Great answers to difficult interview questions - The Careers Group, University of London

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Workshop presentation by careers consultants from The Careers Group at The London Graduate Fair 2012. Covers different types of interviews and strategies for answering their questions and making an impact. -

See more at: http://www.careerstagged.co.uk

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Great answers to difficult interview questions - The Careers Group, University of London

  1. 1. 1 Interviews Robert Donovan and Mark De Freitas
  2. 2. 2 Introduction • Different stages / types • Employer’s perspective • Preparation • Types of questions • Making an Impact • Interaction
  3. 3. 3 Different stages / types of interviews Association of Graduate Recruiters survey of their 900 members • Preliminary telephone interview (used by 46% of AGR members) – graduate recruitment staff – outsourced to specialist agencies • 1st round interviews (61%) – On campus / regional centres / head office • Assessment centres (90%) – Further interviews / case studies/ group tasks / presentations/ written exercises • One to one or panel?
  4. 4. 4 The Employer’s agenda • To verify the claims in your application form and to dig deeper… • Can you do the job? – qualifications, experience, skills… • Do you want to do the job? – knowledge of organisation / department, job knowledge, motivation, enthusiasm • Will you fit in? – values, attitude, personality
  5. 5. 5 Types of Questions • biographical • motivational • behavioural/ competency • brainteasers/ hypothetical • technical See example interview questions handout
  6. 6. 6 Practise interview scenario 1 • group yourself into 3’s and assign following roles: interviewer, candidate and observer • STAY IN THE SAME ROLE FOR ALL QUESTIONS Observer’s feedback: • focus on ‘first impressions’ • other: structure, length/ clarity of answer
  7. 7. 7 Making an impact • what we say • how we say it •unspoken signals • walk confidently into the interview and shake hands. • make eye contact and smile • use mirroring techniques – e.g. leaning forward, laughing • stay alert – sit upright, nod • don’t stare or look down • slow your movements • breathe
  8. 8. 8 Competency Question Strategy Can you do the job..? – behavioural / competency • You need to prepare evidence of the personal qualities that are required for the role – eg teamwork, interpersonal communication, research etc • STAR – Situation – Task – Action (What you did) – Result (& Reflection) 10% 10% 70% 10%
  9. 9. 9 ‘Tell me about a time when you showed good organisational skills and the ability to plan effectively.’ Scoring between 1 and 4 • planning and anticipating problems in advance • prioritising in order of importance • scheduling time/ resources eg – project status documentation, rdaily activity lists • delegating/ assigning tasks • taking timely decisions • supervising/ overseeing • reviewing performance - eg milestones, progress meetings • supervising and overseeing • coping/ persevering in face of obstacles • meeting deadlines
  10. 10. 10 Provide evidence from a range of sources Evidence required by employer: • research ability, an analytical approach to work and problemsolving skills • communication skills including presentation, persuasion and diplomacy skills Examples: – Degree/ thesis/ tutorial presentations – student society/ part-time & voluntary work/ careers workshops – Summer internship • team working and interpersonal skills – elected Postgraduate rep • organisational skills – Fund raising for local charity • commercial awareness – Student football team captain
  11. 11. 11 Interviews preparation Evidence required: Examples • research ability, an analytical – Degree/ thesis/ tutorial approach to work and problempresentations solving skills – student society/ part-time & • Communication skills including voluntary work/ careers presentation, persuasional and workshops diplomacy skills – Summer internship • team working and interpersonal – elected Postgraduate rep skills – Fund raising for local charity • organisational skills to meet – Student football team deadlines and work under pressure • Commercial awareness
  12. 12. 12 Practice interview 2
  13. 13. 13 Difficult questions • Tell me about yourself • What are your weaknesses? • How many hairs are there on a dog? • What is the angle between the clock hands at 4.30? • Are you applying to our competitors? • Why should we employ you? • What are your salary expectations?
  14. 14. 14 Practice interview 3
  15. 15. 15 Your questions..... • Can you give me a fuller picture of your training programme? • Can you tell me what roles the graduates recruited in the last 3 years are now doing? • I understand your firm operates appraisals – can you tell me more? • What are the possibilities of using my xyz skills? • I read that your company is going to do abc, but I do have a further question… • In your annual report I notice that…
  16. 16. 16 Hints and tips - preparation • re-read your application – what might interest/ worry an interviewer • familiarise yourself with job description/ person specification – what skills, qualities and experience are they looking for? what examples can you give? – plan key points you want to make • research the company and the sector – what: usp’s, customers, competitors, ‘swot’, values – where: website, annual report; industry press presentations, fairs, alumni
  17. 17. 17 Hints and tips - general if it seems to be going wrong • keep calm if interviewer is aggressive / doesn’t seem to like you • ask for a question to be rephrased if necessary • don’t know the answer? offer sensible guess / ask for a clue • try not to panic – you are unlikely to fail because of one answer closing the sale • Ask them questions, thank them, know what the next step is afterwards • review your performance and ask for feedback
  18. 18. 18 Further resources and Careers service support • 1:1 practice interviews with a careers adviser – on confirmation of ‘real employer interview’ • The Careers Group: ‘How to succeed at interviews’ booklet • video guides: – how to succeed in interviews and assessment centres • ‘Top answers to tough questions’ – Matthew J Deluca/ John Lees • employer/ CA led interview skills workshops

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