How To Effectively Prepare For An Interview

Kat Heague our consultant managing the role
Author: Kat Heague
Posting date: 4/7/2020 9:11 AM
If you’re preparing for an interview, video or otherwise, it’s important to think beyond Googling ‘common interview questions’ and scanning the company’s website. It’s important to make a great first impression and by preparing properly, you’re in a better position to achieve this. Plus, you’ll feel more confident and will be able to give more convincing answers that will help prove why you’re the perfect fit for the role.

With that in mind, here are our recommendations for how to best prepare for an interview:

Find out what type of interview it is


Even if a company isn’t working entirely remotely, it’s likely you’ll face a variety of interviews throughout a their application process. Most processes last between two and three stages of interviews, any many vary in how these are conducted. They could be:

Face to Face – Expect these to last between 45 minutes and 2 hours. The questions will be likely be strengths- or competency-based.
Phone – This is often used early in the process, we’d expect these to last approximately 30 minutes and are designed to get a feel for your skillset and experience.
Video – These are becoming increasingly popular with employers, and can be live or pre-recorded. They tend to last around 30 minutes.
Assessment Centres – You’ll attend these with other candidates and take part in a variety of tasks presentations, team exercises and psychometric tests lasting a full day.

Get to know the company 


Don’t just look at their About Us page. Read about them, their clients and their products or services. This will help you learn about what they do but also learn how they see themselves as business and what they feel makes them different from their competitors. This will help your interviewer understand you ‘get’ them and understand their business.

Research the team 


As well as getting to know the company, we’d recommend taking a look at your interviewer’s LinkedIn profile and seeing what they’ve posted and where they’ve come from. Also, take a look at the “Meet the team” pages on the website to gain an insight into who you may be meeting throughout your process. Glassdoor is a good place to go for company reviews but take them as a guide not fact as they’re anonymous reviews by current or former employees. 

Prepare your own questions


It’s likely your interviewer will ask what questions you have for them. This is a great opportunity for you to get the information you need to figure out if this is a job you really want and can see yourself doing. Think about what you really want to know about the position and the company. Things to think about could be: What are the biggest challenges in this position? What would be the expectations of me 3/6/12 months in? Could you describe what a typical day is like in this position?

Not only does this help you build a bigger picture of what this job would look like, your questions show a deeper engagement in the role and company, much more so than asking basic questions such as “What’s the salary? What is the holiday allowance? What are the working hours?”. 

It’s perfectly normal to write down your questions and take them into your interview to avoid forgetting any questions you wanted to know the answers to, so don’t feel as though you can’t do this. 

Re-read the job description


Spend time highlighting the responsibilities in the job description and thinking how your experience equips you to meet these. Try to prepare concrete examples from your past that back up why you’d be great for the role. How have you dealt with challenges or what successes have you had that you can link to how you’d be successful in this role? Try to come up with at least 5 solid examples or stories to talk through in the interview.  

Write down questions you’re likely to be asked


There are some questions you can almost guarantee on being asked such as “tell me about yourself” or “what is your biggest weakness”. It’s also likely you’ll be asked questions around your interest in the role and the company and why you applied. Be prepared to talk about numbers, in particular any significant impact that your previous projects have made on a business. 

For each question you think of jot down a few notes or bullet points to build upon instead of writing out an entire answer and trying to remember it word for word. 

Practice saying your answers


Practising your answers out loud and looking in the mirror will help you clarify your answers and make you more comfortable during the interview. Try doing a mock interview with a friend or family member to help polish your delivery and boost your confidence in what you’re saying. 

Dress accordingly


Figure out what to wear to the interview by asking what the office dress code is before the interview. If the business has a business casual or business dress code, it’s appropriate to wear a suit for males and females to dress in smart business attire. 

Make sure your outfit and shoes are clean and your bag/briefcase is emptied of any rubbish and packed with interview essentials: pens, a notepad, a copy of your CV, list of questions, mints, business card. These may seem obvious, but employers do take note and still make judgements based on how you present yourself. 
If you’re looking to take the next step in your career, or if you’re looking for help with your next hiring process, we can help. Take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more. 

Related blog & news

With over 10 years experience working solely in the Data & Analytics sector our consultants are able to offer detailed insights into the industry.

Visit our Blogs & News portal or check out the related posts below.

Three Years Of GDPR: The Evolution Of Data Protection

Since its inception in 1991, the World Wide Web – or the internet – has grown immeasurably, with its capabilities exceeding the expectations of anyone who witnessed its implementation only 30 years ago. Now, it’s hard to think of a world without it; where would we be without unlimited knowledge at the touch of a button, the ability to maintain friendships with people halfway across the world or cat videos? Of course, the internet isn’t always a positive place. As the popularity of the online world grew, there also became an increased risk, particularly to our identities and our money.  In 1998, to combat the mismanagement of data both online and offline, Parliament passed the Data Protection Act. Compiled of eight different principles, from fair and lawful processing to disallowing data transfers from outside of the EU, this law aimed to help reduce the risk of data mismanagement and data breaches, while holding the power to fine and prosecute those who didn’t comply.  In January 2012, the European Commission wanted to take these laws one step further. As we began to enter a digital-first age, where the online world began to blend seamlessly with our daily lives, questions around whether the Data Protection Act of 1998 was robust enough to protect EU citizens.  On May 25th, 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was introduced. Not only did this new law enforce tougher rules around data protection, including the protection of genetic data and biometrics, but it made business data collection far more transparent. For the first time, internet users were able to see exactly how and why their data was being used, and they were given the autonomy to opt-out of giving away sensitive data. Additionally, consumers now have the right to request ‘to be forgotten’, with all stored data being wiped from a business’ database with the click of a button.  As we edge closer to the three-year anniversary of the implementation of GDPR, we look at how the new laws have impacted both consumers and businesses, for better and for worse.  Consumer trust Both sides of the coin tell a very different story when it comes to consumer trust and GDPR. The general consensus amongst businesses across the EU is that GDPR has greatly improved consumer trust, with 73 per cent reporting that the regulations have notably improved data security. Unfortunately, this sentiment isn’t shared by consumers.  84 per cent feel that GDPR hasn’t been taken seriously by businesses, and the level of security they feel when giving data to certain sectors varies hugely. While financial services, such as banks, have gained nearly half of consumers’ trust, hospitality, for example, are lagging behind with not even a quarter of consumers happy with the level of security.  But, looking at data breaches that have occurred since the implementation of GDPR, this level of dissatisfaction and worry from consumers comes as no surprise. From 280 million Microsoft users’ data being left unprotected to over a million of Mashable’s staff and consumer data being leaked by hackers, GDPR hasn’t necessarily solved the problems it was set out to manage, and consumers are concerned.  Consumer control Despite the worry of continued breaches and hacks, consumers do feel however that GDPR has improved the control they have over their own data. From being able to opt-in instead of having to opt-out, to having greater choice over the information given away through cookies, consumers feel much happier to be able to walk away from the brands they don’t trust and/or have no interest in.  Education around Data privacy  GDPR, since its inception, has been something that has eluded many. Filled with jargon and lacking much in the way of accessible educational assets, consumers – while aware of their data concerns – are still unsure of how to protect themselves against hacks or breaches. For example, only 14 per cent of internet users encrypt private conversations and only a third change their passwords regularly.  While GDPR has undoubtedly been a positive step forward for businesses and consumers alike, it is clear there is room for great improvement. It is expected that as the world continues to evolve into a digital-first society, especially post-COVID as many of us move online for good in our working lives, and the need for much-improved data security becomes paramount, GDPR laws and business compliance will need to continue to evolve and improve and fast.  If you're looking for your next opportunity, or to build out your Data & Analytics team, we can help. Take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more. 

365 Days of The Dialogue

It’s a year to the day, that we launched The Dialogue, Harnham’s LinkedIn LIVE series focussing on the challenges the data & analytics industry faces, hiring, career growth and a myriad of other technical discussions. Episode One is where it all began. Featuring the Data Society’s Nisha Iyer and Nupur Neti. Harnham’s Tim Jonas was in the host chair as they discussed their collaboration with OurStreets, on a real-time grocery-sourcing app, and how you can continue to develop and improve your data knowledge while in lockdown. Since then we’ve gone on to run a further 31 events, in multiple languages, with over 150,000+ viewers joining across the globe; and more than 2,000 of you asked a question to our panellists! There have been some amazing guests joining us in the virtual studio – you can catch them all here – but I wanted to pick out a couple of personal favourites from the past 12 months: Data, Rest & Relaxation  Like many people across the globe, my lockdown led to more visceral dreams. We’d been talking about it in Harnham Team conversations, with friends and reading various articles into why. So, we wanted to get to the bottom of it. In this LIVE, with McElla Pappas and Rockwell Shah, CEO of the million-downloaded Sleep App PZIZZ, we took your questions about the science and Data behind our sleeping patterns during the lockdown.  Hiring and Being Hired in Data Science If you don’t follow Eric Webber on Linkedin I suggest you do so now, for brilliant, daily insight into the minds of hiring managers. This LIVE was responsible for around 100 questions from the audience and held together by our very own LinkedIn LIVE Pro, Jenni Kavanagh. The title says it all. The ‘Thank You’ messages we received off the back of the advice we gave out, were truly heart-warming. Positive impact at its best! A Career in Data This career Q&A with Karla Guerra and Amy Gershkoff Bolles, PhD, GM & CDO was utterly fascinating. Amy has played a key role at a number of the world's biggest companies including eBay, Ancestry, WPP and at the time of filming the LIVE at Bit.ly. On top of that, she was also Head of Media Planning & Analytics at Obama for America and taught at UC Berkeley for three years! This made her uniquely positioned to discuss what a modern career in Data looks like, from the grassroots to senior leadership! Inspiring stuff! FinTech Firsts & A New Generation When I heard we’d managed to get Mary Kemi Agbesanwa to feature on The Dialogue, I was very excited. And, I was not disappointed. There is no wonder that she was selected for Innovate Finance's Women in Fintech Powerlist 2020-21, McKinsey Next Generation Women Leader 2020 and No.1 on EMpower and Yahoo Finance’s Future Leader List 2020! Alongside host Conor Larkin (and his daffodils), she gave incredible insight into the industry that is set to change rapidly over the next few years, and what this means for a new generation of Millennial and Gen Z professionals entering the workplace. Staying Data Secure While Working Flexibly Strawberries and Cream. Collymore and Roy (niche reference for the late 90's Nottingham Forest fans out there!). Batman and Robin. Great duos. But, not a patch on Ryan Collins, Head of DevSecOps at Upvest and Peter Schroeter, when it came to talking about Data Security. So admired were their backgrounds, they came back together the following month by popular demand. Rumours of a Podcast are still just rumours at this point sadly… Special Mention… The US Data & Analytics Salary Guide Launch We’ve been really lucky with almost zero technical hitches but how do you launch the biggest Data & Analytics Salary Guide in the world? Live of course! What happens when you do things live? Things go wrong...Shout out to Sam Jones and McElla Pappas for being total pro’s when the power went out in Stephanie Brooks, Bay Area neighbourhood, literally as we pushed the button to go LIVE! Lastly, I just want to take a moment to say a few thank yous: First up, to all our viewers and those that have engaged with these LIVE sessions. We’ve been so grateful for your questions, comments and feedback. You make these sessions what they are and as long as you keep watching, we'll keep doing them!Next, to all our guests from the past 12 months, who gave up their time for free, to share their knowledge of the Data & Analytics industry with our audience. This was often early mornings or late nights to accommodate different time zones, we are indebted to you for the success of The Dialogue.And, who can forget the multiple members of the Harnham Team? They worked tirelessly to get panellists, hosted the sessions and kept their cool as we pushed them LIVE to a Global Audience. Hat Tip to Hannah and Tony at LinkedIn for hooking us up, as one of the first recruiters in EMEA to get access to the LIVE platform.A final special mention must go to the man behind the scenes, that makes these events possible, Ben Jones. Never seen on camera (yet!) but his hard work in the production booth is the glue that keeps it all together and makes them run so well! If you’d like to take part in a LIVE or have a story/angle that you think we should cover – feel free to get in touch and connect directly here. Here’s to another 12 months and I promise you there is something special in the pipeline for later in 2021!

RELATED Jobs

recently viewed jobs