Our recruiters at Admiral have interviewed and hired a great deal of people over the years. Sam, Nick and Zoe are here to use their experience to offer some general advice for anyone looking to get a better understanding of what recruiters are looking for.
As you’ve recruited for many areas across our business, what stands out to you as the most important skill to have for any role?
Sam: Communication. This may sound like an obvious one, but it’s so important. Especially within financial services which is a fast paced and ever-changing industry. Having the ability to communicate to different audiences is key. For example, personally I’m not very technical, so if someone was to explain something very technical to me, they’d need to relay it in a way that I understand. I think it’s important to be able to do this in any role as we all have different stakeholders and customers we need to communicate with.
Nick: Passion and research! They intertwine and this starts with the CV and continues right the way through the process. There have been many occasions where two candidates have been evenly matched for skills and often the candidate who has shown a real desire to work for Admiral and taken the time to research the company is the successful candidate. I imagine this stands out for other companies too.
Zoe: With any role it’s all about being able to embrace change and having a positive attitude! They’re definitely two skills that will stand out for recruiters.
How should you prepare for job interviews?
Sam: Do your research and take your time to prepare. Research the company beyond its typical stats and facts, and show you’ve gone beyond that and the job description. Also, prepare some examples ready for interview to demonstrate your skills suited to the role. If the job description is saying we’re looking for a certain skill or quality, there’s a good chance it’ll be explored at interview, and you can have an example ready to back your skills up. Along with that, you might be asked to give an introduction or CV walkthrough at the start of your interview, so there’s no excuse to not prepare a polished introduction that gives a great first impression.
Nick: You’ll want to prepare and practice as much as you can, especially for situational based questions. Think of real-life examples that you can include that can really show the interviewer how you have handled different scenarios before.
Zoe: Do as much research as possible for a role and the company you’re joining. It’s really important to understand the skills they’re looking for. Write down examples and experiences you have that match those skills and make sure you get these across in your answers during the interview.
What are the best ways to come across well in job interviews?
Sam: Demonstrate you understand the role and the company you’re applying for. Recruiters want to see genuine passion and motivation to join. We’ll never expect you to know everything, but we expect to see what stood out to you and sparked your interest in applying for us in the first place. The more preparation you can do for an interview, the better.
Nick: Use the STAR (situation, task, action, and result) method when writing your application or answering interview questions. This will help you to structure your answers which will also help with your nerves!
Zoe: Show your passion and enthusiasm for the role and ask some questions at the end to demonstrate this. It’s important to speak clearly and keep your pace and tone focused. Practising your answers out loud beforehand can really help you prepare. Make sure you include lots of examples to show the hiring manager why they should choose you. Overall, just be yourself and remember all you can do is your best.
Does it matter what you wear to job interviews?
Sam: Yes. However, what this means can differ from company to company. For example, at Admiral, we don’t have a dress-code, while other companies may have a more ‘suited and booted’ approach. For those organisations, it might be best to wear something according to their dress code. If in doubt, dress smart.
Nick: This depends on the role and company. Researching the company may give you a feel for the culture and dress code. Never be afraid to drop the recruiter an email to ask for extra peace of mind. Mostly, it’s important you feel comfortable while keeping the appropriate dress code in mind.
Zoe: Wear what feels most comfortable to you, but on the whole I don’t think you can ever overdress for an interview!
What sort of skills or traits do hiring managers tend to look out for?
Sam: This would vary depending on the role, but some common things would be good communication, adaptability, resilience and good organisation. These transferable skills are important along with anything more specific that may be needed for a role. Outside of this, hiring managers do look out for genuine interest in the company and the role being considered for, competency alone is not always enough.
Nick: This does vary based on the role, as some roles require niche technical skills. However, I think all hiring managers will look for someone who has a can-do positive attitude, an ability to deal with change and a willingness to learn and self-develop.
Zoe: It’s key to show a passion for the role you are applying for and an eagerness to learn. If you are interested in a role, really focus on the skills listed on the job description and start thinking about how you can develop these in your current role to give you the best possible chance when applying.
Can you leave us with some motivation for any reader who is currently on the job hunt?
Sam: Job hunting is not an easy task. It’s time consuming and you can feel emotionally invested, even if you’re an experienced professional. But keep at the hunt and keep pursuing roles that interest you. Because I can assure you, you will, with determination, find the right role.
Nick: It can be a daunting experience no matter what stage of career you’re at. However, there has never been a better time than now to explore the job market and secure yourself a new role. You may surprise yourself and find that your skills are more sought after than you think. As long as you are willing to put the work in, your efforts will be rewarded.
Zoe: If you’re interested in an area of the business, reach out to find out more. It can be beneficial to start researching the business and different departments before they even have a job live. Never underestimate yourself, if a job advert sparks even the slightest bit of interest, get in touch to find out more!
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