My experience job seeking and interviews

In September I started looking for a new role. My job title at the time was Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) Manager. This post will be slightly tailored more towards that in terms of the questions I was specifically asked during interviews.

I hope this post helps you prepare thoroughly for the journey ahead and smash a new role you will love!

Start with your CV

Do you have one? If not, make one – I used Google docs. I was able to share it easily with others and download it as several files (PDF for example).

I’m not sure what the expected length is these days (a page? 2??). Mine is a page and half, and here is the layout:

  1. Name, location, email address, telephone number
  2. Headline – a few short paragraphs about you. This is mine:

Curious, organised and thorough UX professional who seeks to find out how customers use and navigate through journeys, using data-driven insights to create hypotheses to test, to increase conversion rates and customer satisfaction.


3. Experience (job history) starting with your latest role. I included the company, how long I had been at the company, job title and how long I’d been in that job. I basically copied how LinkedIn display this information, especially for showing multiple jobs within the same company. For example:

BestCompany, 5 years
BrilliantJobTitle, February 2018 – present

4. For my current role I listed 5-7 bullet points of things I do (main tasks – I slightly altered these depending on the job I was going for e.g. tweaked the content / bullet point order) Plus a list of ‘Achievements’ where I listed exactly that. For example:

Main tasks:
– Managed roadmaps of CRO ideas for multiple brands
– Monitor and analyse journeys to find usability issues….

Achievements:
– A/B test XZY resulted in XZY % uplift resulting in £ revenue

I did this for my 2 previous roles too (do this providing it’s relevant to the role you’re going for) but instead of 5-7 bullets, do 3-5.

5. I included info for 3 roles (current + 2 previous) plus a small bulleted list of roles before that. The 1st role (current) needs the most info. As you go further back, reduce the content.

6. At the end I listed a Certificates and Achievements section where I listed all courses I have completed along with the completion date.

TIP: Always take a copy of your CV with you to interviews. I was asked several times to “walk me through your CV” so having a copy makes you look organised.

Go prepared to talk through/explain everything on your CV – including any statistics in your ‘Achievement’ section (within each role) but not just the outcome – they are likely to want to know what the journey was to get there. I was asked to explain how I calculated the percentage uplift of A/B tests along with how the revenue was measured. Make sure you can explain everything confidently.

Download here an (almost) blank template based on my CV.

Phone Interview

Congrats on getting a phone interview! This is your opportunity to ask about the role you have applied for and the team you would be working in.

It’s also the employers opportunity to get to know you and see if you’d be a good fit for the role and team.

From my experience telephone interviews have been quick, high-level and more like a conversation of 2 people getting to know each other.

Make sure you have in front of you:

  • The job spec
  • Your CV
  • Any hints or tips that will help you talk through something

Find out who your phone interview is with – if it’s with “Head of UX” then tailor your prep accordingly. Get a few gold nuggets in the chat you think they would appreciate. The same goes for if your interview is with “Head of Data” – make sure you get as many stats in the conversation as possible.

Think up questions to ask them – ask during and at the end. See my question list below. What do you want to know? You’re at work for a LOT of your life so where you go next should be important to you – this should come across. You should be interested in the company, team and role – but don’t overdo it.

At the end, thank the person for their time remembering to say their name. This shows you were paying attention.

Ask for next steps, so you know the timescales on receiving feedback.

Receiving feedback

If you get negative feedback, hopefully it’s constructive you can use to improve yourself, whether it’s skills you are lacking or something else. Perhaps you came across differently because you were nervous.

A little tip I use if I’m nervous is to do 10 deep breaths – sounds cheesy but it really does help (do this before the interview… it might come across a little weird if you do this after they’ve asked you a question…)

If you get a “no” but don’t receive feedback, ask for some politely. “Thanks for letting me know. Please could I have feedback?”

The Interview

Congrats on getting an interview! It might be with the same person who you spoke to on the phone (plus others) – or new people completely.

I can’t stress enough how you need to prep for this. I practiced for hours and hours – just to make sure I felt comfortable answering questions thoroughly, without rushing and with confidence.

Go through each of the items in the job spec and spend time on each – think about what kind of questions you think they’ll ask. Even if you imagine a question that isn’t asked, the prep you do will probably come in handy for another answer.

Questions

Questions I was asked multiple times:

  • What can you bring to the role?
  • What attracted you to the role?
  • Where do you see yourself in 3 years?
  • Why do you want to work for [company]?
  • What do you know about our company?
  • Do you have any questions about us or [company]?
  • Why are you leaving current role?
  • What pisses you off about work mates? (yep, I was asked this)
  • What happened when you had a conflict? What happened & how did it (if so) get resolved?
  • What are you most proud of?
  • What is something you aren’t great at and need to work on?
  • What are your strengths / weaknesses?
  • What risks have you taken?
  • Why would you be better at this role than others?
  • What would you need to improve to excel at this role?
  • How would you go about conducting an A/B test? (they wanted to know the background – using user feedback/data and not guess-work to come up with ideas – plus how I worked with others)
  • Think of a time an A/B test went better than you expected – what happened and what was the test?
  • Think of a time an A/B test failed – what happened and what was the test?

Very often I was asked how I did something rather than what I did. For example using one of the points in my CV:

“Managed roadmaps of CRO ideas for multiple brands” – HOW did you do that? Help from others? Where did the ideas come from? How did you prioritise the ideas? How did you prioritise the different brands? How much input did you have from others on a daily/weekly basis?

Questions I asked:

  • What would the day to day look like for the role? What would I be involved with?
  • What does the structure of the team look like?
  • What is the future of the team, expanding etc?
  • What are the current challenges?
  • What projects are you currently working on?
  • What customer research do you do at the moment?

Don’t ask questions as a list at the end – ask during the interview when they make sense to be asked but keep 1 or 2 for the end – I usually got asked at the end if I have any questions but had used them up during the conversation!

Tips

Don’t rely on recruiters to find you a job. I start my new job next week which I found myself after emailing the company directly (they didn’t have the job advertised; I’d always admired them and thought I’d email out the blue with the hopes of them having a role!) The recruiters I’ve spoke to have been a big help and gotten me phone interviews and a few interviews – but don’t sit around and wait for things to happen.

Like a local company? Email them and compliment them on their work! Ask if they have any vacancies, even if none are advertised.

Get a job whilst in talks with employers/recruiters? Be kind – let them know straight away so they don’t spend any more of their time searching for you.

Not sure on a role? Say! Don’t waste your time on a role you know you won’t go for even if the recruiter thinks you should be put forward.

Is it too far to commute? Would they offer a day working from home? Companies these days are flexible – ask!

Get an offer? Yay! Congrats! Read the offer/contract and make sure you are happy. This is the time to negotiate.

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