Preparing for an interview can be a daunting task but it’s an essential part of the interview process. Meredith Watts, content marketer at Creare, a leading SEO company, offers up some top tips and trade secrets.
You’ve persevered with the dreaded final year job search and managed to bag yourself an interview at a top online marketing company – the date is set and the interview’s looming. It’s suddenly got rather serious. But don’t panic; check out these top tips to help you prepare and (hopefully) win the day.
Start with the basics
There’s that well-known saying, ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ but when it comes to interviews, first impressions count. You need to pull out all the stops: dress smartly, look presentable and shine those shoes!
Before the day of the interview make sure you know exactly where it is and plan your journey in advance. Don’t take any chances. Always try to arrive around 15 mins early as this gives you time to compose yourself and check your notes one last time. When you meet the interviewer – regardless of how nervous you feel – make sure you have a confident smile on your face and offer a firm handshake.
Research is key
You want to walk into that interview feeling confident and in control – the best way of doing this is to know your stuff! Remember – the interviewer isn’t expecting you to be a fully fledged expert when it comes to online marketing as many companies will offer you full training on the job, but what they do need to know is that you have the drive and the enthusiasm to take on this new challenge and progress within the industry.
- Research the company. When it comes to the research, you should start with the company; you need to have a good understanding of their business, their main aims, their plans for the future and how you will fit into their culture. Don’t just use their website – dig a little deeper and see what else you can find out about them.
- Research the industry. Remember, you’re not expected to know about every little corner of the industry but you need to show your prospective employers that you’re keen to learn and that you’ve taken the initiative to find out all you can about their line of work before your interview.
Strategies, strategies, strategies…
When it comes to online marketing it’s all about providing your clients with the best possible strategy, one that is effective, up to date and above all successful. So even if you’re a beginner taking your first steps into the world of online marketing, do a little investigating and put together some examples of marketing strategies that have really worked. A good place to start is looking at companies like Ikea, Red Bull and Relentless.
Your interview checklist:
Once you’ve completed your sector and company research, you can start preparing for your interview . Here are some important things to consider before your big day:
- Know your own CV. You may well be asked to talk through your previous employment or what you have been doing over the last few years so make sure you’re prepared for this question and don’t get flustered, you can always take a copy of your CV with you.
- If you have a portfolio or any examples of previous work then always take these with you; as well as allowing your prospective employer an insight into your talent it will also show you have confidence in your ability.
- Strengths and weaknesses. This is something that nearly every interviewer will ask so make sure you have your answer(s) prepared. Try to be original and honest with your answers and avoid those clichés – ‘Working too hard is my weakness and I’m also a perfectionist…’
- Always prepare questions to ask your prospective employer at the end of the interview. Enquiring about the company or the job role shows that you’re intuitive and not afraid to ask important questions when the opportunity arrives.
- Remember, the interview process isn’t just about impressing your prospective employers – it’s also their chance to impress you too and show you why their company is the one to work for.
What your interviewer expects to see and hear
The world of online marketing is a constantly changing, so you need to present yourself as versatile – the kind of person who can adapt to change. You need to show you’re always eager to take on new challenges and that you have the drive and the determination to see things through to the end.
When you walk into that interview room you need to be honest, be clear about what motivates you and where you want this job to take you. If you’re not sure what path you want to take in terms of progression, be honest and say so; after all your immediate goal is to gain the knowledge and the skills required for online marketing.
The beauty of online marketing is that it’s a dynamic industry – constantly evolving and building momentum – so for a newbie entering the industry there are many doors of opportunity. Nothing is set in stone: as you delve deeper into the industry you will begin to see the specialist areas that you excel in and you can choose the path you want to follow.
Thanks for your feedback,
Warwick Careers blog team