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HireScores.com Recruitment ForumRecruiters, Employers & Suppliers CentreRecruiter Advice/Questions/Chat (Moderators: HireScores.com admin, HireScoresMark)Interview Tips
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Financialjobs
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« on: December 16, 2008, 02:59:14 PM »

The fact that you have an interview means you are almost there. You may be feeling anxious and nervous. It's only natural. But the important things to keep in mind are:

Interviewers do not waste their time. An interviewer's time is expensive. You deserve to be on the shortlist. You have a realistic chance of getting the job.
By being on the shortlist the odds of winning the job have been significantly reduced in your favour.
An interview is a golden opportunity to illustrate your enthusiasm and passion for the role.
Be positive!
Second, be prepared. A world-class sportsman once said: 'The more I practice, the luckier I get'.

This is also true of interviews - being well prepared can make all the difference. The following section provides guidelines on key aspects of the interview process:



Preparation

Research has shown that over 80% of interviewees do little or no preparation before an interview. Increase your chances of success and put yourself in the top 20% with these tips:

Research the firm
Visit the company's website for general information and recent press releases
Use search engines to get a wider view of the company and how it fits into its industry
Contact the firm's marketing department for up-to-date literature
Use your network to get a behind-the-scenes view
Research the company’s main competitors
Know your CV
Make sure you know your CV inside out and are ready to expand on any choices you’ve made regarding your education and career. Be confident talking about your key achievements.

Prepare some questions and answers:

Take time to consider questions you might be asked and practice your responses.
Prepare a brief career overview in response to the popular starting question 'tell me something about yourself'. Be ready with plenty of examples to illustrate your skills and how you could contribute to the company.
Think about questions you'd like to ask. Questions which invite thought and comment are more memorable to the interviewer than those which request specific detail. This is also an excellent opportunity to illustrate your understanding of the firm.
Research the interview process
Find out the format of the interview:

How many interviews will there be?
Does the firm carry out psychometric testing?
Who will be conducting the interviews?
The day of the interview

If you're going to be late, call the company and let them know. Make sure you know roughly how long the interview will last. You don't want to be fretting about your next meeting.

Arrive a little early for the interview. Ten minutes spent in the reception will give you time to collect your thoughts and a chance to read the firm's brochures and study recent press releases. Listening to the receptionists and watching the comings and goings can provide a valuable insight into the type of firm you might be joining.



Presentation

Communication is said to be 93% non-verbal; 55% of that figure is visual. Ask yourself 'Do I look the part?' Always dress to impress. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Get a second opinion and check that your choice of interview wear creates the right impact.

Look in the mirror and check your posture. Relaxed shoulders present an open and confident manner. A strong but not over-bearing handshake and a natural smile complete the positive picture.

Just think, you've hardly said a word and your interviewer is already thinking, 'Great, looks good…confident…I could see this candidate fitting in round here'.

Have some additional copies of your CV with you.



Performance

The interview is the forum within which you will need to answer three questions:

Do you have the technical skills and experience to do the job?
Will you have the right attitude and commitment to do the job?
Will you fit in?
Skills and experience

The fact that you've been asked for interview shows your potential employer believes the answer to this question is 'yes'. However, the majority of the interview will probably be spent confirming this. Avoid monosyllabic responses and volunteer supporting information whenever possible.

Attitude and commitment

It's all very well having the technical ability, but this is meaningless unless matched with application and the drive and desire to succeed in the role. Give practical examples of how you have shown commitment and motivation in the past.

Will you fit in?

Companies differ. One person's dynamic and exciting environment may seem competitive and back-biting to another.It's your opinion that matters. A company's literature and your interviewer will provide clues on how to convey the impression that you'll fit in. But bear in mind that before accepting a position you must believe that you really will fit in. If the firm's culture is very different from your own, it's unlikely you'll be successful.

Other useful tips

Be clear and concise. Always use positive language. You're in control of what you want your interviewer to know, so take responsibility for answering the three key questions from the start.
If you tend to fidget, keep your hands apart and don't hold a pen or copy of your CV.
Practice a comfortable sitting position beforehand that feels natural.
Be aware of your voice. Pace, tone and intonation all contribute to your success in an interview. If the role demands energy and enthusiasm, show some!
If you are being interviewed by more than one person, engage the whole panel when responding.
Although you've thought about the salary side of things, always allow your interviewer to initiate discussions. This often won't occur during the first interview. Negotiate as late as possible: you will have most influence when the recruiter wants you.
Even if doubts are setting in, always remain positive throughout the interview. There will be time to discuss concerns later. You want to be able to make the final decision.
At the end of the interview, always be positive if asked about your interest in the job. It's worth making notes immediately afterwards on what you thought went well, what didn't and what you'd do differently next time. Experience always enhances performance, so make the most of the meeting.
Finally, follow up with a brief thank you letter, reiterating your interest in the position. If you have any additional information which might help the company make a decision in your favour, offer it here. Send a letter rather than an email which can be easily deleted.


Common Interview Questions

Tell me something about yourself.
What brings you to the job market at this point in your career?
Why would you like to work for this company in particular?
What attracts you to this role?
What are your key strengths and weaknesses?
Describe two major achievements in your career.
If you could change anything about your financial career so far, what would it be?
How would members of your team describe you?
What important points came out of your last appraisal?
Describe your management style.
What do you look for in a manager?
Describe your toughest client.
What do you want from your next role?
What does success mean to you?
What are the key things that drive or motivate you?
What really winds you up in the workplace?
Describe your greatest challenge so far.
Describe a difficult work scenario and how you managed it.
Where do you see yourself in two to five year's time?
What are your financial career aspirations?
What would you say about your current and last employers?
Describe your preferred company culture.
If you could have your time again, what career would you choose?


Questions to ask your interviewer

How has this financial vacancy arisen?
How would you describe the firm/company culture?
What do you see as the key challenges of this role?
How do you differentiate yourselves from your competitors?
What are the organisation's major business objectives in the coming year?
How are employees measured in terms of performance?
What processes exist to support employees in their career development?
How would you describe the firm/company's values?
What key issues currently face the organisation?
What can I expect to be involved in during my first six months of joining?
What are the department's priorities during the next six months?

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« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2008, 09:57:43 AM »

Some good tips here thanks.

What's your name by the way?
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« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2008, 02:05:08 PM »

Hi, my name is Myles.

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« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2008, 02:10:15 PM »

Hey Myles pleased to meet you.

Or pleased make your acquaintance would be a better term for discussion forums I guess  Smiley.
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MaryG
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« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2008, 04:11:51 AM »

Wow, those are some really great tips. You were so thorough in writing that list up. Thank you!

While I agree that preparation makes things a million times easier, you also have to expect the unexpected. If you're hoping to be completely prepared for any question asked, you might end up really flustered when an unusual question pops up. 
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« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2008, 10:18:53 AM »

The questions to ask an interviewer I found especially helpful. We all know to a certain degree what we might be asked at an interview but I know for me that in the past at interviews I've always struggled with knowing what to ask of my potential new boss. How are employees measured in terms of performance was one that stood out to me.

Fantastic advice.
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Financialjobs
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« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2008, 02:06:58 PM »

Not a problem. The thing to remember is that competition is high, particularly in the coming year and everything that can be done to set yourself apart from the rest, must be done!

As I've always said, make the most of the resources at hand regardless of what providers/suppliers (job boards and recruitment agencies)say, such as that they are a one stop shop and you need not go anywhere else! All rubbish, just use all the knowledge and resources available and stick your head out above the crowd!

Update your CV
Upload CV onto a number of job boards
Register with recruitment agencies
Apply to jobs through job boards, agencies and companies directly
Prepare for interview
Prepare for new job!

Good luck

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Bob
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« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2008, 04:02:06 PM »

Thanks also for this. I've been sort of looking around for a new job but am a little unsure about switching positions with the upset in the job scene etc. The credit crunch stuff I mean. I have a degree of stability where I am but am still keeping my ear to the ground. My thing is customer service and call centre work so it's a pretty wide field.
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Gota
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« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2008, 11:22:38 AM »

"Be prepared to be prepared." (Malcolm Baxter)
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Financialjobs
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« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2008, 11:46:39 AM »

Being a job board owner I can tell you that you are not alone in being cautious about looking for a new job given the stability of your current position. Recruitment agency owners are concerned that the best candidates (who are inevitably still employed) are not looking for a change in career/company etc due to the current situation (credit crunch).

job seekers need to find motivation from somewhere and recognise that job boards are there to help and a lot of work goes on behind the scenes to promote the sites and ultimately their candidates and clients.....

Good luck for 2009!!

Myles

http://www.financialjobsinlondon.com
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Bob
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« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2009, 10:33:31 AM »

Do you mean there are jobs out there then? You said that recruitment agency owners are concerned that the best candidates are not looking due to the current situation. I don't know if I'm one of the best of course but the picture is that there aren't really any jobs. If recruitment agencies have jobs but are concerned nobody is looking to change surely something can be done to break the gridlock?
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« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2009, 09:44:12 PM »

Pre Christmas... what I stated was spot on..... Recruiters struggling to fill the few positions they had on their books.

Post Christmas and New Year registrations and applications have increased significantly. Not sure yet what recruiters are making of it regarding quality.... One thing I did learn when I first started www.financialjobsinlondon.com is that recruitment agencies will never be happy! Not sure why they have such a discontent view on things but they do...... no of that is particularly important to you. All you need to know is that if you find the right agency or more importantly the right consultant you can't go wrong. It is in their interest to place you in a job.

If you aren't the strongest candidate in the world then you must broaden your horizons regarding what jobs you are prepared to look at, particularly now. in better times look for careers not jobs......

Don't be too disheartened if you register with an agency and you don't hear from them, as they focus purely on the jobs they have and if you don't fit then they will spend little time on you, understandably! They do work very hard, I do not envy their work load, at all!

It's easy to say but regardless of whats happening in the economy try to stay positive as you are not alone (i can feel a song coming on here :-) Good luck with your search!

Myles

http://www.financialjobsinlondon.com
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« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2009, 10:00:25 AM »

For some reason I only just saw this reply. But thanks for what you said here Myles. 
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ktweeden
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« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2009, 04:16:19 PM »

These are great tips, very thorough. I always find the question "tell me something about yourself" really difficult. It's so broad, it's hard not to just list your professional and educational history, which they already know because it's on your CV! Any suggestions about what sort thing to response with?
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« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2009, 12:27:32 PM »

It's a difficult question isn't it? Plus not knowing you it's almost impossible to suggest what you might say in response to that question. I guess the usual "I'm very focussed, driven, motivated etc" may just be the things that everyone says. Though incorporating some form of that response probably wouldn't hurt. The trick is to make it sound like you just came up with it rather than planned it. Maybe a little thoughful pause before saying some of those common attributes would go along way than somebody who answers quickly.

That just might make the difference to the interviewer.
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