The market research industry is extremely competitive and it is important to stand out and do exceptionally well in interviews to secure a job. I asked several of my candidates, at all career levels, about their interview experiences. There were a lot of common themes and questions; here are a few pointers that stood out…
1) Why us?
Companies are under no illusion that if you are interviewing with them you are probably interviewing elsewhere as well. Be prepared to answer questions like- what attracted you to applying to our company? Why do you want to work for us? Why do you want to work in this sector? It is important when answering these sorts of questions to be as authentic as possible and to do your research.
Having the right personality and the right attitude is sometimes the deciding factor when choosing between candidates. A lot of Market Research candidates have said that recently more and more interviewers want to know more about them as a person, especially for the more junior level positions. This is the fun part and the opportunity for you to sell your best qualities. Be prepared for the dreaded, how would your friends describe you?
The things that are really going to set you aside from other researchers are your personal qualities (we have covered in the above), your skills and previous work experience. Questions you might expect in a Market Research interview relating to skills are- have you had experience working on international projects? How do you analyse data? What can you do on SPSS? Can you give me an example of when you managed a project? Can you describe a time where you have delivered insights to your client, what was the response and how did this impact on their business strategy?
Make sure, when answering these sorts of questions, that you have interesting and easy to understand examples to talk through. The competency part of the interview will be what they will most remember and need in order to compare you with other applicants, so make it count! Also be prepared for data tests, they are usually quite straight forward and are not used to trip you up, nevertheless keep your cool and practice good time management.
Side note: due to the nature of a Market Research interview process, it is not uncommon for there to be more than 2 stages- so be patient and expect a lengthy process!