Interview Tips – How to succeed in an interview

Maxwell Bond are often asked what interview advice or interview tips do we give to candidates to ensure they’re more likely to succeed in an interview. It’s all too easy to apply for roles now that we frequently find that a lot of people go through heart ache sending their CV to lots of “black holes”; when they finally get an interview request, they believe just turning up will get them the role…. They believe they’ve already passed the hardest bit and think “the person must like me so I’ll get the role by just turning up, right?”.

I cannot stress this enough; the interview is the most important stage of the job search. It’s your chance to sell yourself whilst; more importantly, finding out if it’s a company you want to work for and deciding if this opportunity aligns with your GOALS.

IF you want to succeed, you need to remember your competing against other people and you need to be a cut above the rest.

Maxwell Bond have a lot of success with our IT and Digital candidates by following these 6 interview tips;

1)      Prepare, research and do your homework! We see so many people fail interviews and missing opportunities they really want through lack of preparation, turning up is not enough!!! Research the website, look at news articles, use social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, even Instagram to see common connections, beliefs, hobbies to create commonality. Think about your answers to questions; stating you’re “a quick learner” or “passionate” about X, Y & Z, with no examples of where you’ve learnt quickly or picked up the skills in your own time because you’re “passionate” is not good enough. Actions always speak louder than words!

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2)      First impressions count! We all know the saying don’t judge a book by its cover but in interviews, your first 2 minutes’ count massively for or against you. Think about your appearance. I’m not just talking about your clothes; posture, energy, enthusiasm, eye contact, tone of voice, firm hand shake, all count! This also applies for your social media accounts, CV format and your initial communication via email, phone calls etc. Put some effort in, you’ll be surprised what you get back!

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3)      Create Commonality! When interviewing make sure you still focus on the Human element; Human interaction is still the main influencing factor why people are hired. People love to belong and work with similar minded people. This can be shared beliefs, values, similar career path, known colleagues, university, children going to the same school, similar events you attend, the list goes on. Research your interviewee and create that commonality immediately!

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4)      Remember you’re in competition, go the extra mile! If you really want a new role or want to work for a business or a person, go the extra mile as 9/10 of your competition wont. We’ve seen people achieve “dream roles” over someone with a better technical aptitude because of their attitude. We’d love to hear your best examples of when someone or YOU went the extra mile to successfully find a new role.

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5)      Ask questions throughout the interview, don’t just wait until the end! We recommend having a list of questions prepared as a bare minimum!!! However, to really put you ahead, you need to ask intelligent questions throughout the interview. Not only does it show interest, understanding and helps with engagement, it shows that you’re listening and “get it”. We hear all the time; “x candidate really “gets it” because they’ve asked intelligent questions. People love to talk about themselves, get them speaking!

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6)      Don’t put all your eggs in 1 basket and think the interview is all or nothing! You will never know what opportunities can become available now or in the future. We’ve recently had a candidate offered a better role, they didn’t know were available because it was better suited to both parties and meant a £10k increase! I’ve also recently had a new client win from an interview that happened to me 6 years ago!!! You will never know what’s around the corner, conduct yourself professionally and with integrity no matter the circumstances and things tend to work out in the long run


These Interview tips will help you improve your success ratio whilst interviewing but remember your attitude is the critical success factor in your success. Many people have failed on their first, second, third attempt but still succeeded. The best example for me is Sylvester Stallone. Stallone failed over 2000 times to get Rocky up and running and we all know what a success that is now. Watch here for the full story on his journey and for further inspiration.

Recruitment isn’t broken; you’re just not using it right!

I’ve recently come across numerous articles and updates on LinkedIn calling out recruiters for poor practices, bad or outright rude behaviour. It’s comical when the usual suspects jump on the comments trying to justify some of the more ridiculous practices. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe all LinkedIn updates calling out recruiters are correct but on most I shake my head, think to myself how is this still happening, who’s training these people and then crack on making a difference. Now I’m not talking about the ones that are human errors, genuine mistakes or even juniors that don’t know better. Overall, I feel we should at least listen to our audience, see if we need to adapt and if so, look into how we can prevent this happening again i.e. moving forward.

“A smart man learns by his mistakes, a wise man learns from the mistakes of others.”

That being said, I’ve recently noticed a comment that “all recruitment is broken”. This was from someone who uses recruiters to hire people into their business and that comment couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, not every single recruitment business out there is great and let’s be frank, there are some pretty poor ones, but that’s the same in every industry. Vodafone is publicly getting a kicking at the moment with a £4.6 million fine for allegedly having poor customer service. Does that mean every phone company is the same?….maybe a bad example ;). I’ve also seen comments about automating all recruitment practices making them redundant “The Recruitment Industry to die in 2018”. I believe Zeynep Tufekci put it best in her latest TED talk (see here); where Zeynep talks about the issues when using automating hiring systems and how taking away the human element could cause huge, unforeseen issues.

“We cannot outsource our moral responsibilities to machines, we must hold on ever tighter to human values and human ethics.”

What a lot of people don’t realise is that most recruiters know the value of recruiters and use recruiters to recruit recruiters…..Wow, that’s a lot of recruiters! If you genuinely hate recruiters (I know a few) I’d suggest never moving into rec to rec.

So why do recruiters use recruiters, you may well ask? We know recruitment is about RELATIONSHIPS and recruiters who specialise solely in this field will naturally have a better network of PEOPLE, therefore improving their odds of acquiring a suitable person. Additionally, we only have to pay recruiters when they have been successful; it’s a free service until they find someone! Recruiters know that PEOPLE are the main reason why a business succeeds or fails and we want to increase our odds of hiring the best PEOPLE by using rec to rec’s, no brainer right?

So IF you’re feeling ALL recruitment is broken, chances are you’re just not using it properly. Those that think this way often adhere to the old adage, “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink”. Regardless of what you think you can do to change a person’s mind-set in this situation, you’re very unlikely to win because they will continue to think that recruitment is broken; taking ZERO responsibility that they could actually be the thing stopping it from working in the first place.

There are however people out there who DO want to change. I’ve recently started working with a new client who has been struggling to find 3 different & difficult IT positions despite using 3 recruiters and using the businesses standard recruitment process. Upon approaching them, they felt that the recruitment process is broken and they just wanted to send me over a job specification for the different positions. I asked them to change their process for the positions/roles, to trust me and meet me tomorrow to discuss further. They were open to change as luckily it’s a business that has been recommended to speak to me as they’ve struggled, so they listened. On 1 role they went from receiving 36 cv’s, booking only 4 interviews (3 candidates dropped out), 0 placements over a 4 month period using their last process to 5 cv’s, 5 interviews and 1 offer in 3 weeks from using mine.

How can that be? Surely all recruiters are the same? Where did I deliver when the other 3 recruiters failed? Luck? I’d love to say I delivered over and above other recruiters because I’ve been born with a natural talent and I’m known within the industry as the Clark Kent of recruitment because of my speed and physique, but that’s not the case. Hard work, a respect for other people and listening are some of the minimum requirements. I delivered because the recruitment business was open to changing a broken system!

Maxwell Bond has been created because we believe that people matter and we believe in doing everything in our power to ensure we make a difference to people’s lives. We do this by hiring the right people; enabling them to operate in a healthy, flexible working environment and help them focus solely on being the best and making a difference to others. We just happen to be in digital & IT recruitment. So if you’re feeling your IT recruitment is broken, you genuinely want to improve, change and enhance you’re recruitment campaigns, get in touch and we’ll help you.

N.B I use Vodafone and I’m quite happy with their service, maybe I’m just one of the lucky ones?