5 Interview Tips for Time Poor Professionals

13 February 2018 Victoria Butt

Vic   5 Tips For The Time Poor

The person that interviews the best will get the job – FACT!

It’s interesting to note that some of the best candidates I have met over the years are quite frankly terrible at interviewing. They spend most of their professional careers exceeding expectations of those around them but when they are then asked to sell themselves, or list their achievements, they simply comment that it was about ‘doing their job’ rather than exceeding expectations.

Why is this so common? Is it because the expectation for ourselves is so high that we can only be proud of the very best outcomes? Or is it that we simply don’t have time or energy to think about how to position ourselves for success in our next role?

As a starting point to assist those who are time poor (everyone!), I have outlined 5 crucial steps to complete before you attend an interview/informal coffee:

1. Walk in the shoes of the end customer;

Whether you are meeting a Financial Planner, software provider, Bank or telco, it’s critical you go through the process of how a customer will interact with the product. Apply for a credit card, mortgage, superannuation fund or online product and note down the good, bad and ugly. It’s crucial that you are able to provide candid and valuable feedback to the interviewer about the product line. Review and critique the marketing philosophy and be prepared to outline a solution to present to the interviewer.

I appreciate some interviewers may get defensive in light of critique, so be mindful of your delivery on this and read your audience!

2. Bring a 90-day plan;

The war for talent is undoubtedly still on; however, it is still important to present a 90-day plan at your first interview. Your recruiter should be able to guide you on how to present this, but it is critical to demonstrate what you plan to achieve in the first 90 days and the value you intend to bring to the team and business from day one.

3. Competitor Analysis;

Understanding the landscape of the Industry you are interviewing for is imperative.  One of the quickest ways of doing this is by doing a full competitor analysis of the organisation and/or product lines. This can be as detailed or as brief as you want, but it is an effective tool to demonstrate your understanding of the market and your knowledge.

4. Be able to answer the common question: “tell me a bit about yourself” in less than 2 minutes;

Possibly one of the most annoying questions asked! It is important to know how to answer this question succinctly in less than 2 minutes, by giving a great representation of who you are as a person as well as a professional. I suggest the following format:

  • Talk about significant others (children, family, pets etc) – 

  • Share your passions (mine are drinking wine and diving with sharks!) – 

  • 30 second overview of your career, including where you started your career and where you are now – 

  • Finally…. Why you are in the meeting with the interviewer – 

5. Be able to answer why the role/product interests you;

This may seem obvious but this answer must be well researched and multi-dimensional. It is no longer suitable to give the generic answer that you are interested in what the company is doing – you must be more specific and talk in more granular details about what interests you and why in order to capture the interviewers’ attention.

 Victoria Butt is the Managing Director at Parity Consulting, recruiting for Executive and Senior roles in Product, Marketing and Communications. Whilst she enjoys her wine and considers diving with sharks to be an enjoyable holiday activity, professionally she is an emerging voice for women in financial services and is an active member in the Product business community. Contact her on +61 402 418 326 or vbutt@parityconsulting.com.au for a confidential conversation today!