Knowing what they would like you to know

Liam Horan, BALLINROBE Tel: 094 95 42965

Q: I’m going for an interview next week. A friend who went for one there before said they asked her lots of questions about the company to check if she was fully familiar with what they do. It’s a marketing job in the hospitality sector and I’m just wondering what kind of questions they might ask? And what sort of answers should I have at the ready? (IK, email).

A: Whether or not they ask you questions about themselves, you should know lots about them – that’s imperative in any interview, writes Liam Horan, Careers Communications Coach, Sli Nua Careers.

I tend not to focus too much on questions because they are outside your control as a candidate. But, in deference to your request, here are some possible questions they might ask to check if you’ve done your homework

  1. What do you like about our social media / digital marketing?
    1. Here, you need to know numbers of followers, regularity of posts, type of posts they make, any competitions they run, the posts that generate best public response and so on. Be able to talk knowledgeably about this area.
  2. What can we do better in our social media / digital marketing?
    1. If you establish your bona fides above, you should be able to make suggestions. There are endless ideas for enhanced social media / digital marketing. Have some ready before the show. Study some of the leading figures in this field so that you’re up to date with trends.
  3. What do you think of our branding?
    1. Again, first of all, you must know their branding inside out. What does their logo depict? And their tagline – what is it and how well does it capture what they do? Is their branding consistent or have they three logos and four taglines on the go? Knowledge is king here.
  4. What do you know about our recent major expansions or decisions?
    1. To know where they are going, it is helpful to know where they’ve come from. Miss a major decision and you show yourself to be out of touch. Get this right, and the interview could almost feel like a first meeting after getting the job – and, yes, that’s indubitably a good thing.
  5. Who are our main competitors?
    1. Legwork will resolve this. Google, YouTube and conversations – the latter with people who work in the industry.
  6. What do our main competitors do better than us?
    1. Tricky one this, but if you’ve done your work, your insights should be credible. Don’t lorry in the criticism: balance it. This is a great chance to show you really know the sector.
  7. What do you know about the principal figures in the company? Do you know the CEO? What’s their background?
    1. LinkedIn will resolve many questions. Everyone has come from somewhere – they didn’t just land on this earth as a fully formed CEO. By knowing their background, you can also flesh out point 4 above.

If you’re serious about getting the job, you need to be doing approximately 25 hours preparatory work – this includes going to meet people who can help, researching online and making phone calls. It will make more and more sense the deeper you go into it.

Liam Horan is a Career Coach with Sli Nua Careers in Ballinrobe.

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