Ace Your Interview (2)

​How To Ace Your Next Interview

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You can never be over-prepared for an interview, however it can be difficult to know what you have to prepare for if you are dealing with employers directly, rather than applying via a recruitment agent. An interviewer can tell if you’ve done your preparation and it shows that you are genuinely interested in both the role and the company.

To maximise your chances of interview success, you’ll need a combination of technical knowledge and interpersonal skills. Your preparation should include:

Researching the organisation

●      What exactly do they do?

●      Who are their competitors?

●      What does their business consist of?

Researching the individuals

Use social media such as LinkedIn to look at the employees.

●      What roles do they do?

●      What are their backgrounds?

●      Who do they interact with?

With this preparation done, think about your own experience, how it complements the business and bear this in mind for use when framing your questions to the organisation and of course, answering their questions to you.

Before the interview

Ensure that you have researched how you will get to the interview, logistics e.g. what is parking like in the vicinity and plan to arrive with at least 15 minutes to spare.

Have a mobile phone with you in case of any last minute issues, however ensure the phone is switched off or silenced prior to entering the building.

First impressions are hugely important so ensure you dress appropriately for the interview in business attire. Avoid wearing overpowering perfume/aftershave and refrain from smoking, strong smelling foods/drinks prior to your interview.

The actual interview

Interviews normally take one of two formats:

Traditional/Biographical Interview is where the interviewer will ask you questions about your experience based on your CV/Application Form and will explore the descriptions you’ve given and any gaps in your employment.

Competency/Behavioural Interview is where the interviewer is looking to assess your abilities/experiences against the untrainable aspects of their vacancy and they will look for specific examples of where you have demonstrated a required skill.

STAR Technique is the method best placed to answer behavioural style questions.

Situation – Be specific and outline the situation ideally giving an example from a professional experience. If you cannot think of a work related example, a personal experience that matches the criteria is acceptable.

Task Required – What was required of you either as a team or an individual? Explain objectives, targets, KPI’s, deadlines and why it was required/consequences of inaction.

Action – Be specific and explain what part you played in the process? What did you do? Why did you do it? What actions did you take?

Result – What was the result? Did you meet your objectives? Were you happy with the outcome? Could you have done anything differently? How did you analyse your performance?

Your questions

Interviews should not be a one way process, you are also interviewing a prospective employer so take the opportunity to ask all the questions you need to make an informed decision, before leaving the meeting.

If your interview has been very interactive then it can sometimes be hard to think of additional questions to ask, so it is always a good idea to keep some questions up your sleeve for the end of the interview. Some examples of this are:

●      Show interest in the position by asking why the position is vacant? Is it a replacement of a leaver/ promotion, a newly created role or a new project/ development?

●      What are the company expectations of this role/ individual? What do they see as the longer term progression/career path of the position being?

●      What is the working environment/current team dynamics like? How would you fit in based upon your interview?

●      What are the challenges the business currently face and what do they perceive them to be over the next 12 months? What would be your part in overcoming these challenges?

●      Get the interviewer talking and ask them what they enjoy about the company, what challenges did they face as a new employee and what advice they would offer to a new start.

On closing, if you feel positive about the meeting, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback on how you’ve performed at interview. Reiterate your interest in the position, ask them if they require any further clarification or expansion on your experiences, and gain commitment on what the next process or decision timeline will be.

Useful tips

●      Arrive in good time, dressed to impress and greet your interviewer with a firm handshake and a smile.

●      Remain positive in both your question answering and in your personal body language.

●      Be prepared by researching the company, business and people beforehand and be ready to demonstrate your interest/suitability.

●      Avoid just answering yes/no and give examples of where you’ve utilised a particular skill/experience.

●      Have questions ready for the end of the interview and don’t be afraid to tell them why you’re the right candidate for the position.