Some people talk to me about how they’ve prepared for an interview, and they make me laugh. They put in a huge amount of effort into how they will be seen so as to show themselves in the best light. They spend ages selecting the perfect interview jacket (somewhere between classic and modern is what most people settle on) and the shoes that will go with it. But they haven’t spent all that preparation time where it can most usefully be spent – in the mind of the interviewer.
Now, you won’t actually get to spend time in that hallowed space. But you can create a model of what they’re likely to be thinking. And for that you need to gather evidence. Most relevant, the job advert you’re responding to. Is there anything about this specific Business Analyst role that seems unusual in terms of skillset or responsibilities? Have a think about what reasons there might be for that, and take some time to imagine yourself addressing those points in your interview.
As well as the job ad itself, do some searching about the state of the company at this point in time. Has there been investment? Is there talk of a takeover? You should be able to find press releases on the company website. Look at them over the past year – is there a particular narrative coming through? If you spot one, consider how your skills and experience relate the story that’s outlined.
Assuming you’ve got the profile that the company is looking for, the interviewer will take you seriously for the role. Think about it less in terms of selling yourself to them, and more about allowing the interviewer to realise that you’re the solution they seek. You don’t have to be shy about promoting yourself, but what you can do that makes a difference is present the facts about yourself in a way that’s a response to their stated and implied needs rather than just telling them how great you are.
What does this all mean in practice? Above all, be flexible. Listen out for what the interviewer needs, what they want, and what they’d like to have. And answer to those specific points. They might have been there in your job application buried in a couple of paragraphs anyway, but now is time to pull those pieces out and present them to the interviewer.
So, assuming they need someone with about 8 years experience, want them to be familiar with pharma processes, and would like them to speak French, then feed them back that information in that order and use their words. The ones you use are fine, but if someone has a preference for saying things a certain way then this is the time to respect that choice and impose your own preferences on them. Trust me. And if you want to practice that style, remember that’s something I could work on with you in a Skype session.