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How To Ace Your Next Interview

Interviews are pivotal part of your recruitment process; they are the final seal that determines if you’d get the job. As I often tell undergraduates and recent graduates, if you get to an interview stage, it means you are good enough for the job, you just must demonstrate how good you are. The tips below might help you ace your next interview.

Tell a story, a chronological one

9 out of 10 interviews often start with a predicted question; “Can we meet you? Tell us more about you? Tell us something exciting about you”. Answering these questions; highlighting who you are, what you’ve done, what you can do and what you are looking forward to doing and highlighting how all these fits into the role is an excellent way is to kickstart the conversation.

It is important that you lay emphasis on the part of you and what you have done that intersects with the role you are interviewing for.  It is worthy to note at this point that, the best interviews are the best conversation and there is no better way to kick off an exciting conversation than imprinting your name in the heart of your interviewer by telling an exciting story.

Demonstrate your understanding of the role

If you have gotten to the interview stage, it means that you are good enough for the role. It is important that you demonstrate how well you understand the role and how your array of previous experiences, skills and abilities fit into this role. Say sentences like “I understand this role requires some with adept report writing skills, strong finance background and clarity of thoughts. As an investment researcher, I have written macro-economic reports across different sectors of the industry, backing up this with mined data. Being CFA level 2 candidate has also exposed me to the continuously evolving knowledge of the finance space, which I believe has equipped me with the requisite skills for the role”. The more convincing you sound, the more convinced your interviewers are because they are human beings just like you.

Research about the company (as it relates to your role)

Nothing gives you an upper hand than carrying out a detailed research about the prospective organisation, especially as it relates to your role. For instance, for a finance role, you could find out how the organisation is doing? What their financial books is saying and other related news. For a business or marketing role, you can research on their EPS, recent market wins (or losses), recently launched products and other exciting features. Going a step further to research about the company you are interviewing will provide you with a lot of information that could enrich your responses and ensure your conversation is tilted towards a favourable direction.

Sell yourself in exact metrics and impact

There are a set of questions that are often asked repeatedly: “Tell us about a time you provided solution to a challenge, tell us about a problem and how you solved it, tell us about a project you led and how you executed it”. These questions fall in the same bucket and can be answered using an exciting approach you probably have heard about themed- S.T.A.R. S is for Situation. What was the situation you were in, was a project at the brink of collapsing? A fund to be raised for a course. T is for TaskWhat was the exact ask or task? A is for Action. What exact action did you carry out and how did that bring about some exciting Results (R). Narrating this in a chronological metric-centric way might give your answers some exciting directions.

Ask exciting questions

Almost at the end of every interview, interviewers ask if you have any questions. It is quite important that you have engaging questions to ask. It might be about the role, the company, the culture, the workstyle and a lot of other topics. Do ensure that your questions are neither unruly or poke-nosing. You can check out the kind of questions you could ask online.

End on a lighter note

It might be during your introductory answer or while answering a technical question, it is always good to take a fifteen second breath and spice up the conversations with humours here and there. You can let your interviewers know you love chess if you are interviewing for a strategy role or that you play monopoly very well if you are interviewing for an investment banking or portfolio management role. Whatever it is, remember that your interviewers are humans, and your conversations shouldn’t be mechanical.

Interviews are already a step into the door, how you act the script ensures you step into the door. Ensure you prepare well for the next one.