As the count down continues, Oliver Hansard and other Catalyst Thinking Partners have been adding to the ’12 days of Job Hunting Tips for the New Year’.

Following on from Roy Allan’s blog on ‘Practise – and how it is an essential part of your preparation for any job hunt’, it’s now my turn to share with you the importance of ‘being up to date’ as you start to prepare for any jobs interviews you might have; and share how this can give you the edge as a candidate.

I am sharing my experience of being both the interviewer and the interviewee, the approach that I personally take, and some amazing lessons learned.

Let me start with the lessons learned, as you won’t quite believe them but yes it does happen….  Let me set the scene for you; it is about 15 years ago now and I am interviewing a candidate for a very senior role in a well-known global Company – a very famous Brand.

I am doing the interviews with an Executive Committee member; we have shortlisted the candidates together and we are looking forward to the interview.  The candidate arrives, clearly very experienced and polished. However just one problem – he goes on to answer our questions as though we are a different company (actually one of our competitors!), with all the wrong facts and supporting information; and – yes, it got even worse – the information he had on the sector and challenges was very out of date!

Amazingly something similar happened a few years ago; similar scenario with another very experienced candidate who unfortunately had clearly not done their homework, as the Company I was working for then had made the headlines in the press on a daily basis that week.  Their information was out of date and they were clearly thrown when asked about it all.

Neither experience left a great impression; both the candidates soon realised that they had got their preparation very wrong, and were not up to date on the information they needed to support the interview.  Neither was able to talk around key aspects of the role and remit on an informed basis.  You never want to find yourself in this position !

So it doesn’t matter what level you are operating at – it’s critical to be as up to date as you can be:

  • Go through the Company website in detail, look through their latest announcements too.
  • Look at the biographies of the people you will be meeting, and the leadership of the organisation, look at recent changes.
  • Read the last annual report; look at the Company strategy, performance and key initiatives.
  • Search the internet / media for the latest information about the Company, make sure you look at the press coverage
  • Read more widely around the sector and competitors, what is the latest news on these.

And most importantly – on the day of the interview – check the Company website & the internet for any news that might be ‘hot off the press’.

Finally – enjoy the interview/s, you are so well prepared and up to date that you should be able to have a great discussion, plus have some amazing topical questions of your own for the interviewers !


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