5 Key Factors for Successful Interviews

Published: 13 May 2014

Berwick Partners are soon to turn ten years old. As one of the founding few, I recently paused to ponder how many interviews I’ve been a part of in that period. I ran out of fingers pretty quickly. Some simple sums suggested a guestimate of a couple of thousand at a minimum. A surprisingly unsurprising number – we’ve been busy.

This brought me to thinking about the most memorable interviews, and the behaviours and traits common to the best candidates. The following is a list of key areas that ‘great’ candidates seem to do naturally. Obviously a blog is far too short a medium to deliver an exhaustive list, but hopefully this summary offers some target areas for smart interview prep at any stage in a recruitment process:

  1. Solid EQ & IQ – good candidates know who they are, where their strengths lie, and how they leverage their skills in the workplace. This is in the here and now, but importantly also how it plays forward to the next challenge.
  2. Drive – this isn’t about gung-ho, high octane, board room table thumping. It is a simple awareness of their personal motivators, experiences, skills and how this package aligns to achieving the next career goal. It’s about understanding the pieces of the puzzle that are in play, and which piece comes next.
  3. Achievements – great candidates display a clear focus upon measurable outputs. They go beyond ‘personal successes’ and link their contribution to the attainment of bigger picture business benefits. 
  4. Communications – simplicity of approach is king. Clear, concise messages delivered in a manner that best fits the audience – internal or external. This is accompanied by the confidence to challenge, question, and actively listen.
  5. Influence – they have the knack of getting things done, and bringing people with them at every level; superiors, peers and subordinates. Ideas are seeded, strategies borne out of collaboration, and delivered with shared outcomes.

Amongst all the fine marketing messages surrounding your achievements, do leave room for your personality. ‘Fit’ is a critical part of every hire, and the right fit will always tip the scales where skills and experience draw even.

This short piece has deliberately avoided the ‘Interview 101’ tips of turning up on time, boots polished, well pressed, research done, looking and acting the part.  Falling short on these simple elements does you no justice and reads as straight ‘lazy’. The market is on the rise and competition for talent is increasing, so get fit for the challenge or risk getting left behind.

Matt Cockbill is a Partner, and Head of Technology and EMI Practices for Berwick Partners and believes meeting and interviewing talent is a privilege.

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