This session will arm you with practical techniques to use both before and during your interviews to maximise your chances of success. We are covering interviews today, not all the aspects of an assessment centre – book a 1:1 if you have one of these
Ask questions whenever they occur to you, don’t feel the need to wait until the end.
Take a moment to feel good about the news. It costs time and money – including valuable managers’ time – to interview; employers won’t waste this on candidates who don’t look as if they can genuinely do the job. Now is the time to get down to the work which will raise your chances of success…
Ask the group for their views on why employers interview (rather than relying on written applications alone), then click for answers
Imagine you owned a business…would you hire without interviewing?
Recruiters start with a picture of the ideal candidate – includes skills, experience and motivation – some of these are easier to assess in person – e.g., anyone can write ‘I am enthusiastic about this position’ – does the enthusiasm show face to face?
Interviews are a performance, and like any performance preparation is key to success.
Point out the ideal progression here – preparation makes you feel more confident, which will come across to the interviewer, and improve your chances of a good performance.
NB it is not actually advisable to practise your answers word for word, unlike the guy in the picture (unless you have to do a presentation)
On the left are typical first interview formats, on the right those which tend to come at subsequent stages.
We are going to cover biographical and competency questions in detail in a moment.
Motivation – ‘why do you want this job/to work for us?’ – must have done your research and worked out why they are a good fit for you – be specific about experience, skills, values, etc.
Situational – what would you do if…often no right answer, looking for judgement and good instincts.
Self awareness – what is your greatest strength/weakness? How would a friend describe you? Go through how to choose a weakness answer.
Random – no apparent link to the job content – who is your favourite character from fiction and why? There is usually a connection to the underlying nature of the role/organisation, e.g. in the example above, from Withers (private client law firm) – a way to express your personality, which will be very important in forming relationships with clients.
Technical – admit if you don’t know the answer but if possible, highlight some learning you do have around the subject, or how you would go about developing the necessary skills/knowledge.
Strengths-based: new approach based on the skills you most enjoy using – less preparation possible than for competency answers (see http://targetjobs.co.uk/careers-advice/interview-techniques/275395-strengths-based-interviews-for-jobs-and-grad-schemes for more information).
Work in pairs/groups – hand out copies of the ad, give a few minutes to look at it.
10 minutes to work out questions
This is the longest established type of interviewing, and still popular
You could be asked about anything on your written application/CV – make sure you know this; if you have claimed that you are a regular reader of the FT, make sure you can back it up
USPs (unique selling points) – work out what your strengths are relative to the job description and employer, be ready to assert your own agenda
Have a positive account of any blips or gaps
It should be possible to work out what competencies a role requires: job description/person spec, organisation’s website, Prospects job profile, etc.
Give out copies of the skills grid – explain how it works – something to do at home
Too much time is spent on Situation
Actions are the heart of the answer
Result – should be positive, can include learning points
Aim to arrive 20-30 mins ahead of time
The other candidates may be competitors, but be positive and cheerful – it isn’t a battle to the death
You can check what you said in your application plus any notes you have made while waiting (use a simple but smart document holder)
Every staff member from the receptionist to the CEO is worth being professional and polite with – it’s being basic professionalism, and any rude/bad behaviour is likely to get back to the selectors
You may hear lots of stats about how important body language is – most of the scientific-sounding figures are dodgy or invented, so don’t worry – but do remember these simple points [on the next slide] to help you be at ease and perform at your best.
Don’t try to be someone you are not – but be aware of these things
Pitch and tone of voice – lively but not manic
Sit reasonably upright – danger of too much hand movement or fidgeting
Maintain eye contact
Practise deep relaxed breathing if this is likely to be an issue
Careers & Employability Centre
‘You are invited…’
• It wasn’t an accident
• …now the real work begins
Why are they doing this to me?
• You’d do the same in their place
• Three lines of enquiry:
• Can you do it?
• Do you really want to do it?
• Do you really want to do it with us?
• Some things are easier to see in person than in writing
Preparing to perform
• Work out in advance
• What they are likely to ask…
• …and how to answer
• Your interviewer(s)
• The logistics of the day
• Arrive feeling quietly confident
• Perform better
Types of interview
• 1 to 1
• Assessment centre
• Case study
Find questions from the vacancy advert
Friday Media Group is a well established, diverse company, with the headquarters situated just 15 minutes from Brighton city centre and with 4 other offices in
Barcelona, Miami, Preston and Wales. The company culture is relaxed, modern and creative, whilst still fast paced and with a strong focus on expanding
Your daily responsibilities will involve: Scheduling creative B2C & B2B email campaigns; Writing engaging and fun articles and targeting keywords; Posting
shareable content daily onto their social media profiles and increasing their followers and referral traffic; Outreaching to companies in their niche, establishing a
relationship and exploring ways in which they can benefit each other's websites; Reporting weekly on traffic and activities completed.
Applicants will require the following skills:
Excellent teamwork, communication and interpersonal skills
Strong writing ability
Willingness to learn and participate
Basic marketing knowledge
• Traditional approach
• Know your CV/application thoroughly
• Prepare your story
• Gaps and blips
• Research = no nasty surprises
• ‘Tell us about a time when/give us an example of…’
• Examples can come from anywhere in your life
• Develop your competency grid