Preparing for an Interview
Your specialist Morgan McKinley consultant will work with you to ensure that you are fully prepared for any interview question or situation. All that will be left for you to do is be yourself and shine. Being advised and prepared by Morgan McKinley will enable you to respond to interview questions confidently, in a relaxed fashion, accurately and succinctly.
Interviewing can be a daunting task for any professional, regardless of their level of seniority or previous experience. It is, however, the best opportunity you will have to gain an understanding of the role and company you are interested in and establish how your background can contribute to the company’s growth and profitability objectives. As experienced interviewers, who have helped thousands of candidates successfully navigate their way through the interview process to successful offer, Morgan McKinley has put together the following guide, which we hope will help you to maximise your chances of success through the interview process, whether you're interviewing for a position in China or abroad.
Invest some time in research before your interview. Finding out as much as possible about the company and the people you are meeting with in advance is the best way to ensure that you are ready for any eventuality. Be sure to prepare plenty of relevant questions. The more you know before your interview, the more confident you will feel and appear.
- Firstly, and most importantly, discuss the upcoming interview with your Morgan McKinley consultant, who will provide invaluable advice and insight. This will ensure that you are fully familiar with the position that you are being interviewed for.
- Research both the company and its industry sector to familiarise yourself with the operating environment. Your degree of preparation speaks volumes about your interest level and conscientiousness. In addition to increasing your confidence, solid preparation will help you to give articulate answers and ask pertinent questions.
- Obtain details in relation to the interviewers and their positions within their organisation. If possible, any information on their professional/career background would be beneficial.
- Ensure that you are familiar with your CV and your academic and career achievements. Give some thought as to how these can be tailored for the particular position that you are being interviewed for.
- Ensure that you are clear in relation to the time and exact location of the interview. It is natural to feel nervous before an interview. Your goal is to eliminate unnecessary nervousness by being well prepared.
- At the outset, it is important to develop a friendly yet professional rapport with everyone you meet in the organisation. This can be achieved through a firm handshake, sustained eye contact, a warm smile, good posture and introducing yourself in a relaxed and confident manner.
- A few basics about superficial presentation bear repeating. A well-groomed, professional appearance is essential. Anything else will detract from the best possible impression you can make.
- While the interviewers will primarily determine the format, it is important that you highlight, during the course of the interview, your specific skills, attributes and achievements that are relevant to the role and the organisation. In addition, bear in mind that an interview is a brief period of time in which to make an impression. You want yours to be a positive one. Present the highs and not the lows.
- If more than one person is interviewing you, be sure to address all of the people in the room when you are answering questions. Even if one person is doing most of the talking, or if interviewers are alternating questions, it is polite and professional to maintain eye contact with each person.
- Communicating information about yourself is your responsibility. It is not up to the interviewer to drag it out of you. Find opportunities in the interview to raise points that will highlight attributes you have which are relevant to the position.
- Listed at the end of this section are examples of common questions. You will note that some are simply variations on a theme. If you spend some time considering how you would answer the ones on this list, you will be able to respond to any question more smoothly and with greater confidence.
- On successful completion of the interview, contact your consultant in Morgan McKinley and they will take you through the next stage - whether this is an offer or a second round interview.
As soon as possible, take notes about what happened. If you are going to another interview in the same day, this is particularly important, because you don't want to confuse any details. This information will become crucial if you are invited back for a second interview.
Common Interview Questions
An employer’s objective in an interview is to build a detailed picture of your skills, experience, competencies and personality in order to assess whether you have the correct skill set and cultural fit for their business. You, meanwhile, are trying to establish whether they and their firm offer you the best next step in your career. There are a number of interview questions that are commonly asked, and we would recommend that you prepare your answers to these in advance. Always remember when responding to questions to keep your responses concise and relevant. Make sure that you sell yourself and your abilities using a variety of examples that reflect different aspects of your experience.
• Tell me about yourself.
• How would your contemporaries describe you?
• What makes you different from the other candidates for this position?
• Describe the accomplishment of which you are the most proud.
• Why should we hire you?
• What strengths and attributes could you bring to this position?
• Why did you choose Accountancy/Finance/IT etc.?
• How did you become involved in your extracurricular activities?
• Describe the job or the activity that has had the greatest impact on your career goals.
• What are your career goals?
• What would you like to be doing five/ten years from now?
• What interests/impresses you about this company?
• What do you believe are the key issues and problems in our industry today?
• What do you think it takes to be successful in this field?
• In what kind of work environment do you do your best work?
• What kind of people do you like to work with?
• What kinds of tasks and responsibilities motivate you the most?
• What is your ideal job?
• Tell me about what you learned from your previous jobs.
• What did you dislike most about your last job?
• What is your greatest weakness?
• What has been your greatest challenge?
• What do you enjoy doing outside of work in your free time?
• If you had six months ahead with no obligations and no financial constraints, what would you do?
There is a growing trend towards employers using ‘competency-based’ interviewing techniques as a way of separating the really strong candidates from the rest of the crowd. Interviewers want you to be able to talk about how you have dealt with real problems in the past, as this helps them to decide how effectively you would tackle future issues you might encounter in your career with the firm. Competency based interviewing is scenario based: you are asked to give detailed examples of situations you experienced in previous roles, and use them to demonstrate your underlying skill-set. They often relate to areas such as influencing, communication, management, collaboration and conflict resolution.
Typical questions that are often asked include:
• Can you give me an example of when you had to work under a great deal of pressure?
• Can you give me an example of when you felt that you were out of your depth? How did you handle this?
• Tell me about some risks you have taken in your working or professional life? How did you go about this?
• Can you describe some of the approaches you take when ‘selling’ ideas to clients/colleagues.
• When you have managed a project can you take me through how you have approached it.
• When have you had to go against general feelings or policies to accomplish a goal? Tell me about it.
Questions for the Interviewer
• Does the company have plans to expand internationally?
• How successful has the company's business in Asia Pacific been thus far?
• Can you tell me which new markets the company is currently considering entering?
• What will be the impact of the new tax law on this business?
• I'm interested in learning more about the company's new technology that was mentioned in the news last week.
• I understand that you have just introduced a new product. How has it been received thus far?
• How is the finance department structured?
• What are the potential career paths that might be available to me?
Closing the Interview
If you are interested in the role, ask about the next interview stage if appropriate. If the interviewer offers you the job on the spot and you want it, accept it there and then. If you require further time to think it over, be tactful in saying so and qualify your reasons. Try and provide a definite date as to when you can provide an answer. Even if you have not decided if this is the job for you, the interviewer should be left with a positive impression – they should want to make you an offer even if you are not sure you would accept it. Ensure that you thank the interviewer!
After the interview it is essential that you call your recruitment consultant and provide feedback. One of the most important learning aspects of interviewing is the feedback that you will receive from your recruitment consultant after they have spoken to your potential employer, whether it is positive or negative. It is essential that you take it on board and use it for future interviews.
Contact Morgan McKinley's Specialist Consultants
Morgan McKinley's consultants have helped tens of thousands of jobseekers successfully prepare for interviews. Talk to us today and we will help take the stress out of the interview process and enable you to shine at your next interview.
- Career Advice
- Accounting & Finance - C&I
- Accounting & Finance - FS
- Asset Management
- Banking Operations
- Corporate Finance and M&A
- Human Resources
- IT - Commerce & Industry
- IT - Financial Services
- Private Banking & Wealth Management
- Private Equity & Hedge Funds
- Project & Change Management
- Risk Management
- Sales & Marketing
- Sales, Trading & Research
- Living & Working in Japan
- Working Internationally