Managing Director of Prima Cheese, Nima Beni, met virtually with Durham School’s Sixth Form pupils last week and discussed how to best prepare for job interviews.
Nima, who specialises in the operational side of the business, is also an Old Dunelmian of Durham School, leaving Poole House in 2001.
Nima initially worked in Marketing at an agency where he initially gained experience in his placement year. After three years, Nima was called to join the family business, starting from the bottom to ensure he gained a full understanding of every department in the company.
Prima Cheese Ltd is one of the biggest cheese processors in the UK, who specialise in cheese used mostly for pizzas. Nima said, “We process roughly 550 tons of cheese and deliver primarily to food services and manufactures but also export to our 45 different countries. In the content of pizzas, we supply cheese to make around 6 million pizzas a week.”
Talking about his experience, Nima said, “I had to start from the bottom of the company to make sure that I learned every aspect of the business and to fully understand what our employees do, their work, and to appreciate the employees that we have at Prima Cheese. I didn’t see the point in me asking someone to do a job if I don’t know how to do it myself.”
Our pupils asked Nima some questions about how to approach an interview and how to be successful.
Nima said, “Research the company – knowing the past history, present, and future goals are very important. You need to understand the brand, the products, their client base and their sector. If you are going to communicate facts and figures, you have to ensure that the data you’re providing is correct and relevant. Do not provide facts and figures for the sake of it, it is better to not provide any at all than to give incorrect details.”
“One of the most important skills to have is confidence. Your body language and the way you communicate will provide the interviewer with a sense of confidence in you. Honesty, Integrity and Mentality are other very important characteristics and it is crucial that you have examples to prove that you have that skills.”
“Even if you feel as though the interview hasn’t been successful, you should still ask a question at the end to prove that you are engaged in the company and with the interviewer. Ultimately the person opposite you is going to give you a yes or a no so you need to make that personal connection.”
When asked about the future of interviews, Nima said, “After this year, it is likely that more interviews go online. Many companies do tend to have their initial interviews online as it is an effective way to identify whether the candidate fits the role. In terms of portraying yourself during an online interview, it is a hinderance for the body language and how you communicate that you’re the right candidate. What I have seen now is that a lot of the interviewees are starting to use slides and PowerPoint to prove that they are the most successful candidate!”
Mr Andrew Graham, Head of Economics and Business at Durham School said, “It was wonderful to invite Nima back to Durham School, albeit virtually, to share his expertise with our Year 13 BTEC Business students. As a department, we are keen to develop links with industry leaders such as Nima to bring their experience into the classroom. Nima’s real-world insight into recruitment and selection allowed him to share valuable interview tips that our Year 13 students have been able to use as they prepare to participate in mock job interviews as part of their BTEC course. We are incredibly grateful for Nima’s time and we very much look forward to developing closer links between the department and Prima in the coming months.”
Do you work in the finance or business industry? We would be delighted if you would talk to our pupils about your experiences so that they can hear first-hand about what awaits them after Sixth Form. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you can help!