Lined up a few interviews for after the Easter break? Good for you. But unfortunately, even as the employment market improves, those dastardly banks are still unforgiving when it comes to interviews.
Having a strong CV and being in a skill-short job sector is not a winning combination. You also need to perform well under fire, so here are a few tips to help you beat the banks at the interview game.
1) Don’t just look at the big picture
Some candidates are brilliant at researching the company as a whole, but not the actual job. “Your preparation should ensure that you understand the role, how it fits into the organisation and the skills required. Use examples where you have demonstrated these skills, including achievements that are specifically related,” says Vanessa Harding-Farrenberg, joint managing director, Morgan McKinley.
2) Know your own behaviour
Be prepared to answer behaviour-based questions. “Most banks will look for similar attributes: communication/relationship skills; team building; ability to be proactive; assertiveness; delivering under pressure; influencing skills and leadership skills,” comments Harding-Farrenberg.
3) And know thy enemy
Researching the interviewer’s background gives you ideas on questions to ask about his or her own experience and provides topics for initial conversation, says Alana Hunnick, banking & finance consultant, Manpower Professional.
4) But beware pointless questions
Be ready with questions to ask at the end of the interview, but avoid those that could be answered via the bank’s website or other easily accessed information, says Harding-Farrenberg. “And don’t ask questions for the sake of it. If your questions have been answered, just say so.”
5) Escape the deep freeze
Many candidates go into interviews with little preparation on articulating their own experience. “We see a lot of applicants ‘freezing’ in interviews because they haven’t sat down to think about the types of questions that may be presented to them. When preparing for an interview, it’s a good idea to have some examples up your sleeve of the type of work that you have done or challenging situations that you have overcome,” says Hunnick.
6) Don’t forget the details
A quick scan of the corporate website doesn’t qualify as research. You should be able to talk about how the firm is performing in terms of revenue, profitability, products and services. Hunnick adds: “It’s also a good idea to take a step back and see what is being said about the company in the media and what advertising campaigns you may have seen relating to the company.”
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