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Worker Bee or Drone? Joining our Hive Mind

Louise Wilson

A little over a year ago, we published our blog post Worker bee or drone? Ten top tips for job applicants – and it’s been great to see much of the info set out there work its way into the CVs we’ve received since. The calibre of applicants has improved and on several occasions, we’ve found ourselves making tough calls on who we invite to interview.

But from here, how do you make your way from potential candidate to top contender? We offer a few tips on how to give yourself the edge over others at interview stage.

1. Check and double-check your interview time. Being late to an interview is never a good signal for employers, so make sure you know when your slot is and how long it will take you to get there. In a similar vein, being too early for an interview (20+ minutes) can be just as frustrating – particularly if we are doing back-to-back interviews. Find yourself unexpectedly early? Take a walk around the block first (our Royal Mile location is great for this).

2. First impressions count. Whilst our decision will be based on how you perform in the interview, it’s always worth remembering that people will naturally form an initial opinion within seconds of meeting you. Ensure this is a positive one by dressing appropriately, smiling and making eye contact.

3. Read task instructions. Our recruitment process is rigorous, so we nearly always have a task for candidates to complete before the formal interview. Make sure you understand the instructions before beginning – and if anything is unclear, just ask! We’ve had candidates in the past do well in the interview, but have stumbled on the test element. Often this is a case of rushing through the instructions to start as soon as possible, instead of taking time to understand what we want.

4. Consider your weaknesses. Very few people will match the job criteria perfectly and we are bound to ask you about how you would approach the aspects you are less familiar with. Think about what these are in advance of the interview and have answers ready on how you will overcome this. Transferable skills can go a long way.

5. Prepare examples. Don’t just say you can do a task – demonstrate how. Even if you do not have experience in exactly what we are asking, the most successful candidates have been able to show how previous work/studies match up with the job on offer. Working at a bar during the Edinburgh Fringe is a legitimate example of managing pressurised situations!

6. Research the company. We don’t mean just a quick sweep of the website. You should be able to tell us what we do and why you would fit in. This might seem obvious, but we’ve interviewed people before who were unable to define the role or aims of newsdirect.

7. Don’t panic! If you cannot think of an answer immediately, take your time or ask to come back to it later on. We would much rather have a considered answer than a few garbled sentences - or worse, feeling like we are trying to get blood from a stone. The best advice I’ve heard about interviews in the past is: Relax – they already believe you’re a contender or you would not have gotten this far.

8. Be honest. Political monitoring could be your long-term career goal – or it might not. Either is fine. You should feel comfortable being yourself – don’t just say what you think we want to hear. We interview to find out a bit more about you.

9. Bear other roles in mind. While you might have applied for a specific job, we will also take into consideration other strengths which might better suit the needs of a different role at newsdirect. Additionally, we’ll also use part of what you say at the interview to shape your career path at newsdirect. Applying for an internship but dream of being an account manager? Tell us.

10. Ask questions. And not just “when will I hear about the outcome?” A question or two at the end of the interview lets us know that you have properly consider the job and newsdirect.

We have recently completed our latest recruitment round but expect to have further opportunities arising throughout the year, keep an eye on our website for details. We look forward to hearing from you soon… and good luck!

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