Getting ready for an interview and looking for a bit of help? You've come to the right place!
Read through our interview preperation guide below for some great advice, hints and tips.
Research the company:
Researching the client will enable you to answer two questions, 1 – why do you want to work for them and 2 – what do you know about the client. Look on the company website, check out the career section to see the type of people they employ and what they can offer as an employer. Look at the sections on recent news and events. When answering the question of why do you want to work for us, your answer should be something along the lines of, “based on the research I have done on your company….”
Also search them in Google to see if they have been featured on other websites such as news or current affairs if they have been in the media recently. This will show that you have gone that little bit furt
her to research the company.
Finally, research the competition, see how they differ and what their unique selling points are.
Why should we take you on/what can you bring to the role/what can you offer us?
Firstly you need to look at the job description or refer to the advert where you saw the role advertised. This will outline what the employer is looking for and you will then want to mirror yourself to the competencies and skills outlined in the position description or web advertisment.
Go through the position description with a fine toothcomb, tick off everything you have done on it and then think of an example of where you have carried out / performed that specific skill. The biggest reason candidates fail interviews is because they don’t come across without enough depth or conviction, i.e. they don’t back their answers up with exampl
An interview process is about matching the CV to the job description so preparing like this will really help to ensure you are the person they are looking for at interview.
Competency / behavioural based interview
Competency or behavioural questions are asked to test whether a candidate can demonstrate they are used to carrying out a skill or behavior in a previous role. Common competencies are:
- Prioritising workload / managing and organising your time effectively
- Working alone / autonomously
- Building lasting relationships
- Working well in a team
- Decision making
- Problem solving
- Trustworthiness / ethics
In order to answer these questions, you MUST think of a SPECIFIC example of where you have demonstrated that skill. Do not be hypothetical and talk about how you would deal with it, this can cause you to fail the interview.
You need to structure your answer as if you are telling a story and an easy way to do this is using the STAR technique:
Step 1 – Situation or Task
Describe the situation that you were confronted with or the task that needed to be accomplished. With the STAR approach you need to set the context. Make it concise and informative, concentrating solely on what is useful to the story. For example, if the question is asking you to describe a situation where you had to deal with a difficult person, explain how you came to meet that person and why they were being difficult. If the question is asking for an example of teamwork, explain the task that you had to undertake as a team.
Step 2 – Action
This is the most important section of the STAR approach as it is
where you will need to demonstrate and highlight the skills and personal attributes that the question is testing. Now that you have set the context of your story, you need to explain what you did. In doing so, you will need to remember the following:
· Be personal, i.e. talk about you, not the rest of the team.
· Go into some detail. Do not assume that they will guess what you mean.
· Steer clear of technical information, unless it is crucial to your story.
· Explain what you did, how you did it, and why you did it.
Step 3 – Result
Explain what happened eventually – how it all ended. Also, use the opportunity to describe what you accomplished and what you learnt in that situation. This helps you make the answer personal and enables you to highlight further skills. This is the most important part of the story, also make sure you end the story on a positive note.
What are your strengths?
This is similar to the question on why should the employer take yo
u on / what skills can you bring to the role. Again, you are looking to simply mirror the competencies and skills outlined in the job description to what your strengths are. Does the role require fast typing speed? Strong organisational skills? The ability to build strong relationships? Then your strengths will be you have strong typing skills, excellent organisational skills and you always build strong relationships with colleagues!
What are your weaknesses?
This can be often be a tricky question to answer but the key to getting it right is giving a weakness you actually have had, but emphasising that you have overcome that weakness and you turn it into a strength. The main point is that you can recognize when you are weak at something, are willing to get help with it / extra training and overcome it completely. Try to also give a weakness that wouldn’t directly impact the role you are applying for.
Questions to ask at the end:
You should always have 2 or 3 questions to ask at the end. It is a good idea to take a pen and note book into the interview with you with your questions written in and jot the answers down as they are given to you. This will make you look very prepared and like you are taking the interview process seriously.
Example Questions to Ask at Interview
Opportunities and Development
In the unlikely event that all of your questions are answered during the course of the interview, ask the interviewer a bit about themselves. For example, how long have they worked there, why did the join the company, what do they enjoy about working there?
Closing the interview
You should always thank the interviewer for their time and let them know you enjoyed the meeting, express your interest in the role too.