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.
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).
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
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
Winning at Interviews
Careers & Employability Centre
Winning at Interviews
Types of interview
• 1 to 1
• Assessment centre
• Case study
Types of question