Interview hints and tips
How to make a good impression
Interviews can be a scary prospect but with a little preparation you can make a good impression and greatly improve your chances of success.
Here are 10 little hints and tips to help you:
- Be prepared - Take some time preparing for your interview. Look at the company website to understand who they are.
- Be who you are and not someone you think they want to see. Be yourself. Be honest and don't try to be someone you are not.
- Make the most of it - This could be the start of a new beginning for you. So give it your best shot and enjoy the process. The worst that can happen is you will be exactly where you are now.
- Know our business - They will expect you to have some understanding of what they do. So do some research the internet is a good place to start.
- Ask questions - You need to see that the company is a good fit for you. Think about of some questions you may want to ask that are relevant to the role you are interviewing for.
- Be enthusiastic - Be enthusiastic about the role that you have done and the one you want to do, understand what that role is and be confident about going forward for it. You would not have been asked for an interview if they didnt see something on your CV that interested them.
- Talk about your experiences - Try to think of experiences that you have been through and how you have made a change or a difference.
- Think about your answers - They will want to hear what you have to say but dont ramble on!
- Be positive - When at an interview remember that the client wants to employ someone, make that person you.
- Give us a call - Call and ask questions of your recruiter to help you with any questions or doubts you may have.
DO NOT cancel at the last minute it will blight your reputation.
Interview Tips - STAR Approach
Competency based interviews - the "STAR" stands for:
* Situation or
It is a universally recognised communication technique to enable you to provide a meaningful and complete answer to questions asking for examples. It has also the advantage of being simple enough to be applied easily.
Many interviewers will have been trained in using the STAR structure. Even if they have not, they will recognise its value when they hear it. The information you provide is now in a structured manner and, as a result, they will become more receptive to the messages you are trying to communicate.
Step 1 - Situation or Task
Describe the situation that you were confronted with or the task that needed to be accomplished. With the STAR approach you need to set the context. Make it concise and informative, concentrating solely on what is useful to the story. For example, if the question is asking you to describe a situation where you had to deal with a difficult person, explain how you came to meet that person and why they were being difficult. If the question is asking for an example of teamwork, explain the task that you undertook as a team.
Step 2 - Action
This is the most important section of the STAR approach as it is where you need to demonstrate and highlight your skills and personal attributes that the question is testing. Now that you have set the context of your story, you need to explain what you did. In doing so, always remember the following:
* Be personal, i.e. talk about you, not the rest of the team
* Be precise but also go into some detail. Do not assume that they will guess what you mean
* Steer clear of technical information, unless it is crucial to your story
* Explain what you did, how you did it, and why you did it
What you did and how you did it
The interviewers will want to hear how you reacted to the situation. This is where you start selling important skills. For example, you may want to describe how you used the team to achieve a particular objective and how you used your communication skills to keep everyone updated on progress etc.
Why you did it
For example; when discussing a situation where you had to deal with conflict, many candidates would simply say: "I told my colleague to calm down and explained to him what the problem was". However it would not provide a good idea of what drove you to act in this manner. How did you explain the nature of the problem? By highlighting the reasons behind your action, you would make a greater impact. For example: "I could sense that my colleague was irritated and I asked him gently to tell me what he felt the problem was. By allowing him to vent his feelings and his anger, I gave him the opportunity to calm down. I then explained to him my own point of view on the matter, emphasising how important it was that we found a solution that suited us both."
This revised answer helps the interviewers understand what drove your actions and reinforces the feeling that you are calculating the consequences of your actions, thus retaining full control of the situation. It provides a greater insight about you as an individual and is another reason why the STAR approach is so useful.
Step 3 - Result
Explain what happened eventually - how it all ended. Also, use this opportunity to describe what you accomplished and what you learnt in that situation. This helps you make the answer personal and enables you to highlight further skills.
Interviewers want to know you are using a variety of generic skills in order to achieve your objectives. Therefore you must be able to demonstrate in your answer you are taking specific actions because you are trying to achieve a specific objective and not simply arriving there by chance.