Interviews can be stressful and nerve wracking, but they don’t have to be! With the right tips and with practice, they are a great opportunity to build connections and leave a strong first impression. To help calm your nerves and learn how to ace your interview, we chatted with our Talent Acquisition team to find out exactly what they look for when conducting interviews with potential hires.
What should you include your cover letter and resume/CV to get an interview?
Tailor your cover letter and resume/CV to the job posting. This will help your application stand out from other applications. Use relevant and tailored information that tie in with the job posting; this applies to your resume and cover letter. It is important to specify the job position and field of interest; include relevant keywords.
In your resume/CV, list your achievements/experiences from strongest to weakest, backed up with facts and figures. As a rule of thumb, three to five bullet points give a clear and concise summary. Resumes need to be easy to scan; make good use of white space so that every word and line listed serves a purpose. Unless you have a very long history of work experience (20-30 years), resumes can be condensed to two pages at most. Have multiple templates and versions that you can customize and switch out, depending on the role you’re applying for.
What makes an interview candidate stand out?
Be curious. Don’t be afraid to dig deeper about the role you’re interviewing for. Ask key questions about the role details, objectives, the team structure, work environment, and anything else you’d want to know to make this your dream job. Interviews are two-sided. You want to know if this is a company you want to grow with; we want to know how you fit in this role and with the team.
“When a candidate can provide examples of situations in which they have shown openness, an excellent ability to adapt in order to solve problems, this is a strong asset that sets them apart.”
– Alina Souralay, Talent Acquisition Business Partner
Show your passion. What will differentiate you from other candidates is showing a genuine passion for your field of expertise. Don’t use exaggerated responses without being clear or having concrete example to support. Use your strong communication skills to go in-depth with your answers and use concise, relevant examples. This will help to set you apart and makes it easy for your interviewer to visualise you in the role.
Are there any instant dealbreakers during an interview?
Practice active listening. A person who does not listen and interrupts during an interview would not be retained in the selection process. At CIMA+, we look for individuals who are open, with great communication skills. An essential part of communication is taking the time to actively listen and understand one another.
“Personally, I don’t have many instant dealbreakers. I believe people should be given the chance to be heard, rather than immediately judged on one criterion or instance.”
– Ven Thambithurai, Talent Acquisition Business Partner
Display genuine interest in the role you are applying for. When a candidate uses generic responses and doesn’t ask specific questions about the role or the team, it fails to show why you want to join CIMA+.
What are your top interview tips?
- Prepare for your interview by learning about the company, read the job posting, and prepare a set of questions beforehand.
- Arrive early for your interview.
- Take your time to think. Taking a moment to process and understand the question before responding is normal and welcome!
- Be clear and concise in your communication.
- Pay attention to your body language.
- Be yourself. Don’t pretend to be an image of who you think you should be to get the role.
- In panel interviews, try to connect with each person in a meaningful way.
- Be confident but not arrogant; interviews require selling yourself. Provide specific examples of your accomplishments.
- Be relevant. Make sure what you’re talking about is pertinent to the role and backed by strong examples.
- Be honest and transparent in your answers to avoid misunderstandings or creating unrealistic expectations.
How should candidates follow up after interviews?
Show that you’re serious about joining our team. Send your interviewer(s) a short and simple note a few days after your interview. The note should include gratitude for their time, summarize what you can bring to the role, and reiterate your interest once again. Show confidence in your follow-up.