6. Preparing for the job interview

Chaired by a recruitment firm consultant or by a company manager or HR advisor, the interview is the key moment in a recruitment process. Whether you are applying for the position of marketing director, sales representative, IT technician or accountant, it's all about negotiation. Admittedly of a unique kind, but nonetheless a negociation, which, like any other, must be meticulously prepared: 70% of your success is at stake.

Key elements in your preparation

Review yourself: list your skills, strengths and what you are looking for. The clearer your ideas are, the more convincing you will be.

Know your weaknesses: too junior for the role, insufficient level of a foreign language, gaps in your CV, “flighty” career... These are all points you will have to explain and justify. Being aware of them and explaining yourself clearly will minimise them and refocus the discussion on your strengths.

Define your aims and motivations: this is essential. The consultant or manager has a position to fill. Types of responsibility you are looking for, business sector, company size, salary, readiness or desire to move, why you are interested in the position, what your assets are and the value you can add to make a success of it, etc. All this must be clear in your mind.

Train for it: managing your interview is easier when you have gone over your presentation of your career and motivations, and prepared for a number of questions – recruiters are often surprised to find that candidates are not prepared for the classic questions (qualities/weaknesses, three words that define you, greatest success, worst setback?) that are often asked precisely to assess a candidate's ability to take stock and analyse their situation. It is a good idea to go over your presentation in front of a video camera or a webcam in order to identify and correct your bearing, intonation and your “text”.

Be informed: if you don't know the name of the company, find out about the business sector in question. Try to get as clear an idea as possible of the company. Tip: the key words in an advert are often enough to identify the potential recruiter on Google or another search engine. Make the best possible use of the information in the job description. And if you are being head-hunted, make sure that the manner in which you arrive at the interview fits in with the recruiter’s prior knowledge.

Prepare your conclusion: “What do you think of my application?” On the spot, the recruiter will have to tell you the positive aspects of your application and any doubts she might have. Seize the moment to argue your case again and minimise the impact of a weakness. Question her about the next steps and the timetable.

Being prepared does not mean fitting a stereotype, but instead is a way of boosting your confidence, being more attentive to the responses of your interviewer, of better understanding her expectations, and therefore of ultimately being more persuasive, of being the person she will remember when she reviews the interviews. Now you're ready!

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