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OFFICEANGELSINTErVIEwTIPSOffice Angels Interview Tips |
CONTENTS1. InTervIews                                  p32. hOw TO prepAre fOr An InTervIews            p53. reseArchIng A...
1. INTErVIEwSBeing selected for interview is one of the most important targets of any jobsearch. But if you want to achiev...
1. INTErVIEwS•Speak clearly and distinctively and make sure that your voice      •Negotiate your salary or terms of employ...
2. HOw TO PrEPArE FOr AN      INTErVIEwIf you really want to shine during an interview, you need to make sure you’re fully...
3. rESEArCHING A COmPANYwhen it comes to looking for a new job, it’s essential that you know about thecompanies you’re app...
4. DrESS FOr SUCCESSYour clothes, hair, shoes and other personal grooming habits will revealimportant facts about who you ...
5. BODY LANGUAGEIt’s not just what you say in the interview that counts: your body language cangive so much away without y...
6. TrADITIONAL INTErVIEwS             - Questions you might be asked and how to answer themAt Office Angels, we always mak...
7. COmPETENCY BASED INTErVIEwS             - Questions you might be asked and how to answer themCompetency based interview...
8. QUESTIONS TO ASK AT AN INTErVIEwBefore an interview, you should always prepare some questions to put to theinterviewer....
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Interview Tips


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Office Angels give their best interview tips to job seekers.

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Interview Tips

  1. 1. OFFICEANGELSINTErVIEwTIPSOffice Angels Interview Tips |
  2. 2. CONTENTS1. InTervIews p32. hOw TO prepAre fOr An InTervIews p53. reseArchIng A cOmpAny p64. dress fOr success p75. bOdy lAnguAge p86. TrAdITIOnAl InTervIews p97. cOmpeTency bAsed InTervIews p108. quesTIOns TO Ask AT InTervIews p11Office Angels Interview Tips | Page 2 of 11
  3. 3. 1. INTErVIEwSBeing selected for interview is one of the most important targets of any jobsearch. But if you want to achieve the ultimate target of landing that dream job,you need to be prepared.what is the purpose of an interview? are saying about them, and draw on that knowledge during theAn interview is a two-way process, giving both you and interview.the interviewer an opportunity to swap information aboutexperiences and expectations. The interviewer will want to find Anticipate likely questionsout how well you could perform the job and whether you are Anticipating any questions that you’re likely to be asked, andthe right fit for their organisation. preparing the best responses to tackle these, will help you to feel more confident – even if you’re still nervous. There areYour aim is to convince the interviewer that you’re the best some standard questions that you’re likely to be asked in oneperson for the job, whilst also finding out what it would be like form or another – questions about work, the job you’re beingto work there and whether it’s the right company for you. interviewed for and your life outside of work.Think about it from the interviewer’s point of view You should also prepare some questions to ask them in order to•what are they looking for? demonstrate your interest: •How did this job vacancy come about?•How will they assess you? •How do they see the role developing?•what questions are they most likely to ask? •what are the challenges facing the team/department/•How can you convince them that you are the best person for organisation? the job and the organisation? •what would they expect you to achieve in the first three•what evidence have you got to support that? months?different types of interview •Are there any challenges in this role that you should be madeInterviews are always part of the selection process, but they aware of?don’t always follow the same format. You might be interviewedover the phone, by a panel of people, or be asked to take To prepare you for these questions, we have an interviewassessment tests. Either way your Office Angels consultant will simulator as part of our virtual branch.always tell you what you can expect, including: check the practicalities•How many interviews you’ll have and with how many interviewers It’s important to confirm the arrangements and timings of any interviews that you’ll be attending. Finding the venue•The name and job titles of your interviewers – memorise beforehand is always a good idea, as it minimises any risk of them if you can getting lost, whilst also allowing you to see how long the journey•who else you are likely to meet and when will take. You’ll feel more confident if you know: •which building the interview will be held in•If there will be any psychometric assessments, and if so which type •Parking facilities or train times•If you will be expected to deliver any presentations •Dress code and working atmospherepreparing for interviews Improving your interview techniqueGroundwork and thorough preparation will really pay off, but The first few minutes are crucial as they strongly influence howyou need to look beyond the job that you are applying for to the interviewer perceives you. Fortunately, appearing confidentunderstand the organisation as a whole and the environment is a skill you can learn:in which it operates. Find out as much as you can about the •Start with a firm handshake, looking the interviewer in the by searching Google and seeing what other people Use a positive voice and be aware of your body language.Office Angels Interview Tips | Page 3 of 11
  4. 4. 1. INTErVIEwS•Speak clearly and distinctively and make sure that your voice •Negotiate your salary or terms of employment until you have sounds warm, especially if the job involves communication been offered the job skills. •Pressurise your interviewer for a decision – nobody likes to be•Be enthusiastic about the job and the prospect of working for put on the spot them. OA’s top tips for interview success•Smile and use hand gestures and facial expressions to emphasise your enthusiasm and to support what you are •Get a good night’s rest before each interview so that you’re saying. at your best•Keep enough eye contact to establish sincerity. •Be on time or arrive early. Arriving late suggests you may always be late for workThey want to know why you should get the job •Take a mobile in case of unexpected delays – but switch it offso… when you get there•Use convincing STAr examples (Situation, Task, Action, •Pay attention to how you look – your clothes and personal result) to show what you’ve achieved in previous grooming make an impression organisations and what you could contribute to this one •Limit hand luggage to a good quality briefcase or portfolio•Talk positively about results and benefits, profitability and productivity to convince the interviewer that you are •Take a notebook, file or diary to write down key issues and determined to succeed questions•Get your points across in a factual but sincere way •Look as if you already belong in the organisation •read company press releases, brochures and notice boardsremember that most interviewers don’t set out to catch you for up-to-date informationout. It’s their job to ask challenging, probing questions so theyget to know you better. They need to find out about you and closing the interviewhow you’d fit in with the job and the organisation. Before you leave the interview, shake hands and thank theyou can improve your interview technique by… interviewer(s) for the chance to learn more about the job and the organisation. Send a brief thank you letter or email to your•Listening attentively to questions and thinking about your interviewer within a day or so, but keep it simple: reply before you speak (even if you have rehearsed it) •Say how much you enjoyed the interview•Answering questions with more than a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ – the interviewer is trying to get to know you •Confirm that you are still very interested in them and the job•Asking for clarification if you don’t understand a question – •Stress what a good fit you are for the organisation asking them to explain or rephrase a question shows good communication skills on your part This is a good opportunity to show your communication skills and a chance to mention any relevant skills or experience that•Using the interview to ask questions that demonstrate your you forgot to mention at the interview. research into the job, the organisation and the market in which it operates After each interview Contact your Office Angels Consultant by phone or email toresist the temptation to… let them know how things went. And if you want to be well•Criticise your previous employer or colleagues – no matter prepared, visit our virtual branch and try the online interview how tempting it is, it’s unprofessional simulator.Office Angels Interview Tips | Page 4 of 11
  5. 5. 2. HOw TO PrEPArE FOr AN INTErVIEwIf you really want to shine during an interview, you need to make sure you’re fullyprepared for the process. Follow our top tips for ultimate interview success.look at it from the recruiter’s perspective prepare your evidenceDo your homework: scrutinise the job advertisement; read Create a portfolio of your best projects from your previousthrough company literature; ask the press office for recent job so that you can present them to the interviewer on thepress releases; learn about company culture from websites day, but:and articles; or find someone who can tell you the inside •Choose wisely:story. Look at the big picture: what is the role there to Don’t inundate a portfolio with every piece of work you’veachieve? done over the course of your career. Include pieces that best reflect your ability, skills and industry experience. PickAnalyse the job your top-line work while displaying a range of client workTake an A4 pad and draw a line down the middle. On one to show off your versatility.side write out all the requirements of the job, trying to work •Be appropriate:out what is really on an employer’s shopping list. In the Your portfolio should be able to go from a buttoned-upright hand column, write down your matching experience corporate employer to an unconventional one withoutand achievements. changing a thing. Your work will speak for itself, so always remember to keep it suitable, and employers will see thefocus on your message scope of your ability.Think about your overall message: what does your CV and •Include detail:application letter say about you? work out a clear, upbeat The best way to demonstrate your range of experienceanswer to the question: ‘why are you interested in working and skills - whether it’s demonstrating strong leadership orhere?’ successful team work - is to include thorough information about the role you played each time. Tangible examples will be impressive to a potential employer.Office Angels Interview Tips | Page 5 of 11
  6. 6. 3. rESEArCHING A COmPANYwhen it comes to looking for a new job, it’s essential that you know about thecompanies you’re applying for. This will give you an understanding of the kindof work they do, if it suits you, whether you’re the right person for the job, whatqualities they look for in applicants, and how you should position yourself inyour CV and covering letter.To make your job search more targeted and ultimately from the horse’s mouthmore successful, follow our tips on researching potential while external sources are useful, they don’t offer an insideemployers: perspective. If you have a friend or an acquaintance that has either worked for or been involved with a company, they cancompany websites prove extremely valuable. while this source isn’t essential,Company websites are a great place to start your research personal recommendations and insight allow you to learn- nearly every company has a web page which will include about the working culture of any company that you may beinformation about the organisation, what they offer as a interested and its aims and ethos. This is the best place tostart when building up your knowledge as it gives you an If you don’t ask, you don’t getoverall flavour of the company. If you are struggling to find out about a company, don’t be afraid to call the main help desk and ask for companyget online brochures or advice as to where you can find out more. HrThe internet is a great place to find information on may even be able to supply you with a more detailed jobcompanies and their recent news and announcements. description.while the company website may offer some information onthe organisation itself, looking for their presence in relevant competitorsnewswires and national and trade publications online, will It’s worth researching a company’s competitors, asgive you a more comprehensive impression of what they’ve demonstrating knowledge of key players – and offeringdone in the past 12 months, the direction the company an opinion on the industry as a whole – will impress anappears to be moving in, and how they are competing in employer at interview.their market. Companies will always try to portray the best impression ofsocial networking themselves, but by conducting your own research, you will beAn increasing number of companies now use social able to gain a much clearer understanding of the culture thatnetworking for business purposes. while some of these each company is aspiring to.use the sites as a communal place for employees to chatand share information, many companies have started touse social platforms for recruitment purposes. Sites such asFacebook, LinkedIn and Twitter could offer vital informationon companies and job openings, whilst allowing you toremain up to date with the goings on of specific industries.Office Angels Interview Tips | Page 6 of 11
  7. 7. 4. DrESS FOr SUCCESSYour clothes, hair, shoes and other personal grooming habits will revealimportant facts about who you are and your approach to work. If you getthe image right, it’s likely to be noticed but not necessarily remarked upon.However, if you get it wrong, it can be difficult — or even impossible — toovercome an employer’s negative preconceptions.The right image will help an employer to visualise you •make-up and jewellery for women should be subtle andas one of their team, and reassure them that you could unfussy. Heels are fine but should be comfortable forrepresent the company as a member of their staff. It will walking. Skirts and tops should not be too revealing.also make you feel far more confident. •wear your hair in a neat style which is easily manageable.•If your usual interview outfit still fits, you can wear it for This can instantly enhance your appearance. the big day. However, if your figure has changed, we recommend you invest in a new suit or dress. •Good grooming: men need to be clean-shaven or have their beards closely trimmed rather than straggly. Clean•regardless of where you are applying to, our fingernails, fresh breath, shiny shoes and deodorant are all recommendation is that you always try and echo the ’in- essentials, rather than afterthoughts. we do however advise house’ style to reinforce the impression that you are one against using aftershave or perfume in case the interviewer of them. finds it overpowering or distracting.•Organisations with a casual dress code are perhaps the Is it worth it? trickiest. If you’re a man, wearing a tie could be a major faux pas, so a smart coordinating outfit rather than a suit Your personal image will strongly influence an employer’s may be more appropriate. Even in these cases, we advise perceptions of your capabilities, your approach to work and against wearing jeans as they are rarely suitable. how well you will fit within their organisation. Get the image right and you will find that an employer is already pre-•All interview outfits should be clean, free of dog hairs, disposed towards you being the right person for the job. Get deodorant marks, fraying hems or straining zips and it wrong and you will have an uphill battle. buttons. The interviewer is going to be staring at you for an hour and they will notice every flaw.•Accessories are equally important. Briefcases and handbags should be smart and the contents well- organised. Pens should be of decent quality, and make sure they write before going to the interview. summary •Invest in a new interview outfit that fits you •Look like someone who already works there without sacrificing your individual style – adapt it to suit your employer’s dress requirements •Pay attention to grooming and personal hygiene – details add to your overall look •Ensure briefcases and handbags are smart •Save your stilettos for the evening – heels can give you confidence, but keep them low •Don’t wear too much jewellery – remember ‘less is more’Office Angels Interview Tips | Page 7 of 11
  8. 8. 5. BODY LANGUAGEIt’s not just what you say in the interview that counts: your body language cangive so much away without you even realising it.1. choose a good position within the room 5. smileAt an interview, you will normally be directed to a specific A nervous smile is better than no smile at all. No one wants toseat. However, interviews can often be conducted in oversized recruit a grumpy person or someone who looks like they’re notenvironments (e.g. a meeting room with a table for eight when enjoying themselves. Good interviewers will understand that youthere are only three of you). make sure you choose a seat may be nervous and will attempt to put you at ease. make surethat enables you to see everyone without having to rotate your you reward their efforts with an easy smile, but don’t overdohead too much. In most cases, it may be best to hover around it – it’s not a contest for straight teeth, just an attempt to engageto see which chairs the interviewers are aiming for, before with them. You should also smile lightly when you are beingmaking your selection. introduced to each member of the interview panel to help toIf there is a window, choose a chair that faces it so that your build a good rapport. It is perfectly acceptable to laugh if theface is lit from the front, unless there is good lighting all situation warrants it, but avoid making jokes, as you could bearound. If you have your back to a window, the interviewers the only one that finds them amusing.can’t see you properly. 6. maintain eye contact2. maintain good posture If you fail to make eye contact, you will come across as evasiveIf you are being interviewed at a table, make sure you don’t and insecure. However, if you stare at people too much, yousit too close to it. If you let your arms fall loosely on the table will make them feel uncomfortable. If you are being interviewedin front of you, your elbows should be slightly off the edge - if by just one person you will have no choice but to look at them,your elbows are actually on the table then you are too close; but if you’re being interviewed by more than one person, thenif you have to lean forward to put your hands on the table, look mostly at the individual asking you the question, andyou’re too far away. occasionally glance aside to involve the others.People that place their hands below the table come across ashaving something to hide, so place both feet on the ground so 7. beware of propsthat you remain stable and keep yourself upright, with a slight If you have a pen with you, avoid fiddling with it. You shouldforward slant and relaxed shoulders. Avoid slouching as it also avoid picking up a drink if you can. Other than the factimplies a lack of confidence.If there is no table (or only a low that it may end up down your shirt, the movement of water intable), then rest your hands in your lap. the glass will reveal how nervous you are.3. don’t be afraid to ‘own the space’ 8. mirror the interviewer’s behaviourJust because you are under observation, don’t let your body mirroring someone’s behaviour is an indication that therelanguage suggest nervousness or a lack of self-assurance. It’s is a connection between the two of you. It should happenokay to stand or sit with your legs slightly apart; in fact, it’s a automatically, but you can influence it to give the interviewer thesign of confidence. feeling that you are getting on. For example, if the interviewer is sitting back then you may want to sit back a little too; if they4. limit your hand and arm movements lean forward, consider following suit. But be careful not toIt’s okay to use gestures to express yourself, as your personality overdo it and do not mirror instantly, otherwise it will look like aand enthusiasm are important. However, make sure that these Laurel and Hardy sketch.gestures are not distracting. Try to limit movements to the areadirectly in front of you — never higher than your chest, and 9. And relax…never under the table. If your hands go outside this area, your Body language is a reflection of how confident you are feeling;interviewers will follow them and may stop concentrating on so if you want to feel relaxed during the interview, prepareyou. If your hands go above chest level, you will most likely thoroughly by conducting research beforehand. You’ll beobscure your lips or eyes. If you have a tendency to fidget in a surprised at how much of the above you can achieve naturally.distracting manner, intertwine your fingers and rest your handson the table. whatever you do, never cross your arms. It willmake you look unreceptive, guarded and lacking in confidence.Office Angels Interview Tips | Page 8 of 11
  9. 9. 6. TrADITIONAL INTErVIEwS - Questions you might be asked and how to answer themAt Office Angels, we always make sure you are fully prepared for every interview.recruiters want to know more about you and your career history, and ourexperience tells us that you are likely to be asked similar questions to the oneswe have listed below.q why don’t you start by telling me a little q what do you dislike about your current job?about yourself? Tip: Be careful not to be too negative as this could bring outTip: Don’t go off on tangents about your social life. the worst in you. Think of something quite general, such as amemorise some key points about your career history, lack of opportunity due to the size of your department.qualifications and relevant skills. q what are your strengths?q can you describe a key achievement? Tip: This will definitely come up so be prepared, as you mayTip: make sure you have a recent work related need to give examples too! Decide how you will add mostachievement in mind before the interview. Describe value to your new employer and focus on this. Think aboutthe skills you used and the resulting benefits for your your ambitions, relationships with colleagues, ability to learn,employer, e.g. I felt we were paying a lot for our computer can-do attitude etc.consumables so I proactively made several phone calls andfound a fantastic alternative supplier that saved us £150 a q what is your greatest weakness?month. Tip: we all have at least one! You can choose a personal or professional weakness, but remember to describe howq Are you happy with where you are in your you have been trying to tackle this weakness e.g. throughcareer? training. You could describe a lack of experience in an areaTip: Your answer will say a lot about your self-esteem, that doesn’t affect your ability to do the job, or one thatconfidence and aspirations, so make sure you are could be seen as positive, e.g. “I’m a perfectionist, whichconstructive. If you feel like you’ve hit a lull, then you can means I make extra work for myself, but I always do a goodpositively describe this as ‘looking for a new challenge’. If job.”you are happy at work, then describe what you’d like tobuild on, e.g. taking on more responsibility, adding value q why do you want to leave?etc. Tip: Don’t focus on the negatives or the salary. Think positively and talk about your need for a new challenge,q Tell me about a difficult situation you progression opportunities, or more experience.have encountered at work and how youapproached it? q why did you apply for this role?Tip: Here, the interviewer is interested in seeing what your Tip: You need to have a good understanding of the roleidea of a problem is and how you go about solving it, so and the organisation to be able to answer this question well.keep it brief and positive. Choose a problem that you didn’t The interviewer wants to know that you will be a good fit forcause, describe the solution that you came up with, and their team, so you must make sure your answer is informed.explain how you influenced the outcome.q what do you like about your current job?Tip: You should try to describe elements of your currentjob that are applicable to the role you’re being interviewedfor, as this will show consistency.Office Angels Interview Tips | Page 9 of 11
  10. 10. 7. COmPETENCY BASED INTErVIEwS - Questions you might be asked and how to answer themCompetency based interviews are becoming an increasingly popular way topredict a candidate’s future performance. It’s essentially a list of behaviouralquestions, where your answers demonstrate your skills and abilities.Answers to competency-based questions should be 3. Analytical competenciesstructured, so we recommend following the STAr technique, Your answer should demonstrate your decision-makingdescribing: abilities, innovation, analytical skills, problem solving,situation practical learning and attention to detail.Task required Typical question: Tell me about a time when you identified aAction you took new approach to a problem.result of that action 4. Interpersonal competenciesTo give you a deeper understanding of this interview Your answer should demonstrate your social competence.format, we’ve grouped together a list of 5 of the main many workplaces function on the basis of project teams andcompetency areas, along with some typical questions that the more collaborative they are, the more likely they are toyou may be asked: thrive. Typical question: Describe a situation where you got people1. Individual competencies to work together.Your answer should demonstrate your personal attributes,such as flexibility, decisiveness, tenacity, knowledge, 5. motivational competenciesindependence, risk taking and personal integrity. Your answer should demonstrate the things that drive you,Typical question: Tell me about a time when your work or such as resilience, energy, motivation, results orientation,an idea was challenged. initiative and quality focus. Typical question: when did you work the hardest and feel the2. managerial competencies greatest sense of achievement?Your answer should demonstrate your ability to takecharge of other people through leadership, empowerment,strategic thinking, corporate sensitivity, project managementand managerial control.Typical question: Tell me about a time you led a group toachieve an objective. remember Be yourself when answering competency based questions. Use real life examples and relate them to your experience, how you reacted, and how that made you feel. These are not trick questions; they’re designed to create the best match between you and an employer. If you are well prepared, competency based interviews give you the opportunity to describe some of your finer moments to a captive audience.Office Angels Interview Tips | Page 10 of 11
  11. 11. 8. QUESTIONS TO ASK AT AN INTErVIEwBefore an interview, you should always prepare some questions to put to theinterviewer. The “have you got anything to ask us?” question is guaranteedto come at the end of the interview, and what you say at this stage may beremembered more than you think.Use this as an opportunity to ask questions about the future of the job –questions which help to create a firm picture of you in the role.questions to ask questions not to askThe most impressive questions are centred around the Generally these are questions that are going to put yourworking environment, personal development and business/ commitment to the role in question. It is strongly advisablecompany strategy. This type of question will show that you that you avoid any questions that may conjure up negativeare genuinely interested in the position and that you are connotations in the interviewer’s mind.focused on key initiatives within the business. •How long will it be before I can apply for other roles in the•How will this role fit into the wider structure of the team/ company? department/organisation? •when will I be able to relocate to an overseas office?•what learning/training opportunities will there be for •will I be expected to work outside my core hours? personal development? •what can I expect my bonus to be?•Can you describe the working culture? •what is your policy on personal calls and emails?•why has the role arisen? •How soon can I apply for flexible working hours?•what other departments will this role link with?•How many other people are you interviewing for the You should also avoid asking obvious questions about the position and when might I expect to hear back? company background as you should have covered this in your research when preparing for the interview.Office Angels Interview Tips | Page 11 of 11