Interviews can be stressful and can vary from short informal meetings with one interviewer to several formal meetings with multiple interviewers.
Prepare yourself. By doing your research you will be more comfortable and relaxed.
- Research. Gather information on the position and organisation. Relate your previous duties and experiences with this information. Social media can be used to gain greater insights for preparation. Avoid the temptation to Link or Friend Request the interviewer or other employees of the organisation.
- Plan. Before the interview you should do a practice interview. Ask your recruiter or go through the job description to understand the core competencies relevant to the role. For each, memorise one or two examples from your most recent roles that demonstrate your abilities and successes in each area. Most Recruitment Consultants will be more than happy to guide you through the interview planning by having a practice interview. Pay attention to eye contact, body language and verbal presentation.
- Logistics. Make sure you arrange transport and know the location of the interview before hand. Determine how long it will take you to travel there and give yourself at least 15 – 30 min buffer. Do not be to early, but give time for any formalities. Set out your clothes and have copies of your current resume on hand. Confirm your interview time and location at least a day before.
- Presentation. Look the part, act the part and dress professionally. Business attire, clean shoes, finger nails and clean well groomed hair are essential no matter the role.
Interviewers use behavioural interviewing, a technique that aims to establishing your core competencies relevant to the role, such as teamwork, creativity and innovation, decision making ability, business awareness or conflict resolution.
Sample behavioural interview questions include:
· Describe a situation in which you didn’t meet your set outcome. How did you handle it?
· Tell me about a situation in which you encountered resistance from co-workers or other key interested parties. How did you approach the situation to achieve your set end result?
· Describe a situation in which you took the initiative to change a process or system and make it better. How did you identify the need for this change? How did you go about instituting and communicating the need for the change?
Always bring a spare copy of your resume to the interview. Arrive at least ten minutes early to avoid lateness. Be confident, shake the interviewers hand and smile. Avoid small talk of a personal nature. But some small talk, especially when prompted by interviewer, can be advantageous for your first impression.
Pay attention to body language, sit up straight and keep legs crossed or neatly tucked under chair. Do not cross your arms or lean on the desk. Keep hands softly folded in your lap. Maintain eye contact when talking or being spoken to.
Do not take in your own drink, however, if offered a drink, this could act as a prop to take your time in answering a difficult or complex question. Do not use the words “um” or “erm”. Do not use vulgar language or aggressive/ offensive comments.
Always answer questions honestly, directly and to the point. If you are not certain about a question, do not be afraid to ask if it can be rephrased. Do not interrupt, let the interviewer finish their question and only answer with relevant information.
Some of the more basic question could be:
- Background – Tell us about yourself, previous experiences and background in the industry. If this is your first job application, focus on education, relevant qualifications and any activities such as volunteering in the industry or related industry.
- Reasons for applying – Why are you applying for this role? Answer with what you find appealing about the role and the company.
- Qualifications – Why do you think you are Qualified for this position? Mention relevant, recent qualifications that make you suitable for the position including educational, employment-related and personal. If you do not have the necessary qualifications, focus on experience.
- Experience – What experience do you have in this field? Include details about relevant employment, community or educational experience and a discussion of the nature of the industry, the organisation and the position itself. Rely on your research and link it back to the key criteria for the role.
- Objectives- Where do you see yourself in the future? Be comfortable in discussing your long-term goals. Link them back to the role. Do not go into personal goals such as getting married, having children or buying a house. Keep it professional
- The Curve Ball – What would you do in a crisis? This type of questioning is to determine your ability in stressful situations or moments of crisis. Research the most likely types of crises the organisation could experience and formulate a response using a past experience. Do not use a “what I would do” response.
End of the interview
Towards the end of the interview, you will usually be asked if you have any questions of your own.
· Are there training opportunities?
· Are there opportunities for personal and professional development?
· When can I expect to hear from you?
· What results are expected from me? Will I have set KPIs?
At the end, thank the interviewer for their time. While decisions and job offers are usually made some time after the interview(s), if an offer of employment be made at the conclusion of any interview you attend, ask whether the offer will be confirmed in writing. Also, it is not unreasonable to request a short period of time to consider the offer before formally accepting.