Virtual Roundtable Event – Guidance for Interview Preparation

On Thursday 24th of August, Livingston James Group hosted the next in our Roundtable series. Hamilton Forth Consultant, Rachel Sim and Rutherford Cross Consultant, Christina McLean collaborated to bring an Interview Preparation training session and discussion group to the tech and finance communities.

The event was hosted via Teams and saw people from a range of backgrounds come together to discuss interview best practice and their experiences of job interviews. Software Engineers and Finance professionals alike shared both positive and negative experiences of their job searches, prompting great discussion around interview style preference and how to best prepare for interviews. Rachel shares some key insights from the event below.

The event started with the LJG Consultants discussing top tips to help candidates prepare for an interview. Advice ranged from knowing the role and organisation (using tools such as company websites, Companies House and Trustpilot), to practical advice such as planning travel and timings in advance to ensure you arrive promptly and in the right mindset. Attendees shared their thoughts on using review sites such as Trustpilot and Glassdoor when applying for a job directly (without the support of a Recruitment Consultant), as this allowed them to get an understanding of the company and culture prior to the interview. However, we would recommend checking how recent and relevant a review is, and using a first-stage interview to meet the team and see the workplace which can give you a better insight into an organisation than anonymous reviews.


Interview Types

The session then progressed to discuss interview types, allowing the Consultants to share the difference between Competency-based and CV-based interviews, and how candidates should approach these.

CV-based interviews were deemed more popular by the group, as they invite more fluid conversation and allow people to discuss more personal aspects such as hobbies and interests, helping to find areas of common interest with interviewers and build rapport.

Competency-based interviews were less popular with the group, with some suggesting it feels like studying for an exam; reviewing your experience and achievements in advance and utilising the STAR method to structure responses. With that in mind, we discussed tips on how to make sure your responses to Competency-based questions can sound natural, ensuring you don’t warp responses to fit pre-prepared answers.


Demonstrating your Reasons for Making a Move

Reasons for leaving were a key question for consideration. When someone is seeking a new job, it is important that whatever the reason, the candidate does not appear to be too negative about previous employers. Approaching negative contributors with a positive spin can be key to ensuring interviewers respond well to your positive mindset; for example, if you had to take on extra responsibilities because the team was understaffed, be sure to say how you benefited from getting exposure to a range of tasks and challenges rather than saying you were overworked.

Equally, your motivations for putting yourself forward for a particular role are key to demonstrating your interest and commitment to an opportunity. These should not be based on higher pay or benefits that can be offered by many organisations, but rather tailored to the specific role and organisation; focusing on intrinsic motivations, values and interests.


Testing & Assessments

Additional methods of testing such as Psychometric Testing, Aptitude Tests and Technical Assessments were also discussed. Whilst less common, these are worthy of consideration and are often utilised by organisations when deliberating between two equally strong candidates. These tests can be difficult to prepare for as there is often no right or wrong answer, however you can get find practice tests online to give you an insight into the format and the type of questions that may come up.


Reducing Interview Fatigue

Our discussion closed with final questions and the sharing of personal interview experiences and advice. One challenge that active job seekers highlighted was interview fatigue caused by lengthy processes and being in processes with multiple organisations simultaneously. Although preparation is required for each individual organisation, demanding research and time to understand the organisation and role, there are ways that candidates can try to deter interview fatigue. Working closely with a Recruitment Consultant who truly understands your career ambitions, and who will prioritise which processes and roles you dedicate your time to, is one of those ways. You can also do a thorough review and analysis of your career and achievements to date which should be applicable to all similar roles. Most importantly, speaking to friends and family can help you destress before and after an interview, and taking time for yourself prior to an interview will ensure you go in with a clear and positive mindset.


We thoroughly enjoyed discussing this valuable topic and hope it will contribute to future success in individual job hunts. Thank you very much to everyone who came along and contributed to the discussion.

For advice about your job search, or to attend future events, please contact [email protected] or [email protected].

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