Acing the Interview


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This course is designed to help you solidly prepare for your next interview. It gives you tips on how to anticipate interview questions, offers advice on how to tackle commonly asked questions, and proposes an effective method for structuring answers.

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Acing the Interview

  1. 1. + Acing the Interview
  2. 2. + Keys to a successful interview 1/3 1. Learn as much about the company and position as you can before the interview.  Your knowledge of the company reflects how interested you are in them.  Closely read the company website, social media pages, press releases and the job advert/description.  Where possible, talk to someone who knows about the company for additional information.  Research your interviewers on LinkedIn to find out more about their jobs and backgrounds. This may help you anticipate the nature of the questions. For example, if the interviewer is a line manager, the questions may be more detailed and technical in nature than if the interview is conducted by an HR manager.
  3. 3. + Keys to a successful interview 2/3 2. Try to anticipate questions that will be asked.  Your research about the company may reveal certain competencies or skills that the company values. Think about how your experiences translate into those competencies.  For each criteria on the job description/ advertisement, think of concrete examples or stories which demonstrate how you meet that requirement. Highlight the positive contribution you have made to your previous organizations. Wherever possible, quantify the achievement in terms of numbers and percentages. For example, you reduced costs by 20%.
  4. 4. + Keys to a successful interview 3/3 3. Sell yourself.  Convince the interviewer that you will be an asset to the organization.  Demonstrate how you’ve been an asset in the past by illustrating examples of how you’ve increased profitability, efficiency, quality, safety etc. 4. Practice, Practice, Practice!  The more you do it, the more comfortable you will get at it. Arrange for a mock interview. 5. Be CONFIDENT about yourself.  You must believe in yourself, if not, how can you expect the interviewer to have confidence in you?
  5. 5. + The Basics  Be on time!  Dress appropriately  Bring along  Extra copies of your resume and professional references  A pen and paper  Business cards  Turn off your cell phone  Show enthusiasm  Make eye contact  Speak in a confident voice  Ask questions when offered the opportunity.  Smile!
  6. 6. + 4 Types of Interview Information 1/4 The information an interviewer may try to elicit from you can fall into four broad categories. Any interview may contain all four types of information in varying degrees. 1. Credentials and Technical  Assesses level of cognitive capability  Designed to determine whether the candidate has the requisite skills and knowledge for the job.  Used to determine whether or not the candidate can carry out the technical aspects of the job.  Sample questions:  What degree(s) do you hold?  What did you major in?  Do you have a valid driver’s license?  How many people were in the team you managed at your last position?  By what percent did you exceed your target sales last year?  What was the size of the budget you managed last year?
  7. 7. + 4 Types of Interview Information 2/4 2. Experience  Provides a big picture of what the candidate has done in the past.  Is related to work experience.  Addresses the situations from which behaviors can be discovered.  Sample questions:  Describe the duties of your previous position.  What were your responsibilities?  How do you react when you have a disagreement with your boss?  What is your experience with making presentations to a large audience?  What experience do you have preparing documents for senior management?
  8. 8. + 4 Types of Interview Information 3/4 3. Opinions or Situational/ Hypothetical/ Theoretical Responses  Probes into what a candidate thinks about a specific topic.  Based on the theory that a person’s hypothetical response reflects how they would behave in reality.  Sample questions:  What are your strengths and weaknesses?  How would you handle a conflict between two co-workers?  What is the most important part of your current job?  How would you correct a situation with an angry customer?
  9. 9. + 4 Types of Interview Information 4/4 4. Behavioral  Behavioral questions are designed to get the candidate to talk about specific experiences from their past and the action they took during those experiences.  Sample questions:  Tell me about a difficult problem you faced and how you solved it.  Tell me about a time when you contributed a new and better way of doing something.  Tell me about a time when you were able to gain someone’s agreement to an idea or proposal, despite their initial resistance.  Tell me about a time when you were especially challenged by multiple, competing priorities. How did you handle the situation? Describe your results.
  10. 10. + Behavioral Based Interviewing  Behavioral interviewing is a structured interview that focuses on specific experiences from the candidate’s past that give an indication as to how s/he will perform on the job in the future.  A behavioral interview my contain all four types of information, but will pay special attention to behavioral questions.  The technique of asking a candidate about past behavior helps gauge whether the candidate has the requisite skills, knowledge, behaviors for the job.  There are three principles to follow:  Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior  The more recent the behavior, the more predictive it is.  The more frequent the behavior, the stronger it predicts future behavior.
  11. 11. + Your answers 1/2  Address the question asked! Make sure you are actually answering the question being asked. If needed, ask for clarifications. Be concise and don’t go off on tangents.  Provide specific examples. Come prepared with several stories that highlight your accomplishments and uniqueness. Through these stories, you should demonstrate that you possess qualities like good judgment, initiative, teamwork, leadership. Wherever possible, quantify your achievements, i.e. reduced delivery time to two days.  Be honest. If you don’t have a specific skill, say it, don’t dodge the question. Mention any related skills you may have.  Steer the questions your way. Although you should be direct and answer the questions asked, answer the questions with information that you want to provide. Make sure you don’t provide information that makes for a reason to not hire you. For example, an interviewer may ask you if you prefer to work independently or in teams. Don’t pick one! In reality, most jobs require individuals to work in both situations. Your answer should reflect how you have been successful both working in teams and independently.
  12. 12. + Your answers 2/2  Keep a positive tone. Avoid complaining about previous employers.  In your answers, try to reflect the following:  You have the right skills for the job  You have an understanding of the organization and its purpose  You are better than your competition  You have a positive, can-do attitude  You are interested in the job and organization
  13. 13. + CAR Interviewing Technique  In the context of a behavioral question, the CAR technique is a good way to make sure the interviewer has enough information about your experiences. Follow this easy technique in your response to any behavioral question.  C-Context  Explain the situation in which the action took place. Help the interviewer to understand how critical or pressured the situation was.  A-Action  Tell the interviewer what YOU personally did to make the situation a success.  R-Result  Describe the results in terms of what you achieved or what you made happen.
  14. 14. + Common Questions  Tell me about yourself  Make sure you prepare a response for this common beginning to many interviews.  Write out your response and rehearse it before the interview.  It gives the interviewer a quick introduction to who you are and an indication of what kind of first impression you leave. Use it as an opportunity to stand out from everyone else.  Avoid personal and irrelevant information.  Be succinct. Talk about 2 to 3 achievements that are interesting and relevant.  In your response,  Highlight your most noteworthy accomplishments. Tell the interviewer memorable stories that highlight your attributes.  Focus your response on information that the interviewer will be most interested in: what you are capable of accomplishing on the job, how well you will fit into the team, what you have achieved in your past experiences that would prove beneficial to your future role.  Speak of things that would help to convince the interviewer that you are qualified for the position. Match your qualifications, skills, accomplishments to what the interviewer is looking for.
  15. 15. + Common questions 1/2  Why do you want this job?  Focus on why you are a good fit for this position.  You see a good match between the position requirements and your skills and experience.  You have a keen interest in the sector/ product  You admire the company for its reputation  You are excited about the position and looking forward to a challenge  What are your weaknesses?  Describe an aspect of a previous job that you found difficult, and outline the concrete steps you took to overcome that difficulty.  What are your strengths?  Focus on skills that you know the organization is looking for. This information can usually be found in the job advert.
  16. 16. + Common Questions 2/2  What are your salary expectations?  Avoid this question until you’ve reached the job offer stage. If you are probed, give a wide and realistic range, and say that salary shouldn’t be a problem.  Do you have any questions?  The questions you ask are an indication of your level of interest in the company. Show the interview that you have not only researched the company, but also the specific role.
  17. 17. + Interview Rounds  You will very likely go through around 3 rounds of interviews before you get offered a job. Here’s a brief break down of what you can expect at each round:  1st Interview:  Focus is on whether the candidate meets the basic job requirements (qualifications, presentation, salary)/ whether you have the technical capability to carry out the job.  2nd Interview  Here, the interviewer will be looking further into specific examples of accomplishments in your previous work history.  It is also an opportunity for the interviewer to make sure the candidate understands the details of the position, the nature of the work, and the compensation.  3rd Interview:  Used to determine if the candidate is a right fit.
  18. 18. + Follow up  Follow up the interview with an email thanking the interviewer, restating your interest in the position and remind the interviewer of what valuable traits you can bring to the organization.
  19. 19. + Additional Resources  100 potential interview questions Questions/100-Potential-Interview-Questions/article.aspx
  20. 20. + THANK YOU. Copyright: