Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Interview Tips

Interview Tips


Congratulations on securing an interview!

This is your opportunity to demonstrate your personal attributes, your strengths, personality, your ability to communicate and how you react under pressure.  Here are some tips to assist you in selling your assets:

Develop Rapport

To ensure effective communication, it is very important to develop a good rapport with the person interviewing you.  Of course, this is sometimes difficult, particularly if you “really want the job”.  However, you must relax – get that high-pitched or tense tone out of your voice – and appear to be calm and self-assured at all times.

One of the simplest ways of helping this is to smile a lot.  Yes, when appropriate, smile.  Not a grin but a genuine, warm smile.  Ask yourself seriously: do you smile during the course of conversation?

Ask Good Questions

This is a big tip!  Don’t just tell the interviewer how wonderful you are and how good your achievements have been.  Demonstrate that you have done your homework that you are really listening and you understand what’s going on.  You can do this by asking relevant questions about the department and the job in question.  Taking an interest in the big picture will have a positive influence on the interviewer.  If, in the limited time of an interview, you can ask one or two questions that actually make the interviewer think about the answer, or better still, maybe cover issues they hadn’t even thought of, then you really are on the home stretch.


Preparation Will Make or Break the Interview!


Preparation is the first essential step towards a successful interview. 

Be prepared to answer a couple of standard questions such as:

Ø   What do you want to be doing in your career five years from now?  Ten years from now?
Ø   What style of management gets the best from you?  Who was your best boss?  Why?
Ø   What have you learnt from some of the jobs you have held?  What did you enjoy the most?  What did you enjoy the least?
Ø   What have you done that shows initiative in your career?
Ø   What are you looking for in your next role?

“Open probe” questions are different because they strike right at the heart of issues and require more than a yes/no answer.

Ø   Why do you want to change roles?
Ø   Give positive answer – confident, coherent and logical explanations are critical to the interview process.

Ø   What is your greatest strength/weakness?
Ø   Have some answers ready – even weaknesses can be presented positively, especially if you are doing something about them.

Ø   Why should you be successful in gaining this role?
Ø   Here’s a chance to review your strengths and show how you can make a big contribution.  Sell your benefits, not your features. 

Ø   How do you react to criticism?


Behavioural/Competency Based Interviews


Behavioural interviewing is based within the premise that past behaviour is the best indicator of future behaviour.  With a set of competencies identified beforehand, the interviewer will ask you to relate specific examples or situations where you have demonstrated a particular competency in the past.

For example, let’s say problem solving is a competency required for the role.  The interviewer may ask something like:

“Tell me about a time where you have solved a business problem?  What was the situation?  What was the outcome?”

The best way to answer these questions is to describe a specific example that demonstrates your ability in that area using the “STAR” technique to structure your response:

S – Situation
T – Task
A – Action
R – Result

So in answering the above question, an appropriate response may go something like this:

“The situation at XYZ Company when I first joined was that all employees had authority to speak to the media.  This created problems such as inconsistent message, inaccurate/untimely information release and an array of other undesirable consequences for the company’s image.  My task as Media & PR Manager was to build and maintain a positive corporate image so the action I took was to immediately implement a policy whereby only four nominated executives had authority to deal with the media and that all media and PR activity initiated outside my team was to be signed off by me.  I took the time to gain the buy-in of management and then all employees so that everyone was happy to adhere to the new policies.  The result was great – no more embarrassing situations and a far more positive attitude to our brand as evidenced by a recent independent survey”.

This answer clearly demonstrates the candidate’s ability to decisively and collaboratively solve a business problem.  The answer is also very succinct which means the interviewer is more likely to tune in to the entire response.  The interviewer can then drill down further to obtain more detail around the “how’s” and “why’s” of the example.

Great answers to interview questions are:

Ø   Relevant
Ø   Succinct
Ø   Able to show clearly what you did and how you did it
Ø   Delivered with an appropriate level of energy and enthusiasm
Ø   Not “waffly”!

Closing the Interview


You have come to the end of the interview.  Don’t make the mistake and nervously mumble “Thank You” and leave.  Always be prepared to ask questions at the end of the interview – have at least one question that indicates you’ve been listening.  Of course this is also a good opportunity to let the interviewer know that you are terribly keen on the job.  Don’t worry about appearing too eager – as long as you’re being yourself.  The interviewer is looking for an enthusiastic person, not someone who hasn’t decided if this is the right career for them.

If you have answered the two questions uppermost in the interviewer’s mind – “Why are you interested in the job?” and “What can you offer and can you do the job?” – You have done all you can.


Good luck – and enjoy!

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