Need help to succeed at a job interview?
Preparation is key to successful interviewing
It helps to practice answering some of the questions often asked by interviewers covering some of the issues that concern employers today:
- How do you think you could add value to this company
- If we contacted one of your colleagues, what would they say about you?
- It seems your company went into liquidation, which key factors caused this?
- It appears you have held quite a number of jobs, why do you suppose this is?
We recommend the STAR-L approach when responding to interview questions:
Situation: Outline a situation where you used the required
skills or qualities.
Task: What was your role and what did you have to do?
Action: What did you do and how did you do it?
Result: What did you achieve? What were the results?
Learning: What did you learn. What would you do differently next time?
Interview preparation will help you respond easily and convincingly to the above and other questions that can be tailored to your level of career.
Sell yourself! This is no time to hold back! A successful interview technique is to give an example of one of your achievements that relates directly to and would be beneficial to the company.
If a recent graduate and you are interviewing for a job involving teamwork, explain how during your degree you joined in / led team projects involving sharing ideas, allocating resources, and supporting each other to deliver a presentation with a high 2:1 result.
Interviewing tips and some guiding principles:
- Listen carefully to the questions, and think through your reply before responding
- If you don't understand a question, ask for it to be repeated, and don't panic!
- Before speaking, consider: "Will my answer demonstrate my suitability for the role"
- Support what you say with a specific example
- Choose a topic that is easy to explain and easy for the interviewer to grasp
- Provide a balanced answer (a) a beginning - set the background situation, (b) what you actually did and (c) always end with a positive outcome
- Pause, measure your words, be concise, avoid repetition, don't be negative. Keep light and bright - present a confident, relaxed demeanor
- Always end on a positive note; you are paid for bottom line result and this is what recruiters notice and remember during and after the interview
Questions to ask
At the end of the interview demonstrate your interest and confidence by asking the questions relevant to the job; for example: what systems do you use, how do you measure performance, what challenges does the company face, are there any current issues to be resolved, etc. Asking questions now might save finding out you are in the wrong job later!
Here is a question an Interviewer might ask to assess CONCEPTUAL THINKING. It seeks to identify the degree to which a job applicant can recognise an opportunity and use initiative to improve business performance by identifying key issues and recommending proposals.
Question: Describe a situation where you were able to identify and suggest a solution to a problem. What was the problem? What did you suggest? What was the outcome?
Sample interview answer
When I joined the company I did some competitor research and noticed that the other businesses were winning clients by using a tele-sales strategy, whereas this company relied on online applications. We were the only business in the market not using a tele-sales approach to generate business
I suggested we trial tele-sales approach as competitors appeared to be doing well. I presented a proposal to my directors which involved paying for 200 leads on people with debt problems - at a cost of £2K. I did a cost benefit analysis which indicated that if just one lead turned into a case we would achieve a good ROI.
We are currently implementing the tele-sales strategy and although it is early days the indications are that we will exceed profit forecastsî.
Follow this link to see more examples of questions for the most popular job categories.
Feedback on interview answer
This answer to the question was excellent as it demonstrated the candidate's drive, initiative and commercial awareness. It is clear to see that a future employer would be lucky to have this person on their team!
So how else can we ensure your success?
With 1-to-1 Advice. We offer a 1-2-1 interview consultancy tailored to you, your career aspirations and the job you want.
Although interviewing is something of an art form, it is definitely one that can be learned or improved quite quickly. Your consultant is highly trained to stimulate your awareness of the skills and capabilities required, and advise you how to improve your all round presentation.
Together we fine tune the skills necessary to build a rapport with interviewer, and demonstrate your ability and confidence through attractive communication techniques.
- We will help you prepare to . .
- think ahead to anticipate the information interviewers require
- take control of your nerves and convey a confident manner
- adapt your tone and emphasis to convey different meaning
- build into the conversation examples of your competencies and achievements
- provide a compelling insight into your skills and how you add value use positive phraseology which places you in charge
- handle the trickiest questions with confidence and polish
- build rapport by using the power of your voice to add impact and be influential
- communicate effectively and present your ideas for maximum effecct
- address any weak areas without jeopardising your success
Words are just part of the process. We will advise you of unintentional messages you might send by your visual presentation, expression, body language, attitude, warmth of manner and level of receptivity. You'll learn how to overcome nerves by looking and feeling confident, and ensure you make a positive impression.
What format does the interview consultation take?
Your consultant will review your CV and the job, and brainstorm with you the personality characteristics and specific key competencies required. The consultation comprises a mock question and answer interview
There will be plenty of opportunity to talk through any concerns you may have about the interview (for instance, questions or issues you anticipate having difficulty with)
Guidance and support with answering interview questions in the best way will be provided throughout the consultation. Immediately following the session, you will receive a detailed written report - constructive feedback on your performance
The report will highlight the positive aspect of your interview, together with recommendations on how to improve your presentation, ensure you send out the right messages and show your creative and original character
A follow-up interview consultation will be scheduled to discuss the outcome of your interview, and define and summarise areas for future development.
In essence, we provide the essential
guidance to improve your chances of success.
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