To be or not to be a stand-out interviewee
You’ve read our Five ‘Ps’ of Great CVs, taken our advice, made it over the first hurdle with your impressive CV (you can thank us later), and secured yourself an interview. Now, what next? Let’s jump back in with JP and talk about all things interviews.
“Always go into an interview well prepared,” JP begins, “Make sure you research the employer to get better acquainted with their products or services.” You should also check out their social media channels, any recent press releases, and – in the case of video game studios – you can play their games or watch a YouTube streamer. Most companies will tell you whom you’re meeting, take time to look them up on LinkedIn to understand their role, background, and experience – this can help you anticipate what they might ask you about.
Yet, you can over-prepare. “We want to meet real people,” JP emphasizes, “It’s great to show you’ve taken the time to learn and understand us, but we don't want you to be robotic and reel off a list of prepared facts.” Your preparation should supplement your interview, skills, and experience, not be a crutch to lean on.
Be nervous (it’s totally fine)
“Not everyone enjoys interviews or finds them easy for that matter either,” explains JP, musing on the thousands of interviews he’s been part of during his career, “But a good interviewer won’t mind if you’re upfront about this. You’re an individual and individuals get nervous.”
Well-experienced interviewers should pick up on this and not let it affect their impression and evaluation of you. You might even want to try a few icebreakers; the weather, the well-decorated office, and video games (of course) – especially if you’ve played something by the studio. Whatever your approach, an interviewer is interested in what you know, your experience, and what you’ll bring to the company – less about how nervous you are.
Forgiving JP for the cliché, we agree that, “Honesty is the best policy when you talk about what you know and have experience of. Job ads aren’t an exhaustive list of requirements you must meet, they’re a wishlist for the perfect candidate.” SPOILER ALERT: there is no perfect candidate. Instead, you need to show why you’re the BEST candidate.
Interviewers will likely ask open questions which tend not to have absolute answers. They’re trying to understand how you’d tackle a situation or how your background and experience equip you for a challenge. While it’s important to demonstrate what you know, there’s power in humility. “Let’s dispel the misconception that you need to know everything during an interview,” JP reveals, “It takes a more self-aware person to know their own limits and admit when they’re open to new challenges.”
Be a scribe
This doesn’t mean transcribe your interview, but the process is as much for you as the employer: it’s two-way. You aren’t only pitching yourself, they’re also selling the company to you. Taking notes can help capture any questions you have during the course of the interview. You want to make sure you have all the information you need to make an informed decision if you are successful.
If you’re worried about nerves and forgetting crucial information, there’s nothing wrong with bringing some pre-prepared notes with you. These could be as simple as bullet points on topics you want to discuss, key info you want to give your interviewer, and your prepared questions. “Just be sure to keep your primary focus on the interview,” JP reminds us.
Be a STAR
We’re sure you already know you’re a star, but you need to convince a prospective employer too. A well-used method for assessing candidates is STAR, a competency-based interview technique. In short, the interviewer will ask you to talk them through an example where you resolved a problem, how you did this, and what the outcomes were. Usually like this:
- Situation: talk about a project or challenge from your current or previous role,
- Task: describe the task, your responsibilities, goals, and assignments,
- Action: how you resolved the situation or met a goal and what actions you took,
- Result: explain the outcome and accomplishments, benefits, and learnings.
Even if the interviewer isn’t actually using this method, JP’s top tip is to use a STAR approach to help you structure and set out your responses to questions. This is a more tangible way to demonstrate your skills and experience.
Even if the outcome isn’t in your favor, don’t be disheartened. You won’t be suitable for every role and your experience won’t always match the needs of an employer. Often it can be as simple as losing out to a slightly better-suited candidate.
Good interviewers will provide you with feedback, take this onboard for future interviews. “For candidates who’ve met with the hiring manager, we take the time to do this over the phone,” JP explains, “We appreciate that your time is as important as ours.” When companies don’t offer this, always ask. Regardless of the outcome you should take something positive and actionable from every interview, which can help you improve and grow for the next one.
Want to work with us? All our current vacancies can be found on our website. Not seeing a specific role that fits your profile, we still love to hear from talented people with our open application.