Interview tips


Preparing for an interview

So you're really good at your job, you have the perfect experience and you've written a great CV. This alone is not enough to secure that great job (though it's a good start). You need to be able to effectively communicate that experience and ability to a potential employer. The only chance you get to do this is in an interview, which usually only lasts for an hour. It's far from easy to really come across as well as you'd like in such a short time and most people don't get too much practice.

The good news is that there are a number of things you can do both before and in the interview to improve your chances and this part of our website should give you some good advice and tips to help you get ahead.

Before the interview:

You'd be surprised how many people simply don't take the time to prepare properly and by doing some basic research, you're already putting yourself ahead of your competition.

We once had someone interview for a Director of Multi-channel job with a well-known retailer. The week before the interview, he shopped online for some items, assessing the whole shopping experience as he went. He placed his order on his mobile phone, then called customer services to change the order and delivery address. He then returned one of the items to his local high-street store and asked to swap it for a different size. Essentially, he tested as much of the customer experience that he could - exposing both the strengths and the weaknesses in that multi-channel business. This impressed the panel in the interview and also gave them a lot to talk about - it was no surprise at all that he got that job.

Before you go for an interview, think about all the things you might be able to do to prepare.

Company Research:

Spend time on the website and get really familiar with it. Test it, assess it and find things you like and things that could be improved.

If they are multi-channel, can you visit a location? Call customer services? Look at any apps/mobile site they might have?

Who owns the company? Do they have any sister organisations? If they are a public company, what's the share price and what is the pattern over the past few months? If they have VC investment, who and how long ago did they invest?

Who's the CEO and what's their background? Who else works in the company that you can research?

Who's interviewing you? Can you find out about them online, career history, press quotes?

What other jobs are they advertising on their website?

What are people saying about the company in the social media space?

Have you read the last few press releases or media stories?

Personal Preparation:

When is the last time you read your own CV? Read it through and make sure you have a number of killer examples of your most successful projects ready to go. Have some good narratives in mind that can be used to answer questions and highlight how successful you are - it’s easier to think of these before the interview than rustling them up on the spot.

Get all your numbers in your head. If you are running an e-commerce website, check your analytics dashboard before you go to the interview. Also, make sure you have historical facts and figures in your head so you can talk about; sales growth over time, increases in conversion, email open rates for campaigns etc, etc. Nothing speaks louder than numbers in a commercial environment, by knowing what yours are, and how you have improved them, you will inspire real confidence in your ability.

Dress to impress. Being well attired will make you look and feel the part. You want your interviewer to focus on you and not be distracted by how you look. As a rule, it's best to be smarter than the person interviewing you rather than the other way around and avoid anything too distracting - if in doubt, go smart.

Get directions, print a map and allow plenty of time for delays.

Read our tips on Interview Technique

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