Interview Techniques Workshop - Skills Academy 2013
Interview Techniques WorkshopJohn McMenaminCareers ConsultantCareer Development Centre
Workshop Objectives1. To outline principles and tips for successfulinterviews2. To explore employers’ expectations3. To share previous interview experiences andbest practice4. To assess your own levels of confidence5. To practice creating and delivering answers tocommon interview questions
Workshop Content1. What you need to do before an interview2. What is a job interview?3. What are employers looking for?4. Interview behaviour5. Interview questions6. Interview tips
Three things you need to do beforean interview1. Preparation2. Preparation3. Preparation
1. Preparation1. RESEARCH yourself2. RESEARCH the job3. RESEARCH the organisation4. RESEARCH the sector
2. PreparationKnowledge about yourself– Re-read your application– Strengths and weaknesses– Why you want the job?Knowledge about the job itself– What skills do you need?– How can you demonstrate these skills with examples fromUniversity, work, outside interests?Knowledge about the organisation & sector– Why do you want to work for that organisation?– What’s happening in the sector right now?
3. Preparation– What will the interview format be?– How will you get there?– Rehearse your answers(We can help you with this!)– Questions for the interviewer – shows interestand enthusiasm for the role + tells you moreabout the job – take a notepad with you – jotdown questions as they occur to you– Prepare but don’t overprepare
An interview is…– a two-way process – Do they want you? Do youwant them?– your opportunity to show them your personalityand tell them the things you couldn’t fit into yourapplication.– where the employer’s preconception of you basedon your application is either reinforced ordestroyed.– proof that you have shown the employer enoughfor them to think you are a worthy candidate forthe job. But are you the best?
Employer’s perspectiveSimon Reichwald – Bright Futures Resourcing LtdLink requires a University of Westminster login:http://mycareer.wmin.ac.uk/video/mpeg/r1610.mpg
Typical Interview Format– Introduction phase– The formal interview– Information about the organization– Summing up / questions about the job
Every job interview is a ‘marketing’exercise, so…– Be clear about what you want tocommunicate– Support what you say with evidence(more on this later)
Employers: Three Questions– Can you do the job?Do you have the knowledge and skills?– Do you want to do the job?Do you have the motivation?– Will you fit in?Do you have relevant values and personalqualities?
The Interview- First ImpressionsDress– Appropriate business dress, clean shoes!What to take– Certificates if needed, copies of CV/applicationArrive on time– Plan the route– Leave extra journey time for problemsMeeting the interviewers– Relax, but remember you are being observedBody language– Handshake, eye contact
Behavioural Characteristics– Remain calm– Remember your body language– Tone of voice– Be yourself– First impressions count– Communication styles
Body LanguageInhibited Saying little Speaking very softly Meek tone of voice Allows interruptions Sitting lower than others Downcast eyes Hand wringingAssertive Smiling Eye contact Balanced posture Being on the same level Relaxed tone of voice Proximity Open gesturesAggressive Forceful gestures Harsh tone of voice Ignoring responses Speaking too much Standing over others Staring Interrupting
30 Second Advert‘Tell me about yourself’– Name/current status– Achievements– What you value/enjoy– Your interpersonal skills
Types of Questions1. Motivational Questions2. Technical Questions3. Competency Questions
Motivational QuestionsDesigned to test your motivation for the joband the organisation– Why do you want to work here?– How much do you know about our organisation?– Where do you see yourself in 5/10 years time?
Technical Questions– These relate to your ability to use the technology youhave learnt from your course/work experience– “What systems and software are you competent in?”– “What do you know about working in a photographiclaboratory?”– “What experience do you have of using the following… ?”
Competency Questions– Questions based on the generalcompetencies all employers expect fromgraduates (team skills, communication,problem solving etc..)– eg “Can you tell us about a time whenyou...worked in a team/dealt with a difficultcustomer/met a deadline?”– The key is providing evidence based responsesbased on the STAR formula…
Skills Based ExamplesUse the STAR model:– S – situationbriefly outline where you were, what was your job?- T – taskexplain the task you encountered, what had to be done?– A – actionwhat specific actions did you take to overcome thedifficulty?– R – resultswhat were the results and what did you learn?
Example of a STAR responseDescribe a time when you have used an innovative approachto solving a problem:SituationTaskActionResultWhen I was assistant manager of an IT training workshop at acollege in Brighton, we had a student who couldn’t raise herhand to ask questions due to arthritis in her shoulders. Shewould get very frustrated when she had a problem and evenmore frustrated when she couldn’t get the attention of one of mystaff to get the problem fixed. I went out and bought a set ofdecorative lights that attach to the sides of computer monitorswhich could be switched on and off by a button next to thekeyboard. I informed her and my staff that if she had aproblem, she should switch the light on and then my staff wouldbe able to see that she had a problem and could deal with itaccordingly. She was very satisfied with the solution and foundthe learning experience much easier and more rewarding.
Problem Solving‘Describe a difficult problemthat you have solved’–What was the problem?–How did you analyse and solve the problem?–Is there anything you would do differently?’
‘Why Have You Applied To Us?’– Aim to show you know what they do and howthey operate– Link it to what you are interested in / haveexperience of (from your studies / work exp etc)– Try to make it unique to them (Vs othercompanies) and to you (Vs other applicants).
Questions to ask your interviewer(s)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUGevSj7I0A
Interview Checklist– Switch mobile off– Look prepared– Be prepared– Eye contact– Answer questions using STAR model– Be prepared to ask questions yourself– Take a copy of your application (CV orapplication form)
10 Tips for a good interview1. Assume the interview starts the moment youenter the building2. Listen to the question and answer it, ask forclarification if unsure what they are asking3. Engage all interviewers in eye contact4. Always back up everything you are saying withexamples from your experience5. Avoid taking notes in with you and certainlynever read from them if you do
10 Tips for a good interview6. Always have questions ready for the end7. Know what you’ve said in your application andbe prepared to discuss the details8. If they don’t tell you, ask when you will hearabout the outcome of the interview9. Thank the interviewers(by name if you are confident that you remember them)10. Smile!
Interview practice– Describe a time when you worked as part of aneffective team, what did you do and what was theoutcome?– Describe a time when you solved a difficultproblem. What did you do and what was theoutcome?– What is your biggest weakness?– What factors have influenced your career choice?
Interview No-nos– Lack of knowledge of company– Lack of knowledge of field/industry– Lack of enthusiasm– Late to interview– Over-confident / casual– Discussing salary expectations / administrative questions– Talking too much / not listening– Fidgeting– Lack of confidence– Sweaty palms syndrome– Being negative about anything
Preparation is the key tosuccess!– Find out the selection criteria– Know what you are offering– Identify likely question areas– Research some (original) things about theorganisation– Rehearse responses to potential questions– Practice and get feedback
Interview - but no job offer?– Did I prepare thoroughly?– Did I get feedback on my performance?– Am I right for the job/organisation?– Do I need advice?
Useful linksMyCareer– Online careers resource with a wealth of information, resources, links and anumber of interactive exercises developed by mehttp://mycareer.wmin.ac.ukMonster – Careers advice– Features lots of advice, instructional videos and an interactive mockinterviewhttp://career-advice.monster.co.ukProspects– The official UK graduate careers website, lots of information and advice –ideal for researching salary expectations and job descriptionshttp://www.prospects.ac.ukTarget Jobs – for sector-specific advicehttp://targetjobs.co.uk/career-sectorsCareercake.com- Very useful instructional videos by experienced recruiter, Aimee Bateman.
Further information and guidanceCareer Development Centre services:– 20-minute quick queries:CV, covering letter, application form checks– 45-minute individual guidance interviews:detailed career guidance, mock interviewsOur resources:– CV Guide– Videos and DVDs (many available to view online)– Free sector-specific and general careers publications
Contact Career Development Centrewww.westminster.ac.uk/careersT: 020 7911 5184E: email@example.comFirst floor, 101 New Cavendish Street(next to Cav St campus)Also at Harrow – Maria Hewlett building