1. How informal/formal should you be? Should you look to build a rapport or look to appear more 'professional'?
This one is about getting the balance right. Look to build rapport throughout, but building rapport doesn't have to be about being informal. I think while having good rapport, be aware of not slipping into being overly familiar with the interviewer(s) and maintain professional language (e.g. not swearing). This will allow you to be both professional and maintain good rapport. Don’t forget to show your personality.
2. Can you provide any advice on the dress code for a social media manager role. Often the role is casual so I find it hard to gauge how to dress without being unprofessional. If a suit is overkill, what about if the business is a law or accountancy firm?
It’s not so much about the job title you’re interviewing for, but the company itself. For a SMM for a large B2B or corporate company, I would definitely recommend wearing a suit or similar for your interview. However, media companies and start-ups tend to be much more relaxed in their dress code. Have a look at social media, there’s normally photos of the company on a day-to-day basis, which will show you normal office attire. However, even if those working there are wearing shorts and flip-flops, you are not an employee yet – still wear a casual shirt/chinos or a blouse and smart bottoms, just don’t be too corporate/suited and booted.
3. If you don't have a lot of experience in the industry sector you're applying for, but have the skills, how do you manage preparing for questions about your experience?
If you do not have experience, think about if you have had exposure to that particular industry in your current role? This could be a good way to demonstrate your understanding. How could you demonstrate your knowledge/research on the industry? What cross overs are there with the current industry you work in? Also, there are benefits of not being from the industry- new ideas!
4. What should we put first when asked in a interview for a senior position; to show team spirit or stand out as a leader? What do they expect from us?
Oh this is a hard one because, it’s totally dependent on the role/company. Thorough research on the brand and the person should help give a guide for this. However I would personally go with your beliefs on this one – leadership style is unique to the individual. What you don’t want to do is tell them what you think they want to hear, join the company and then find that the leadership style you have doesn’t match what they are looking for. Remember – the role has to match your expectations as much as you have to match what they’re looking for. If these don’t align, it simply won’t work.
5. Any tips on how you can end/close an interview to make a good impression?
This is totally dependent on the role/client you're interviewing with. For sales roles, it’s imperative you finish the interview by attempting to ‘close the deal’. That’s ultimately what a sales role is so asking questions like – "what are the next steps", "when can I expect to hear from you" and "what reservations have you about bringing me back for a next stage". Or even, "when do you want me to come back for the next stage" or "when do I start?" - but always ask in a respectful if not a little cheeky manner. Other roles however, this can come across a bit strong and actually leave a bad taste in the client's mouth so instead asking questions like, "is there anything you’d like me to go over in more detail", "what else would you like to know?" These are good questions to ensure that when you leave the client feels like they have all the information they need. Finally, always thank them for their time and shake their hand at the end of every interview! Smiles all round!
6. How would you recommend to overcome nerves at an interview, if you've been out of the game for a while?
This is always a difficult one to tackle because everyone has different ways to help with the nerves! Top tips would be:
- Know your CV and experience – confidence in what you do automatically eases the nerves as you won’t be scared about not knowing questions or not knowing how to do things.
- Be fully prepped before you go in – again it comes back to the confidence thing!
- Remember that the client wants you to do well in an interview. They’re not big, bad and scary - they’re human too!
7. How critical should you be of a company’s website/social media pages?
As we addressed in the video, critical is perhaps the wrong word in this instance as you don’t want to be negative in any way – remember you’re potentially meeting with the person in charge of the website social media pages and they’ve worked very hard on them! My advice is to avoid negative language, ask them to talk you through existing marketing plans and only make suggestions if you have relevant examples of other ways that work. If you don’t have anything positive to say, don’t say anything at all!
8. What's important to focus on when preparing for a competency based interview?
We’re seeing more and more that competency based questions are not being asked as much, however they are still in circulation. Our advice in this instance, is to think about the last couple of campaigns you’ve run, be they media, sales or marketing for example. Think about every step of the process from start to finish for each campaign –where you were involved and what you did. Then you are fully prepped on any example/competency based questions, without sounding too rehearsed!
9. How do you win a client over with a specific focus on image, and not just skill-set?
Image is something to consider when interviewing. I think the first thing to consider is body language. Be positive in your body language; smile, be open in your body language (no crossed arms etc.) and show you are listening. The other part of image is what you wear. Important you find out their dress code before the first interview so you match this - it is not always appropriate to wear a suit. Keep it both professional and something you feel confident in.
10. Is it a good idea to mimic the employer's body language?
It's OK to mimic a few things the interviewer does but try to let this happen naturally. You don’t want them to see you are thinking about doing it and actively copying them.
11. Should you prepare lots of examples that are relevant to the questions asked?
Yes prepare examples beforehand, however try not to sound scripted. Also if there's not an opportunity to use your prepared examples, don’t try squeeze them in! This won’t demonstrate good listening