Take the heavy lifting out of your interview prep

Gain confidence for your next interview by using the knowledge of your recruiter or talent acquisition manager.

There’s no better way to boost your confidence walking into an interview room than knowing you’ve done your homework.

But spending hours trawling through a corporate website and stalking your interviewers LinkedIn profile is only going to get you so far. For real insight into what the interviewer is looking for, utilise the knowledge of your recruiter or talent acquisition manager to get a jump on the competition.

1. Run through the job description with your recruiter/TA before applying

Get your recruiter to chat you through the job description. They’ll have seen hundreds if not thousands of JDs, so they’ll be able to spot any red flags from the onset. If you have any questions or are unsure about your suitability for the role, now’s the time to raise those concerns. If the recruiter can’t answer these questions directly, they can speak to the hiring manager to find out.

Learn what to look out for in a job description

2. Learn more about the organisation structure

If your recruiter has connections within the business, they’ll be able to give you a birds-eye view of the way teams are set-up across the organisation. We call this the helicopter approach. As a bare minimum, before walking into an interview, you should know:

  • Who the role reports into
  • Your direct reports
  • Key stakeholders
  • Any other teams you work closely with

You can find some of this out yourself, but a recruiter/TA should be able to provide in-depth information about the culture, mission and values of your team (not just the wider organisation) so you can make a judgement about whether these are suited to your personal goals and style of working.

3. Get up to speed on the product or project

Most IT roles are directly related to a specific product or project. If you can access insider information about the status of this, you’ll be able to elevate the conversation in your interview to discuss specifics, giving you an edge over the competition.

Use your recruitment/TA to find out:

  • The current status of the project/product
  • Key stakeholders
  • Timeframes and budgets
  • The vendors and other external partners
  • Understand the level of governance, project hygiene and administration requirements, and if support teams will be provisioned for these tasks
  • Find out any risk-mitigation factors

4. Know your team

Getting an insight into your potential stakeholders, and the leadership and project teams you’ll be working with, will give you a much better understanding of what the business is looking for in an employee.

The best place to start here is the interview panel itself. Talk to your recruiter/TA about what they will be looking for and what to avoid to ensure expectations are met. Don’t be afraid to ask about the personality make-up of the panel to determine who your champions are likely to be.

5. Understand the interview process

Ask your recruiter/TA to talk you through each step. The more familiar you are with the style of interview, the more comfortable you’ll feel during it.

Make sure to find out:

  • Duration of interviews
  • Number of stages
  • Format
  • Feedback from previous candidates
  • Any pet questions the recruiter/TA knows of

Always ask what to wear. Not all start-ups spend the day in boardshorts, so take the guesswork out of this one.

6. Test and evaluate the project/product

Your recruiter/TA will likely give you this advice, but they can’t do it for you. It may seem obvious but there will definitely be candidates who won’t, and the hiring manager will see it instantly.

If you can access an aspect of the product or project you’ll be working on, spend a few hours testing it, looking for bugs or potential pain points for users you can feedback to the business. Proactivity never goes out of style, and hiring managers are always impressed by candidates who have attention to detail, and are able to bring a fresh approach to their team.

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