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How to really ace a job interview

The job market can be tough, but Jobbio's Kirstie McDermott has some top tips to help candidates nail the interview stage.

a man and a woman sitting at a table talking


If you’ve been in the workforce for a while, then you’ll have been on the job hunting rollercoaster a time or three as well. In fact, research indicates that the average person changes jobs 12 times in their lifetime, with job tenure lasting around 4.1 years.

The idea of a job for life has very much gone by the wayside, and as a result many of us are very familiar with the job hunting process. Sone may be a little too familiar, applying an almost templated approach to job applications: tweak the CV and cover letter for your application, and hope for an interview, and so on from there.

It can all feel a bit same old, same old. And if you’re feeling that way, then it’s a sure fire bet that hiring managers are too. What can you do to elevate your application process and interview skills for the next time you see a job you’d really like to go for?

Outside of the basics of researching the company, looking smart and well-presented, having great examples and figures, and plenty of real world experience to talk through, there are some things you can bring to the table that might just make your next job interview a little more interesting – for all concerned.

Understand what the “tell me about yourself” question really means

This question throws candidates off like no other. Just keep in mind your interviewer doesn't want to know about your hobbies or that gig you went to at the weekend. They want to know all about you in the context of your professional life, so keep this answer strictly to the roles, responsibilities and successes you’ve had that relate to the job you’re now going for.

Present a rolling plan for what you would do

Impress by showcasing strategic thinking by presenting a top line view of how you would perform in the job in the first 30 days, three months and six months. You don’t have to go into extensive detail but you could outline how you’d spend your first month bedding in, meeting with direct reports, understanding their process, pain points and the general running of the department and wider business. By month six, you could explain how you’d hope to streamline processes, and add automation to tasks, for example.

Ask what problems you can solve

Many recruitment processes now involve candidates meeting with their peers at one or more points in the process. This represents a perfect opportunity to ask what issues are cropping up regularly, and how you could help. If you have relevant examples from your current or previous roles, then this is the time to showcase how effective you would be in the position.

Ready to get moving on a new job application now? We have three roles below that are worth a look, as well as plenty more on the AltFi Job Board.

Backend Software Engineer Java Data, client server, London

As a Backend Software Engineer you'll join a cross functional Agile team working on a new real-time data platform. You'll focus on coding high quality Java 11 and will also be working with a C++/Python backend and huge volumes of data on complex and technically challenging systems. This is a hybrid role, in city-based offices for two to three days per week, and flexibility to work from home the rest of the week. You will need to have strong Java development experience, be able to read and understand C++ code, and have experience of working with large volumes of fluid data – data modelling experience would be great. Get the full job spec here.

China Economist m/f/t, RWE Supply & Trading GmbH, London

RWE Supply & Trading is looking to enhance its team, with an Economist specialising in China. Your main focus will be to understand and interpret global economic and geopolitical factors which have an impact on global commodities like oil, coal, metals, iron ore, LNG and freight as well as repercussions on regional power, gas and carbon markets. You’ll need a university degree in economics, finance, mathematics, physics or equivalent, as well as several years of working experience as an economist and first relevant working exposure in an energy trading environment. Additionally, you’ll require very strong quantitative and analytical skills. Find out more here.

Senior Finance Business Partner, RSSB, London

The Senior Finance Business Partner (FBP) is critical in driving RSSB to deliver its strategic objectives. You’ll lead in delivering reports and working directly with senior stakeholders and you will represent and champion finance and the finance department across the business, delivering key messages and building trust and engagement with stakeholders. You will need to be a fully qualified accountant with effective technical accounting knowledge, and a track record of delivering management accounting, including contribution to management information and budgets, and delivering to your stakeholders. Discover more about the role here.

For interesting jobs in Fintech and across the entire tech space every week, check out the AltFi Job Board

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