Candidate Tips

At JGB Global we take our candidates recruitment aspirations very seriously. We will meet you before we send your CV for a role as we believe that this is essential to establish whether you are right for a client and whether the client is right for you. This avoids wasting time on any side. If we are unable to help you ourselves we will give you direct advice on where to go next and what to do next to secure your next role.

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Preparing for interviews, the JGB method

We have so many interviews in process at the moment that I have had to hone my interview preparation skills down to a fine art. Those that know me, and who have interviewed for me before will know that I am a total stickler for interview preparation. It is the single most important part of finding a new job, without exception. Unless you don’t have the right skill set for the role, everything that you do pre interview is what is going to help you get the job.



The first thing to do is this: 

Find out the dress code of the organisation. I used to say always go to an interview in full business dress. Business suit for a girl and for a guy, dark suit, light shirt, dark tie. However, it seems for media roles this isn’t the case. I have chatted to several MD’s of media firms and the all say the same, suit is overkill.  Media classic dress of a  smart/ funky t shirt and a blazer is fine. Blue hair and facial piercings not advised!

Horses for courses here. Do your research and do it well. Never show up at a corporate firm without a tie!



The second thing to do is this: 

1)      Why do you want to work for company X? 5 reasons. (ie what do you know about us and why are we good?) 

2)      Why do you want to do this specific job? 5 reasons. (ie have you read the jobspec, inside out and back to front? What attracts you to it? Why do you want to leave your current role for it?)

3)      What can you bring to the table? 5 things. (Now you have read the jobspec, does your skill set match? Is there anything on that jobspec that you have done that isn’t on your CV? You should highlight this because this means that the potential employer will not know!)



Interview materials:

Many people turn up to interview without anything, this can be fatal. No matter how hard you prepare, and make sure you do prepare, it is very easy to forget things and wish you had said things. When you walk out of the door  it is too late.

To combat this I suggest the following; Get yourself a solid, hardback notebook, a moleskine or something similar, and a decent pen (and a spare pen just in case). In that notebook make sure that you have, in note form, not essay form, your top ten most relevant pieces of work experience, ten questions about the company that you are interviewing with and ten questions about the role. This is to come in with you to interview. You can also have the answers to your questions from part two. If you have done this you have done your research properly and you should have covered most bases.

Print off pages from the clients website, print off recent articles, read them and makes notes on them. Be reading through them when the client comes to collect you from reception. Put them into a clear plastic folder, you can get these from WH Smith for about £2. The reason that I am saying clear is so that the interviewer can see that the material is relevant to the interview.

Walk into the room, shake the interviewers hand whilst looking into their eyes, and greet them. The hand shake is important. Limp is terrible, pulling their hand off is equally bad! No one likes a squashed hand!

Sit down, open your notebook and hold your pen. It shows that you are interested enough in what they are going to say that you are going to take notes. Do not read from your notes verbatim, just have them as prompts, don’t try and write down everything that the interviewer says. Striking a balance is important.

The first question that an interviewer is likely to ask you is “Why do you want to work for us?” you have your reasons prepared for this from section two so you should be on the front foot already! The second question is likely to be along the lines of “Why do you want to do this role/ Why do you think you are suitable for this role?”. Do you see where I am going with this? Good.

Use your notes through the interview to prompt you, you will feel much more confident when you have something in front of you and you are much less likely to go blank. Leave some of your questions for the end. The interviewer will ask you if you have any questions, your answer will be yes as you have prepared 10 before you go in. Nothing worse than having no questions!



Personal references or testimonials

The final part of interview preparation is short, sweet and vitally important. Whenever you chat to your parents about going for interviews they will always talk about the importance of having good references. This has been drummed into people since the days of Mary Poppins. Why? I will tell you why, it is absolutely correct. Why don’t people do this properly anymore?

I can tell a lot about a candidate by asking them for references. The ones that say “Yes of course speak to my boss, Mr Smith, from my last role, here is his number” are the ones that I never worry about.  The ones that say  “Well, you could , but, he has probably left now, you could contact HR but I am not sure who to speak to in HR” always raise concerns. There are two reasons for candidates not wanting to have a reference taken on them. These are as follows, either they don’t want that person to know that they are looking for a new role (absolutely fair enough) or the are unsure what that person would say about them.  Everyone knows this. If this is how I think as a recruiter this is exactly what an employer will think.

Remember that a personal reference or a testimonial is not an official reference. Those will come from HR and will just state when people worked at a certain firm. This is an additional sales document from you to a potential employer. They are so simple to get. Ask someone who you used to work for or with (this person could be a colleague , remember this is not an official reference), to write a couple of paragraphs about you and your skills at work. At the end of every interview you go to, smile, thank the person for their time, shake their  hand (not like Arnie) and say here are some testimonials from passed employers. Hand them the piece of paper. Smile again! You have already done what 99% of people won’t have.

A very simple but very effective way to increase your chances of getting a job. Some people may think that the above is overkill but I assure you that in 10 years of recruitment, no one has ever come to me and said “Jim, we don’t want to offer that candidate a job as they had done far too much preparation for this interview”.

Jim Gervaise-Brazier


More advice:
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12 Reasons you didn't get the job