delivery.
- Research the person you’re meeting – what’s their background? Any similarities, conversation starter topics, or interesting pieces to consider? Remember that a member of the Talmix team will always be on call to help with this part. Or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Compile a list of questions you want to ask them. If you need more detail on the project scope for example, or more guidance on who the internal stakeholders are, now is the time to ask. What wider business questions this project is answering for them could also be a good place to start.
During the interview
- My main tip would be to remember that this is a two way selling process – they are here to sell the work to you as much as you are there to sell your services to them, so don’t feel pressured to give them an easy ride.
- First impressions count, so focus on open body language and a confident voice – remember what you say only counts for 7% of the impression you’re giving away. The rest is purely how you’re saying it.
- The impact of eye contact can be a game breaker – connecting with someone whilst you’re talking to them will go a long way. Glancing around the room, or looking at your notes will make you seem unsure.
- Remember that interviews will differ for permanent positions too: project work will involve a narrower discussion of specific deliverables, permanent positions will cover a wider selection of your career history.
Here are some examples of the types of questions you could expect. This is not an exhaustive list, but if you’ve prepared for questions along similar lines to these then you’ll have given yourself a head start.
- What are your initial impressions of the work involved?
- What would be your suggested first three actions?
- How would you manage internal stakeholder expectations and communications?
- What tools would you need to be able to get this work delivered?
- Could you suggest any specific methodologies for the role?
- How would you rate the expected deliverables?
- If project work: How long do you think you would need to have the work completed?
- Is your day rate negotiable at all?
- When could you start?
Remember: Don’t feel you can’t say “I don’t know yet” to a question, particularly if you don’t have enough information on the role. It’s better to ask, than to guess and get it wrong.
Last tip for during the interview? Always finish the conversation with an actionable follow up – are they going to call you, do they want any further information from you, is there a next stage interview? Understanding this in the interview can help ease any frustration following the interview when waiting to hear back. It could be likely that for longer term projects, you may be expected to draft a more in depth proposal deck, so be prepared to invest some time in that.
- Always say thank you: no matter what the next step is in the process, a simple thank you note to your interviewer will help keep your name fresh in their mind and will confirm professionalism. It sounds simple, but you’d be surprised how many people forget this part in their relief that the interview is over.
- Don’t chase too hard: It’s important that they come back to you with feedback, but if they let you know it may not be for two weeks then chasing after one week has the potential to reflect negatively. Appreciate their timelines, and only chase once you feel it’s appropriate.
- Keep in contact: even if it doesn’t go your way after the interview, make sure you connect with your interviewer on your social or other networks. You never know when that connection will come in useful!
Always give Talmix a call straight after the interview and let us know how you got on. We will always help follow up on your behalf and pass any feedback to you as soon as we have it.