Life at Cleo

Talent Corner: Interview Dos and Absolutely Don'ts

Tips and tricks to help you stand out (in a good way) and succeed in your job interview

Image of Dani Neeve - a Cleo talent sourcer

I work within the talent team, so I speak to different candidates each day. I thought it would be helpful to share some of the best (and worst) interview tips.

You got the interview... Congrats 🥳

Firstly, someone has looked at your resume and decided they were excited to learn more about you. That’s actually the most significant part of the battle, so give yourself a pat on the back 👏  

Having a super clear resume and including a cover letter really makes a difference in getting to the interview stage. If you find yourself getting stuck at this point, you should totally check out this blog post to Improve Your CV Writing Skills.

Let’s Get Into It…

I’ve tried to keep things simple here with a funky chart.

This isn’t America’s/Britain’s got talent, it’s not an instant ❌red buzzer ❌, just some food for thought. I’ll dive into some of these points a little deeper too.

Two columns with red flags for interviewing

How Do You Take Your Tea? ☕️

My number one tip would be to ALWAYS stalk the Linkedin, website, and social platforms of the company you are applying for. I can’t stress this enough. Knowing a little about their latest product will show your interviewer that not only did you take the time to explore the brand more, (mega brownie points ✅) but you also took a genuine interest in it.

Being asked about what SUCCESS looks like to you is a common, yet daunting question. Hey, if the interviewer doesn’t ask, you can always bring it up yourself. Being able to describe where you want to be in the next two years (maybe even the next five) will show you’ve thought about your future career path at that company.

Shameless plug incoming… We have an excellent example of a clear progression framework that could help you to work out where you could head next.

Next up, be yourself. This sounds so simple, but what does it actually mean?

Be CONFIDENT, not only in your own experience and abilities but also in how you speak. Interviews can be scary. As an interviewer, I expect you to be nervous (I probably am too) but over-rehearsing your answers can end up making you look a little robotic. Absolutely, have a few examples saved in your memory, but avoid writing them down and reading them off a page. I love it when candidates can talk about their experiences in a way that sounds natural. They take me on the journey with them through certain scenarios, almost like a story.

Swiping Left on a Walking Red Flag? 🚩

Trash-talking your current position can end up making you sound bitter and difficult to please. Granted, you’re interviewing for a new position so you might not be having the best time at your current place, but giving examples of how your values don’t specifically align with your current position, and turning them into something more positive can make a massive difference.

Try saying “there are limited progression opportunities at my current company”’ rather than “*insert company name here* sucks and won’t give me a pay rise.”

Ok, so onto the questions. It’s almost impossible to predict what questions you’ll be asked during your interview, so think of EXAMPLES of things you’ve done in previous employment, which you could use to answer multiple questions. Perhaps an example where you’ve worked well in a team, or used your initiative.  

When we ask a question around conflict, for example,we want you to tell us the context, how you resolved the specific problem. What we’re trying to work out is whether your style of conflict resolution would fit in well at Cleo.

Last but not least–not asking us any QUESTIONS. Like, what?

We hear you, you don’t want to ask too many questions. However, radio silence when your interviewer asks “was there anything else I haven’t covered or anything you want to know” is not the vibe. You should use this opportunity to ask your interviewer their favorite things about working at the company, how they find work/life balance, or how they’ve grown since joining.

Trust me, this will show your interviewer that you’re interested and highlight to us that you want to learn more. One really thoughtful question could be the difference between you and another candidate.

Some Final Thoughts 💭

Remember, interviews are a chance for both you and the company to get to know each other better. As much as we’ll be interviewing you, we expect you to do it back. So present yourself in the best possible light and increase your chances of landing the job.

Good luck 💙

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