Interview

Interview Dos and Don’ts

So, you’ve aced the application and sailed through the telephone screening and here you are, prepping for your face-to-face interview. You ask yourself, ‘where do I start?’ Here, our GAS experts share some fantastic tips.

Do your research

“It’s the most basic of preparation, but you’d be surprised how many candidates don’t actually research the company,” says Lucy Tobin, Resourcing Business Partner at GAS. “It’s the very first question most interviewers will ask, and if it’s clear a candidate hasn’t invested the time to understand what the company actually does, it’s also clear they won’t be proactive or conscientious in the role.” “If you’re new to the industry go beyond the very basics and research competitors, trends and challenges in the marketplace. It’ll really shine through when conversation starts flowing.”

“Social media profiles are particularly insightful for understanding the company culture. Here at GAS we launched an Instagram account <hyperlink through to IG> focused solely around employee content to show a ‘behind the scenes’ view of the GAS life. Lots of companies now do this, it’s great for understanding if you are a potential fit for the employer.”

Make a good impression

“No matter what position you are interviewing for, as a Recruiter I will always expect a candidate to be dressed smartly and look professional,” explains Victoria Walton, Head of Resourcing at GAS. “There’s nothing more disappointing than greeting a candidate only to discover they haven’t made the effort to look presentable. A large portion of the GAS workforce is sales, and a true salesperson will always start by selling themselves.”

“Be aware of your body language and greet with a friendly smile,” advises Victoria.

Quantify achievements 

“Avoid, as much as possible, sweeping statements,” cautions Natalie Carson, Resourcing Business Partner as GAS. “Being able to quantify your current or previous achievements shows you are proactive at tracking your success. Whilst this is crucial for sales roles, it’s also massively beneficial for our Back Office positions too,” explains Natalie. “For example, as a sales manager I want to hear that a candidate has managed a team of 10 salespeople to grow revenue by 50% in 12 months, rather than a broad statement such as ‘managed a sales team to grow company revenue’.” This concept can also be applied to HR, Marketing, Finance and Customer Service roles – by quantifying the particular KPIs for your job role.

Use the star technique when answering a question

“We all know it can be daunting when faced with questions requiring a situation and example, and it can be tempting to chatter on without a clear focus to your response. An easy way to avoid this is by using the STAR technique,” recommends Lucy.

Situation – Background information, context, when and where

Task – Describe the challenge and expectations. What needed to be done and why

Action – Elaborate your specific action. What did you do? How? What tools did you use?

Results – Explain the accomplishments, recognition, savings etc. Quantify.

Prepare questions

“If an interview has gone well, I will always expect a candidate to have questions”, says Natalie. “It shows they have truly grasped the role, responsibilities and expectations and are searching for clarity on exactly how they could deliver. If a candidate doesn’t have any questions, it does make me doubt their level of interest in a role. If not already covered, good questions to ask, include; how the vacancy has become available / progression opportunities within the business / what a typical day in <insert role> looks like / training and development opportunities.”

If you’re now feeling inspired to apply for a new role, visit our vacancy page <hyperlink> today!.

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Paul JohnsonGroup Financial Director

Paul Johnson is very much a home-grown talent.

He joined Great Annual Savings Group in its infancy, fresh from a youth career as a professional footballer with Hartlepool United.  He quickly established a reputation within the business and aced all required accountancy qualifications in the space of four years to become the Group’s Management Accountant.

Several successful projects later, Paul was promoted to Head of Finance.  When the former FD left GAS, he took on the mantle of the business’ most senior finance professional; boasting a string of incredible achievements all under the age of 30.

Quote:

“I have witnessed phenomenal growth at the Group over the many years I’ve worked here and I’m looking forward to guiding the Group into an exciting new chapter.”

Interesting fact:

Paul made his professional debut for Hartlepool United against Bournemouth in the Football League.  Some say Danny Ings still resides in his pocket to this day.