How to Succeed in your Interview
Remember your first analyst position and the dozens of interview rounds? You had so much practice back then, that you breezed through the questions and etiquette, most of the time. But it has been a few years and while you know about general interview techniques, it is time to dust down your CV, think about your body language and brush up on your oratory skills in order to take your interview preparation to the next level. In this competitive recruiting market, make sure you give your interviewer the signs he is looking for, and stand out as the obvious choice.
1. Do your research
Do your research in depth, go further than the website. If you are interviewing for a fund, you should know their portfolio inside out and have a view on their investments, particularly their latest ones. You may also be asked if there is a particular investment you have doubts about and why. If you are interviewing in IBD, review their leagues tables and recent deals.
Understand the culture, team structure, real values of the firm. Talking to someone from the inside before your interview will make all the difference. If your network fails you, go on www.route-in.comwhere hundreds of vetted experienced professionals share their insights confidentially and they can even give you mock interviews or case study practice over the phone or by video-call.
Also do not forget to research your interviewers, and find ways to connect and find out about their latest professional achievements. They are very likely to want to talk about their latest deal. Refer to Linkedin to see if you share connections, which group they are part of and what they follow. Have a good look at the pictures so you can recognize then on the day.
2. Understand why there is a vacancy
Why do they need you? Are you replacing someone who has left or is in the process of leaving, and will you take over his responsibilities? Has a new role been created? Each situation will require different skills to succeed and you should think about the strengths that you put forward to best suit the requirements of the role.
Practice makes perfect. Rehearse your answers to the top 20 interview questions so on the day the answers flow naturally and you can focus on the delivery. If you can, record yourself to pick up on any irritating mannerism. None of us are immune.
3. Articulate your story
Take time to build an articulated story. What is the journey that brought you to interview in this firm today? It is important to make sense of your career path, to explain each move you made and to make it obvious that the role you are applying for should be the next step for you. If you are going to give a compelling account of your professional journey, ensure it is crystal clear in your head before trying to convince your interviewer.
Explain how your past experiences will be valuable to this role and how they will enable you to boost the team you want to join in being more successful. Think about failures and what you have learnt from them: showing humility and maturity in dealing with adverse situations will show you to be an experienced and pragmatic professional.
Too many candidates ignore the body language of the person sitting on the other side of the table.
Is your interviewer loosing eye contact or fiddling? That shows boredom. Wrap up what you are saying. Crossing arms or leaning away? They may be uncomfortable: reflect on what you just said and watch your own body language in case you are leaning forwards aggressively or staring. Is the interviewer rubbing their face? That can be a sign of irritation ? be responsive a try another angle.
You are trying to connect with your interviewer for which establishing eye contact is key but to be handled cautiously. Overusing direct eye contact when you are speaking can come across as challenging the interviewer. Typically the listener tends to maintain direct eye contact for longer than the speaker who breaks it off at intervals. When you are talking you should try to hold contact for about 10 seconds before looking away briefly and then re-establishing eye contact.
Mirroring is an advanced body language technique where you shadow the actions of your interviewer. The most common examples would occur if the interviewer leans slightly forward towards you and you copy him, if you both reach for a drink or if you start matching his tone and verbal style. It should come naturally and can help you build a connection and make you both comfortable but do not force it as studies have shown that excessive copycatting in interview situations can lead you to appear untrustworthy and not very likeable. Keep it balanced and natural, as always, it is a fine line. Here again, practice makes perfect.
Magali McIntyre is Founder and CEO of www.route-in.com
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