Pre­par­ing for a job in­ter­view

The Oban Times - - Recruitment -

An in­ter­view is a dis­cus­sion in per­son, by phone or on­line, be­tween you and an em­ployer. The em­ployer wants to see if you’re the right per­son for the job. You’ll get the chance to make a good im­pres­sion and show the em­ployer what you have to of­fer. You can also see if the job is one you want.

Types of in­ter­view

The most com­mon types of in­ter­view are: Com­pe­tency-based – fo­cus­ing on the skills and per­sonal qual­i­ties you need, you’ll have to re­late your skills and ex­pe­ri­ence to the job. Tech­ni­cal – usu­ally for tech­ni­cal jobs in ar­eas like IT or engi­neer­ing, you’ll have to dis­play your tech­ni­cal knowledge of a cer­tain process or skill. Face-to-face – in per­son. Panel in­ter­view – one per­son usu­ally leads the in­ter­view and other panel mem­bers take it in turns to ask you dif­fer­ent ques­tions. Tele­phone or on­line – could be the first stage of the in­ter­view or the only stage, and you should pre­pare in the same way as for a face-to-face. In­for­mal chat – in some ar­eas like the cre­ative in­dus­tries you’ll have an in­for­mal, work­fo­cused dis­cus­sion about your ex­pe­ri­ence and ca­reer aims, usu­ally some­where like a cafe. Group dis­cus­sion – with other can­di­dates, you’ll have to show you can get along with peo­ple, put your ideas for­ward and be re­spect­ful of oth­ers.

Be­fore the in­ter­view

To help you pre­pare, you can think about which ar­eas of your CV or ap­pli­ca­tion form the in­ter­viewer might ask you to talk more about, and how you can re­late them to the role. Pre­pare some an­swers about why you want the job, what your strengths and weak­nesses are, and your rel­e­vant work and life ex­pe­ri­ence. Think of some ques­tions to ask about the role and the com­pany at the end of the in­ter­view, but don’t ask about pay yet. Try to re­lax the night be­fore the in­ter­view. Do­ing lots of last-minute work could make you more anx­ious and re­duce your sleep time. What to wear When it comes to what to wear, plan what you’re go­ing to wear be­fore the day of the in­ter­view. Find out what the com­pany’s dress code is and wear clothes that suit the com­pany that’s in­ter­view­ing you. Don’t wear clothes that you’re un­com­fort­able in, or shoes that you’ll strug­gle to walk in and don’t wear too much strong per­fume or af­ter­shave.

Getting to the venue

Check in ad­vance how to get to the in­ter­view venue, and how long it’ll take. On in­ter­view day, make sure you leave plenty of time to get there and aim to ar­rive a lit­tle early.

Get set­tled and ready to be­gin

Just be­fore the in­ter­view starts, make sure your phone is turned off ask for wa­ter if you haven’t al­ready been given some. Don’t let your nerves show too much – use breath­ing tech­niques and try to re­mem­ber a few nerves are nor­mal.

Dur­ing the in­ter­view

When an­swer­ing the ques­tions, take your time when think­ing of your an­swer – it’s fine to say you need a mo­ment to think. Look alert and at­ten­tive, speak clearly and con­fi­dently, and don’t swear or use slang. Give full an­swers, don’t just say ‘ yes’ or ‘no’. Give ex­am­ples of when you’ve used the skills they’re ask­ing for. If you’re asked about your ex­pe­ri­ence, talk about the sit­u­a­tion you were in, the task in front of you, the ac­tion you took, and the re­sult of your ac­tion (STAR tech­nique). Be pos­i­tive about your ex­pe­ri­ences – avoid neg­a­tiv­ity about your­self or any pre­vi­ous roles you’ve had. Make sure you fully un­der­stand the ques­tions you’re asked – ask for more ex­pla­na­tion if you need to. Avoid men­tion­ing salary or com­pany ben­e­fits un­less asked. Don’t lie – the in­ter­viewer may see through you and, even if you get the job, your em­ployer can dis­miss you if they find out you’ve been dis­hon­est. If you’re asked about a work skill you don’t have, you could say what you’d do in a cer­tain sit­u­a­tion or use an ex­am­ple from your per­sonal life, and also ex­plain that you’re a fast learner. Don’t be ar­ro­gant and as­sume you’ve got the job – em­ploy­ers don’t like dis­re­spect­ful or over- con­fi­dent can­di­dates. Don’t bring up top­ics like re­li­gion or pol­i­tics where peo­ple can have strongly-held per­sonal be­liefs.

Dif­fi­cult ques­tions

If you’re asked about be­ing made re­dun­dant from your pre­vi­ous job, try to stress it was a busi­ness de­ci­sion and de­scribe how you’ve re­sponded pos­i­tively since. If you were fired for mis­con­duct or poor per­for­mance, try to ex­plain why your stan­dards dropped on that oc­ca­sion but that you have learned from it and have since im­proved. If you’ve been out of work for a long time and get asked about it, de­scribe any pos­i­tive steps you’ve taken such as vol­un­tary work, cour­ses, net­work­ing, in­dus­try events, keep­ing fit, com­mu­nity roles, keep­ing your­self up to date with your field. If you left your last job by choice and are asked about it, you could make it clear you were grate­ful for the op­por­tu­nity and learnt a lot, but you wanted a fresh chal­lenge.

When the em­ployer con­tacts you af­ter the in­ter­view:

Af­ter the in­ter­view. If you’re of­fered the job, thank them and agree things like start date and what to bring on the first day. If you are ex­pected to ne­go­ti­ate salary, find out be­fore­hand what the usual rate is for the job but then start high and meet in the mid­dle. If nec­es­sary, ask for feed­back on your per­for­mance if you weren’t suc­cess­ful. Use their com­ments to im­prove for next time. If you’re of­fered a job and de­cide you don’t want it, thank the em­ployer po­litely, as you may want to work for them in fu­ture.

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