Getting ahead of the competition at interview

Research the company, plan your route in advance, have a hearty breakfast, arrive ahead of time, wear your lucky pants, blah-blah-blah.

These are all well and good, but let’s be honest, every half decent candidate will have done the same.

So, the questions is….. What can you really do to get ahead of the competition at interview!?

1. Do some ‘physical’ research

Googling the company and checking out their website is great, but the candidate sat next to you has probably done this too. I’ve always been most impressed when a candidate has actually made an effort to go above and beyond.

  • If you’re applying for a job in hospitality, get a bite to eat at the restaurant, grab a coffee at the coffee shop or spend a night at the hotel.

  • If you’re applying for a job in retail, make sure you visit at least one store, take the time to speak to a couple of staff members and if you’re feeling adventurous, perform a mystery shop.

  • If you’re applying for a job in sales, put in a call to the call centre or make an enquiry with a sales rep. This will help you get first-hand experience of their sales process.

All of the above will not only give you a better insight into the role and company that you’re hoping to join, but it will show the interviewer that you’ve invested your own free time into the process and that you’re serious about getting the job! 

2. Give feedback on your experience

This one can be tricky, but if executed correctly you’ll show the interviewer that you’re switched on, have a keen eye for detail and they’ll be super impressed that you’re already thinking like a star employee.

  • Let them know about all the positives you experienced during your research and underpin these with your key reasons for wanting to join the company.

  • Highlight some of the areas for improvement that you encountered. It’s important not to come across negative at this point as there’s nothing more off-putting than a hearing a candidate slate your staff, sales process or chef’s signature dish. The key is to highlight minor issues that can be quickly fixed.

  • You can now suggest some solutions to the issues you highlighted and let them know why you’re best person to put them right.

It’s all about the balance. You want to come across positive not negative. Analytical but not over critical. Your aim is to leave the interviewers thinking that, if given the opportunity, you can add real value to the company. 

3. Bring your “Brag File” 

This is similar to your record of achievement, only it’s not a physical object and it doesn’t contain your swimming badges. I like to think of it as an internal Filofax of all your best career achievements to date. For example:

  • That time you took an underperforming store from bottom of the regional league table to 2nd from top within your first 6 months.

  • When you secured a national contract with a large hotel chain and beat your annual revenue target by £200,000.

When you’re asked a question, you should answer as you normally would, but then draw upon a page from your brag file to really put the icing on the cake!

If you have an interview coming up and would like to learn more about how best to prep. Feel free to contact the Logic Resourcing Team.

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Tom Schubert

24th January

Career Advice