Finally, after tonnes of applications and hours of trawling job sites, you have found your dream job. Not only that, but you’ve been invited for an interview. Congratulations!
But now the hard work really starts. No matter how well qualified, how experienced or how charismatic you think you are, if you don’t invest some time into preparing for this job interview you might as well not go at all. Competition for good PM jobs is fierce, and if you don’t do your homework properly, you can bet that one of the other candidates will, which will put you on the back foot from the start even if you are a better match for the role.
Here are some top tips for acing your interview and giving yourself the best chance of securing your dream project management job.
· Investigate the company
You might well know what the project is you’re applying for, but do you really understand who the company is? Do you know who they are owned by, or who they own? Are there other branches to the business that you need to know about? Going for a job in an area where you have a general interest or some sort of background is much better than just going for a project management job in any old field. The employer will want to see that you are interested in their industry in general, as well as interested in running projects.
In these modern times, there is absolutely no excuse for not knowing the basics about the company who is interviewing you. Google holds the key to a wealth of knowledge on the subject, and whilst you may not need to know their precise share point index on the day, or be able to recite the names and dates of their previous CEO’s in order, you should at least have a good understanding about what they do, who they are and some of their major achievements.
· Understand the job
Job titles vary greatly from one company to another. What might be called a ‘programme assistant’ in one job description could be a ‘project executive’ in another. The easiest way to get your head around your future role is to ask for a detailed job description and person specification. Take some time to match your skills and abilities to each of the attributes listed in the person spec, and make sure you understand what you will be doing day to day so you can answer their questions fully and confidently in interview.
· Plan some questions
Without fail, every job interview ends with an opportunity for you to ask questions. Looking dumbstruck is not likely to leave the interviewers with a wholly positive impression of you, so prepare some questions to ask at this point that will show your understanding of the job and your general interest in their company. Avoid asking about salary and leave entitlement; save this for when you get the job offer!
· Dress to impress
It goes without saying you need to look the part. A suit is always a winner in an interview situation, but if you are in any doubt, call the HR department beforehand and ask about company dress code.
· Arrive early
Aim to be there at least 15 minutes early. This will give you some leeway in case there is traffic or some other hold up on route. If you are going to be late, call the interviewer and let them know.