How to ace that job interview

Nervous about your upcoming job interview? silicon.com's expert panel gives you all the advice you need. Here are some tips from a CIO, headhunter and brand consultant
Written by Silicon.com , Contributor
Nervous about your upcoming job interview? silicon.com's expert panel gives you all the advice you need. Q: I have an interview next week that could lead to promotion to a senior role in the IT department. How do I convince the panel I'm the best candidate for the role? Tessa Hood, personal brand consultant:
Hopefully, you can show at the interview how you have been challenged by difficult tasks, managed them efficiently and had great success in implementing them. It is very easy for a company to forget the efforts that individual people have made during their employment and if you can show the challenges you have met this will provide a strong argument for your willingness to do your best for the company.

You may be asked, "Why should we promote you?" Be prepared for this, and if it isn't asked why not be bold and ask "May I tell you why you should promote me?" And have the answers - clearly, distinctly and empathetically.

Also - dress for the job you want, not the job you've got. As this is a good step up, make sure that you look the part. Is your personal brand reflecting the brand of the company and will you be a great ambassador for it? Remember, this isn't just for the interview but for consistently moving onwards and upwards.

The Naked CIO:
The best thing is to speak honestly about your strengths and where you want to develop. Showing that you wish to improve in areas is much better than professing to be an expert in everything. Try to go into an interview with specific accomplishments that demonstrate key leadership elements such as communication, challenging decisions and consensus building. Do not fabricate - trust is imperative as a leader and starting out fabricating your qualifications is a very slippery slope. Show your passion and energy - they are just as important as hard skills. I know when I interview I look for this ahead of paper-based qualifications for certain roles.

Always focus on what you have done. Be careful about speaking in the theoretical if you don't have experience backing it up. When you use words such as 'we', qualify it with what your role in that 'we' was.

Above all learn from the interview and listen to the questions they are asking. Always answer the question directly - I hate it when people use questions to talk about what they want to say.

Cathy Holley of headhunters Boyden Global Executive Search:
First off: Turn up on time. Don't forget to smile. And dress the part.

Now that that's out of the way: We are in recession. Business leaders are less willing than usual to take risks. Getting it wrong in this climate can mean certain death rather than a small dip in profits. A lower risk threshold is now permeating virtually all recruitment campaigns (internal or external).

At the interview, from the moment you submit your resume, to the moment you leave the interview room, you must leave no doubt that hiring you would be the low-risk option. More than ever, the interviewers will probably only consider you if you can demonstrate that you have done whatever the role entails, before. Your resume must closely match the role requirements.

You must invest time in in-depth preparation. Be prepared to give evidence (save the theory for your book) of key competencies which all senior IT roles require (commercial acuity, stakeholder management, influencing, leadership, governance, and inevitably now, cost-reduction and performance management).

Demonstrate self-awareness and openness. Be prepared to discuss your strengths and weaknesses. Lack of energy and passion is one of the main reasons candidates are turned down.

Be ready to explain why you would add more value in the new role than in your current role (they've already got you… why promote you and pay you more?)

Have really good questions for them. If you don't get the job, they owe you sensible, in-depth feedback and maybe some coaching to ensure you're in with a shot next time round.

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