Preparation is the key to success

5 Tips on how to prepare for an interview.

Research the brand

Ensure that you have taken the time to do your research on the brand you are hoping to join. Have a look at their website and get a feel for the type of customer they are attracting. What are their values and their business ethics? So, they fit in with your values and do you believe in their vision. If any of these are no then maybe you won’t be the right fit for the brand.

Have a look at the products that they sell, is there a range or idea that you really like? This is a great thing to be able to talk about to the interviewer. I always suggest to my candidates that they pick a product that they like and why they like it. It shows brand engagement and gives a great opportunity to show off your product knowledge and selling techniques.

Also, be able to talk about one thing that you love about the brand. Maybe you love the way they look after their customers, maybe their commitment to sustainability or maybe you love how they look after their employees. Make it clear to the interviewer that their brand is the one you want to be part of.

Research the position

Be sure that this is the role that is right for you. It’s okay to call the person that wrote the advert and ask for more details of the role. What are the specific duties that this role will need to perform? How much time will you be spending doing these things? Will you be measured or given targets? If so what are they and how often will you be measured on them? You will also need to think about when you will be required to work, how flexible they expect you to be and the location. Do they close late on a certain day which will make it difficult to get public transport? This research is a vital part of the process. If you think of something that is important to you and don’t know the answer, make sure you note it down and ask at the “Any questions? part of the interview.

Test yourself

A majority of interviews will have a series of questions that ask you to talk about a particular situation that you have been in and how you dealt with it. I always send my candidates a link to some competency based questions to practice with at home. The key is not to overthink or memorise answers as it is highly unlikely that those exact question will come up. However, I think it’s a great opportunity to generate some ideas for the interview. Also, know your figures. At this point, you should roughly know the targets that you will need to reach in this new position so it’s a great opportunity to talk about your current KPI’s and targets. Do not lie about them, if your sales are down year on year, speak about it but couple it with reasons as to why this has happened and your long-term plan in how you are going to turn it around. You cannot go into an interview and not be able to describe the basics, don’t forget that you are trying to sell yourself too so shout about the great things you have done and how you are evolving the company and yourself.

Show your personality 

However much the nerves try and take over you need to get across that you are a friendly and likeable person. Build rapport with the interviewer with a big smile and good handshake. Also, if you can find out who will be interviewing you then you can help to create a personal connection straight away. Nearly all business people will have something on the internet whether it is on the company website or LinkedIn. Use this tool to have a look at their background so you can pick up on any points of conversation. This could be a previous company they have worked for, an award that they have won, a shared contact that you know or even a language that you may both speak. This interest in them will put the interviewer at ease and reinforce that fact that you have indeed done your homework and are taking this interview seriously. Finally, make sure that the clothing that you are wearing is a good reflection of the brand. Many luxury retailers have very strict policies when it comes to uniform, so I suggest that you abide to it for the interview. Also, if you are unsure go formal. I don’t think that a shirt and tie has ever put an interviewer off.

Why us, why you?  

You need to be prepared to answer the question “why do you want to work for us?” This question shows them how much you want the position.  This is where all your research comes into action.

“I love the brand because…”

“I have the same values as the company particularly…..”

“I would add value to the team because….”

Make sure that you do not hurt the reputation of your current company or manager. This does not paint a picture of loyalty or sensitivity.

“Your company is so much better than my current company because….”

“My manager won’t progress me and I hear you do this for your team….”

“Your commission scheme is better than my current company…”

Finally, take it slowly, be in control and breathe!