Preparing for the Big Interview!

Follow this advice when preparing for your interview and turn perspiration into inspiration!

So, you’ve been called to interview and the date is in the diary. You know you’re the best person for the job – you’ve got the skills, experience and personality to be a success..but how do you make sure that your prospective employer sees this too?

We’ve all been there, the interview is over now, you’re on your way home and it’s only now you’re thinking of all those brilliant answers you should have given to the questions you were asked. Maybe it’s because you were under pressure? Well, no – pressure is for tyres, not for excuses. A much more likely reason is inadequate preparation prior to the interview.

Fail To Prepare, Prepare To Fail” I’m sure you’ve heard this quote before and for an interview scenario, it could not be more appropriate. So, if you want to exude confidence and nail your next interview, here’s some handy advice to help you do just that!

Learn your CV and Plan What You’re Going to Say in Advance:

Remember that the person who interviews you may not have read your CV and will need you to talk through it clearly and confidently. Questions you’re asked will be based on what’s on your CV – so tailor your CV to write the script for your own interview.

Have 3 or 4 Strong Answers That You Can Tailor to Various Questions that May Come Up in an Interview Situation (Teamwork, Problem Solving, Managing Conflict etc.)

Remember to be dynamic in the way you deliver your answers – that great example you like to use for questions about teamwork might work just as effectively in response to a question about your organisational skills or dealing with a difficult colleague. With a little tweaking, just a handful of your pre-prepared answers can be used to answer a multitude of competency-based questions!

Use the STAR Technique – This Will Keep Your Answers Structured and Relevant;
  • SITUATION: Give an example of a situation/problem that you/your organisation faced.
  • TASK: Give details of the task at hand and what was required to find a solution.
  • ACTION: The action(s) that you performed in the given situation or task.
  • RESULT: What was the result of your actions? What did you learn from it? Expand further by explaining any corrective/preventative actions you applied.
Read the Job Description Thoroughly to Plan What Answers You’ll Use;

Ascertain what skills and traits the employer is looking for and make sure you reflect these in your responses to their questions.

If You’re Asked to Give an Example of a Weakness, Never Try to Use an Extreme Version of a Strength as an Example;

If you give an answer like “I’m a perfectionist” or “I work too hard” then the chances are it will only sound disingenuous and a bit of a lazy response to their question. A much better approach would be to think of a skill or inexperience that you know could improve upon and then elaborate on how you are working on try to improve on it. Don’t get too caught up in what the example is – what you want to demonstrate here is self-awareness and integrity.

If You’re Asked a Tough Question and you Need a Moment to Think About it, Buy Yourself Some Valuable Time by Saying Something like “Oh, That’s a Very Good Question, Let me Think About that for a Moment.”

Not only have you bought yourself some time to think of your answer, but you’ve also complimented the person interviewing you – and everyone loves a little bit of flattery!

Never Pass up the Offer to ask Questions at the End. Always Ask 2 or 3 Questions to the Interviewer When Offered the Opportunity;

Failure to ask some relevant questions yourself could seriously harm your chances of being selected for the role -Ask a technical question based on the role you’re applying for, it demonstrates you’re aware of what the job involves and you’re interested in this kind of work -Ask about who you’ll be working with to demonstrate interest. Who will I report to? What’s the team like I will be joining? What expectations will they have of me? -Research their core values and mission statement as you want your own profile to align with the company values – plus this shows you have done your homework on them

Finish by Thanking Them for their Time and Make it Clear you Want the Job!

Believe it or not, one of the most common reasons we hear for interview rejections is the candidate did not demonstrate enough enthusiasm for wanting to work there. Make it clear that you want the job and that now you have visited the site and met the people who work there, you are keener than ever to join the team! Always leave the meeting with a warm close; shake hands with the panel and thank them for their time, as this will be their final impression of you before they deliberate – so make sure it’s a good one!

We hope you found some useful information in this article and can apply some of these suggestions in your next interview. And remember, a job interview is not a test of your knowledge, but a test of your ability to use your knowledge at the right time!