Even in a digital world, landing that dream role can be difficult. To help you out, our experts share their knowledge of the sector, and how you can succeed in your next interview.
As the world becomes increasingly digitalised, digital expertise has never been more sought after. However, competition for coveted roles remains fierce.
To give you the edge on your competitors, we’ve asked two of our digital recruitment experts for their advice on nailing your next job interview…
Optimise your CV for the role
As any good candidate knows, when applying for a job you should always ensure your CV is tailored to the specific role in question. But, if you’re looking to land your dream digital job it pays to be specific, explains Kelvin Lau, transactional and IT&T division manager for Robert Walters Hong Kong.
“Alongside job titles and day-to-day duties, we advise candidates to be specific when explaining the projects they’ve worked on to help them stand out,” he says. “In a digital role, technical skills are important so candidates should showcase these. For example, if a candidate has particularly strong SEO, SEM or Google Analytics skills these should be highlighted on their CV.”
Marlies Marthen, a digital, applications and development consultant in Robert Walters’ Melbourne office, adds that it pays to show your passion for all things digital in your CV. “As well as displaying a candidate’s achievements and strengths in detail, a successful CV should also highlight their passion for the industry,” she says. “Mentioning a personal project like an online community or personal website will help set you aside from other candidates.”
Dig a little deeper with your interview preparation
The old saying ‘if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail’ is never more meaningful than when it comes to interviews. As Marlies explains, “Even the simple things like researching the interviewer, the company, and the organisation’s goals for upcoming years can really make a difference in an interview setting.”
When researching a company, Kelvin recommends checking the company’s news and website, as well as any social channels and apps they might have. “As well as exploring the company’s current digital operations, you should also see what their competitors are doing in the digital space,” he says. “This way, you’ll be able to put together a more in-depth comparative analysis of how the company could get ahead of their competitors.”
If the company has recently received bad press, Kelvin advises candidates to think carefully before mentioning it. He says: “If you’re applying for applying for a senior role, you could talk about potential PR strategies that would help the company overcome the issues, but applicants for more junior positions should steer clear of addressing the negativity.”
Show off your digital knowledge
When it comes to interview preparation for a digital role, Kelvin advises his candidates to take along a portfolio to showcase key projects and achievements. “Either a physical copy or a digital copy will enable you to clearly demonstrate to the hiring manager exactly what you’ll be able to bring to the role,” he says.
Successful applicants should also be able to detail their knowledge of the technical expectations of the role. Kelvin advises candidates to “inform hiring managers that you are comfortable with all the relevant digital programs. Use news sites and search engines to explore the hottest digital trends and remember to keep it relevant to the company in question.”
“For example, if you’re interviewing for an IT service provider that employs a lot of developers, then talk about Github” adds Kelvin. “Unlike more generic sites like LinkedIn, Github is a community built for developers and being able to talk about it will show hiring managers that you’ve done your homework and understand digital expertise.”
Highlight your interpersonal skills
While strong technical ability is crucial to a digital role, for an increasing number of positions in the industry, it’s the candidate’s soft, personal skills that will see them land a position. As Marlies explains, when it comes to finding the right balance between hard and soft skillsets most digital companies place a lot of importance on their working culture and will be looking for candidates who fit in.
“The days of firms having a technical team hidden in a back room are over,” she says. “These days, technical staff, like software engineers, are becoming more engaged with stakeholders and stakeholder management. This means successful candidates will need to showcase their ability to communicate with both technical and non-technical people.”
As Kelvin adds, a candidate’s soft skills become increasingly important as they move into more senior roles. “As you progress through a company, there’s a greater focus on your ability to engage not only with your own senior management team but also with clients and the management teams of other companies.”
Dress for the job
“An interview is when you put across the best version of you, so it’s important to make it count,” says Marlies. While the digital industry is fairly casual, when it comes to what to wear in an interview, she advises candidates to “dress for the organisation and their criteria” and err on the side of smart if they aren’t sure.
Ask engaged questions
When it comes to asking questions in the interview, Kelvin advises candidates to make sure they show the hiring manager how interested they are in the position. “For example, candidates should ask about upcoming projects, or any areas of the company where the processes could be digitalised.”
Follow up with a personal note
Finally, Kelvin tells his candidates to send through a thank you email after the interview. He says that “candidates shouldn’t just go to Google and find a generic thank you email template but craft the email themselves and mention specific points of conversation that came up in the interview,” he says. “This will help leave a good impression with the interviewer.”
For more interview tips read our blog on 7 ways to stand out from the competition.
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