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Interview Advice and Questions

Interview Advice and Questions

A job interview can occur in a range of different ways and knowing exactly what the format of your interview will be, is absolutely vital to your chance of acing the interview.

Whether you are going to your first ever interview, of you are a seasoned professional, the different methods of interviewing are constantly evolving. So making sure you know how it’s being done and preparing accordingly cannot be under-estimated.

Interviews can be in the form of:

Interviews can be in the form of:

  • Face to face

  • Over the telephone

  • Assessment or role play on the day

  • Assessment online in form of a test or presentation

Key areas of advice when interviewing:

  • Know the interview format before the interview takes place

  • Research the company, you can never be too prepared make sure to check: their website,

  • LinkedIn profile and social media accounts to get up- to-date information and news

  • Prepare for competency-based interview questions (see page 2 for this)

  • Prepare questions to ask on the business, the job and the working environment.

  • Research where the offices are based and work out your travel plans to ensure you get there

  • on time.

  • Dress smartly, first impressions count.

  • Upon arrival, be polite to the person at the receptionist desk, all impressions count.

  • When you meet with the interviewer make sure to make good eye contact, a welcoming

  • smile and a professional handshake. Positive body language is important to show that you

  • are engaged and present.

  • If you do not fully understand a question, or you misheard it, do not be afraid to ask for the

  • question again.

  • Make sure you answer the questions you are being asked in a thought through, concise

  • manor. Being hesitant or withheld will raise concerns and make the interviewer feel

  • unsettled or untrusting of your answers.

  • Show enthusiasm and passion- express your interest in the role.

How to approach competency-based interview questions

Interviewers use competency questions to have candidates show how they have performed in various situations in the past, revealing individual personality traits. These are a great help for interviewers interested in finding out exactly who a candidate is and how they may act if employed.

Rule of thumb is that there are 10 key competencies which interviewers often focus on.

  1. Communication

  2. Decision making

  3. Leadership

  4. Results orientation

  5. Teamwork

  6. Trustworthiness

  7. Responsibility

  8. Commercial awareness

  9. Professional development

  10. Technical skills

When preparing, it is important you use specific situations/scenarios from your experiences to answer these questions appropriately.

You should explore the skills and competencies that you will be asked about. As an example, if the Job description states that you require good communication skills when dealing with customers, the role is likely to involve complaints handling- so you will need to highlight skills such as assertiveness, empathy, listening skills etc and then give an example from your past experience which demonstrates that you possess that skills.

Use the STAR technique- Think:

Situation, Task, Action, Result

This will help you tell a story in a concise manner or Use the CAR technique:

Context- describe the situation and the task you were faced with, when, where with whom Action, Result Action- How? what action did you take? Result- What results did you achieve? What did you learn from the experience?

Typical Interview Questions

These can also vary from client to client and will depend on whether the interview is based on specific skills/ abilities, competency focused, requirement based or personality profiling.

  • What do you know about our business?

  • Why would you want to work for our business?

  • Where and what research have you done to find out about our company / current projects?

  • What do you think our company / job can offer you differently to your current one?

  • Why are you looking to leave your current / previous roles?

  • What would you say to your current company if they were to counter offer you upon

  • resignation from the business?

  • What 3 words would your friends and ex work colleague use to describe you?

  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?

  • Where do you see yourself in 1, 3 and 5 years time?

  • What are your main professional/personal achievements to date?

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