Job Interview Advice

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Everything you need to know about preparing for a job interview and landing the job you like.

Some key steps that will help to ensure that you:

  • Identify the key requirements of the position that you're interviewing for.
  • Familiarize yourself with questions that will possibly come up in the interview.
  • Develop answers for interview questions even if you have not planned for them.
  • Highlight the keys to making an interview a successful interview.

Step 1

"The Position"

Step 2

"The Application"

Step 3

"The Questions"

Step 4

" The Answers"

Step 5

"Interview Day"

Step.1 The position

"Job Specification" gives you the key factors that the interviewer will be looking for in the interview. The wording is not there by accident! Too often people make the mistake of overlooking this. The first step is to make sure that you match what the company is looking for. You have to remember that it is highly unlikely that a company will hire you if you do not have the type of experience that they are looking for, so look at what THEY want and break the job down into segments. They are normally broken up into headings like.

  • Position or Roll
  • Qualifications and experience required
  • The Duties or responsibilities
  • The personal attributes

Step.2 The Application

This is the first hurdle that you will have to overcome, it is the interviewers first "screening" or appraisal of your competency relating to the position, so whether you are making a telephonic application or submitting your CV make sure that you are prepared for the possible questions that they are most lightly to ask. These are most often the key competencies/requirements laid down in the job advert.
Prepare yourself for the questions and write down a few notes on these competencies and how they relate to you or the job you are currently doing. If you are going to make an electronic application, make sure that these competencies appear in your CV! The interviewer is going to have no other information about you initially, you could include it in a covering letter or note but in my experience these letters are often overlooked initially and only gone back to once interest in you has formed as a result of a good CV.

It may be useful to keep these notes handy, next to the phone or easily accessible as you can't control when the consultant is going to call you! Having the notes on hand, preferably with a copy of the job ad is the best preparation you can have.

Speak clearly! Your voice is the only other information that they have about you besides your CV.

Step.3 The Questions

Before any questions get asked, this is the interview remember, and it has in fact begun from the moment that you first make eye contact! A great candidate will look the interviewer in the eyes, Shake hands firmly and introduce themselves in a confident manor. I have found that a faint smile at this point can go a long way. Studies have actually shown that in most interviews the interviewer has made up his/ her mind within the first five or so minutes, give you the best chance! Believe me; the small things like a smile or positive body language go a long way. A clear confident tone and a clean well presented appearance can sometimes get you the rest of the way.
Possible questions here might be:

  • Tell me about a time when you had to use your presentation skills to influence someone's opinion?
  • How do you ensure that you remain motivated and Give me an example of a time when you motivated others?
  • Give me an example of a time when you set a goal as a team, some of the problems that you encountered and whether or not you were able to achieve it?

Step.4 The Answers

Most of the questions asked by experienced interviewers today are behavioural- interview questions, designed to get the interviewees key underlying behavioural tendencies. This has been found to be the most accurate predictor or future behaviour. Basically what it boils down to is that the interviewer will probe a point or an answer that you might have said or given. These questions usually start with "give me an example of" or "tell me about a time when" some examples

Tell me about a time when you had too many things to do and you were required to prioritize your tasks?

  • Give me an example of a time when you had to make a split second decision?
  • What was going thought your mind when that happened?
  • What were you thinking when you were making that decision?

Step.5 Interview Day

OK, so it’s the big day, you have prepared yourself for the questions that are most lightly going to be asked, you have introduced yourself well with a handshake making sure that you were maintaining eye contact and that your smile was not to cheesy!
Well interviews should normally follow a three step process,

  • Connection or rapport
  • Information
  • Closing

Connection

Connect, it is imperative! You have to establish some type of relationship with the interviewer, You are there because they like the knowledge, skills and abilities that you have put down on your CV. So this is a checking stage, to see that you have actually got what they are looking for and if you will be a good culture fit for the company.

The first few questions probably won’t be too tough either! But it's never a bad thing to be prepared for the interviewer who likes to go straight in to the technical bits. Just remember that it's more about your body language, physical presentation and attitude.

Information

NEVER complain about something or someone for extended periods of time, all you will be doing it telling the employer that you might be a difficult person to get along with. It has happened so often that a candidate has performed wonders in the interview almost certainly going to the next step and then out off the blue starts ranting and raving about how they were treated unfairly here .
If the money question is asked, this is normally a good sign of the interviewer seriously considering your application. How do you answer this? Well the fact is that no matter what you say you will have been too low or too high. So don't answer the question with specifics, until given no other choice. Ask what the salary range is or, my personal favourite, I am willing to consider your best offer.

Sample Interview Questions

  • Tell me about yourself?
  • How do you plan your day?
  • How would you describe your ideal job?
  • Tell me about a difficult decision that you've made in the last year?
  • What goals do you have in your career?
  • Give me an example of a time when something you tried to accomplish and failed?
  • How do you like to deal with conflict? Give me an example.
  • Tell me about a time when you used your presentation skills to influence someone's opinion?
  • Give me a specific example of a time when you had to conform to a policy with which you did not agree?
  • Please discuss an important written document that you were required to complete?
  • Give me an example of a time where you went the extra mile in your company?
  • How would you describe your relationships with your colleagues?
  • Tell me about a time when you had too many things to do and you were required to prioritize your tasks.
  • What is your greatest weakness?
  • What is your greatest strength?
  • Give me an example of when you showed initiative and took the lead. What was the result?
  • What motivates you?
  • Tell me about a recent situation in which you had to deal with a very upset customer or co-worker?
  • Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to see things your way?
  • Describe a time when you were faced with a stressful situation that demonstrated your coping skills?
  • Give me an example of a time when you used good judgment and logic in solving a problem?
Give me an example of a time when you set a goal and were able to meet or achieve it?