Congratulations on securing a face-to-face interview! Below you will find a number of tools and techniques which you may find useful.
The two key elements to successful interviewing are:
Preparation is essential and increases your chances of performing well at any interview.
Here are some tips on interview preparation:
- Ensure you have a detailed understanding of the position description, the team environment and the organisation – ask for a position description to be emailed to you prior to the interview.
- Conduct additional research regarding the organisation through viewing their website. Understand its products/services, size, locations, financial situation and growth potential.
- Ensure you dress in a professional manner.
- Know the exact place and time of the interview, the interviewer’s full name and the correct pronunciation and his/her title.
- Spend 30 minutes reviewing your resume/experience and it’s relevance to the position description. Identify specific examples in your background that are directly relevant to the position description and that demonstrate your ability to do the job. Refresh your memory regarding details of present and past employers and your work history in their companies, including key achievements.
- Be prepared to convey to the interviewer: why this role appeals to you, why they should consider you for this role and what makes you a bit different from other candidates.
- Prepare the questions YOU will ask during the interview. The employer will try to determine through questioning if you have the qualifications necessary to do the job. You can also use the opportunity to determine through selective questioning whether the company will give you the opportunity for the growth and development you seek.
Here are examples of probing questions you might ask:
- What would a normal day in this role look like?
- Why is the position available?
- How would you describe your organisational culture?
- What induction and training programs does the organisation offer?
- What sort of people have done well in this team/organisation?
- How is the company positioned against its competitors?
- What is this vision for the future? What are the plans, if any, for growth or expansion?
- What are the three things that would make someone an outstanding success in this role?
- How well do you think I match the requirements of the role?
- What is the next step in the process?
Preparing for the Structure and Style of the Interview
Competency Based Interviews
Competency / Behavioural based interviews are the most common style of interviewing.
Competency / Behavioural based interviewing, requires you to draw on past experience and describe specific examples of situations that demonstrate your competence in a particular area. The most effective way of answering these questions is to use the “STAR” technique:
Situation – briefly describe the background to the situation
Task – specifically describe your responsibility
Action – describe what you did
Result – describe the outcome of your actions.
Ideally it is a good idea to have 8 – 10 specific examples that relate to the core behavioural competencies required in role. This will ensure you can provide an appropriate example if required.
You may be required to provide between one and three real-life examples to validate one particular competence.
There are many websites that can provide examples of competency / behavioural based interview questions. Do some research to assist in your preparation.
Some standard HR Questions that maybe asked are:
1. What are your career aspirations?
2. Why do you want to work for our company?
3. What interests you about our product/service?
4. Of your previous jobs, which did you enjoy most and why?
5. How have you managed conflict in the past?
6. Describe what you have done in your career that shows your initiative.
7. What are your weaknesses? Your strengths?
8. What does teamwork mean to you?
9. What style of management gets the best from you?
10. What have been your major achievements to date?
Remember that you are being interviewed because the interviewer wants to hire somebody – not because he/she wants to trip you up or embarrass you. Through the interaction which takes place during the interview, he/she will be searching out your strengths and weaknesses, evaluating you on your qualifications, skills and intellectual qualities and he/she will probably probe deeply to determine your attitudes, aptitudes, stability, motivation and maturity.
Your Style and Behaviour
During your interview, the employer will be evaluating your total performance, not just your answers. Listed below are some factors and mannerisms that will usually produce a positive reaction from a prospective employer.
1. Interested balanced approach.
2. Ability to express thoughts clearly.
3. Career planning and objectives.
5. Informative replies.
6. Tact, maturity, courtesy.
7. Maintenance of eye contact.
8. Firm handshake.
9. Intelligent questions about the job / environment / organisation.
10. Preparation and knowledge of the company/industry.
11. Enthusiasm for the role and the organisation.
12. Positive, “can-do” attitude.
- Plan to arrive on time or a few minutes early.
- Greet the interviewer by his/her first name.
- Wait until you are offered a chair before sitting. Sit upright in your chair. Look alert and interested at all times. Be a good listener as well as a good talker. Smile.
- Maintain eye contact.
- Follow the interviewer’s leads but try to get the interviewer to describe the position and the duties to you early in the interview so that you can relate your background and skills to the position.
- Make sure that your good points get across to the interviewer in a factual, sincere manner. Keep in mind that you alone can sell yourself to an interviewer. Make him/her realise the need for you in his/her organisation. Smile.
- Always conduct yourself as if you are determined to get the job you are discussing. Never close the door on an opportunity. It is better to be in the position where you can choose from a number of jobs rather than only one.
- Answer questions with a simple “yes” or “no”. Explain whenever possible.
- Lie. Answer questions truthfully, frankly and as much to the point as possible.
- Ever make derogatory remarks about your present or former employers or companies.
- “Over-answer” questions. The interviewer may steer the conversation into politics or economics. It is best to answer the questions, honestly, trying not to say more than is necessary.
- Let your discouragement show. If you get the impression that the interview is not going well and that you have already been rejected, don’t show discouragement or alarm. Once in a while an interviewer who is genuinely interested in your possibilities may seem to discourage you in order to test your reaction.
- Enquire about salary, bonuses or holidays at the first interview unless you are positive the employer is interested in hiring you and raises the issue first. However, you should know your market value and be prepared to specify your required salary or range.
Closing the Interview
1. If you are interested in the position, make sure you tell the interviewer that.
2. Thank the interviewer for his/her time and consideration of you. You have done all you can if you have answered the two questions uppermost in his/her mind:
- Why are you interested in the job and the company?
- What can you offer to the role? Smile.