A successful interview: What can I do?

A successful interview: What can I do?

What can you do as an applicant to make sure you deliver your best in your next job interview? Showing your best version in only an hour is highly challenging. SCM Executives would like to help those who are considering taking the next career step by summarizing what we value the most in our candidates during an interview.


Approach it as a conversation. An interview should serve the purpose of jointly exploring (together with the interviewers) whether there is sufficient match between your expertise, future aspirations and what the vacant role & company can offer and is seeking. An interview is not an interrogation. It is not necessary to convince the interviewer that you are better than other candidates. Keep the common goal in mind: is there a match? Interviewers are well aware that we are all human, with flaws and challenges. Feel free to disclose what you did not succeed in and what you will probably struggle with in the future. Self-insight is highly valued. And needless to say, you should always express your enthusiasm about the role and company you are targeting.

Prepare questions. Bringing up questions regarding the vacant role and the company at hand is crucial. Posing questions does not only show your interest and curiosity about the (job) opportunity but also makes you appear critical and well-prepared. You are about to potentially enter a new environment with its unique challenges and characteristics. There are always topics you can further touch upon. If you feel that you have enough knowledge about the position itself, try to discover what the culture is like, how the people interact with each other within the company and what you could expect when coming on board. (Example: What are the growth opportunities within the organisation? What does my week look like? When will I be successful in the role? For instance, if the job description calls for the development of a strategy, you could ask questions like: what the timeline is, who do I work together with, what does the strategy have to cover?)

Optimize your answers. Try to give concise and straightforward answers without drifting away from the content of the questions addressed to you. Avoid too extensive answers with details that might be irrelevant. When giving answers you should use zero to little container words (e.g. entrepreneur, hands-on, builder, winning hearts & minds, etc.). These terms are overly used, vague and can be applied to a wide range of applicants. If you do wish to apply these words, make sure you provide examples that demonstrate the skills you are referring to.

Know your motivation. Prior to the interview think about what your motivation is for the future. It does not have to be something extraordinary, not everyone aspires to conquer the world. However, strong candidates have an advanced self-insight, therefore, they know what motivates them and in what circumstances they perform at their highest. Knowing what you would like to do in your next career step and knowing why you aim to pursue that path will make you appear determined and self-aware. Ask yourself – what gives you energy, how do you want to be challenged, what type of environment do you thrive in? (Example: “I get a lot of energy from the variety of my job and that I get to help others. Ideally, in my next position, I would spend 50% of my time on directly coaching my team and the other half of my time on managing the most valued clients of my company. I have the motivation to do so because I would like to pass on the knowledge I have built up so far and I would like to get acquainted with and handle new, key customers.”)


Lastly, do not be afraid to mention your personal life. Headhunters are intrigued to get to know the individual behind the applicant. At the end of the day, we want to be sure that the person we are interviewing will be the same character on the job.

Szonja Zsiros

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