Interviews Featured

So you’ve secured an interview, now it’s time to showcase your talents!

Prior to the interview you should:

  • Relevant paperwork – ensure you have competed any requested forms or documents and have brought any additional information such as a portfolio etc.
  • Re-read the advert – know exactly what is required for the position
  • Obtain a job description and person specification – prepare your answers around the skills and competencies detailed in job description and person specification
  • Research the company – Use all available resources – web, company house for accounts details; relevant articles and former or present employees. Know exactly where the interview is, it may not be at Their Head Quarters but on another site

First Impressions count, so

  • Arrive early
  • Be pleasant and polite
  • Walk confidently, smile, eye contact
  • Shake hands if invited, suitable greeting
  • Don’t slouch, fold your arms or fidget
  • Body language: act with modest confidence
  • Speak clearly and answer questions as fully as possible
  • Avoid ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers where possible
  • Don’t be flippant
  • Show interest in company and its work
  • Ask at least one question when invited to do so
  • Thank the interviewers before leaving

Types of Interviews

One to One – The One to One Job Interviews is a conversation whereby at the end the interviewer and interviewee will have formed an opinion about each other; if you have a one to one interview it is very likely that you will have several other one to one interviews. This is a disadvantage over a ‘panel interview’.

Telephone Interview – Phone interviews are often used to screen candidates in order to narrow the pool of applicants who will be invited for in-person interviews. They are also used as a way to minimize the expenses involved in interviewing out-of-town candidates.

Telephone interviews are real interviews held over the phone rather than face-to-face. You will usually be interviewed by a member of the graduate recruitment or HR team.

A telephone interview will usually be given to candidates who have passed the online application and/or psychometric test. Keep your CV in clear view. Have a pen and paper handy for note taking

During the Phone Interview

  • Don’t smoke, chew gum, eat, or drink.
  • Do keep a glass of water handy, in case you need to wet your mouth.
  • Smile. Smiling will project a positive image to the listener and will change the tone of your voice.
  • Speak slowly and enunciate clearly.
  • Use the person’s title (Mr. or Ms. and their last name.) Only use a first name if they ask you to.
  • Don’t interrupt the interviewer.
  • Take your time – it’s perfectly acceptable to take a moment or two to collect your thoughts.
  • Give short answers.
  • Remember your goal is to set up a face-to-face interview. After you thank the interviewer ask if it would be possible to meet in person.

Panel Interview – The most common interview is panel. This will include 2 or more interviewers. The key for this is preparation. Sometimes, the process is used to speed up the hiring process, rather than doing subsequent interviews with various levels of management. There is usually a representative from the HR department and from the department in which you are interviewing for.

First of the panel interview tips is to find out ahead of time, if you can, how many people will be on the panel interviewing you. If they will tell you, also find out the names or job titles of those individuals.

Be complimentary in your comments about the company or the particular panel members. Use the panel members’ names right away and throughout the interview.

Fourth, have a good working knowledge of your CV and portfolio so you can find examples quickly during the interview. Prepare to share several experiences where you took action that resulted in a positive outcome.

Don’t slag off your current or previous employer, as this could indicate you might do the same to them at some time.

Group – In a candidate group interview, you will most likely be put in a room with other job applicants. During a candidate group interview, you will definitely be asked to listen to information about the company and the position, and you may be asked to answer questions or participate in group exercises.

Greet all of your interviewers individually. Make eye contact, say hello, and if possible shake hands.

Don’t focus on any one individual. You should make an effort to engage everyone in the group when you are asking or answering questions. Large companies such as Coca cola use this style of interview for their merchandiser positions e.g you will be asked to turn to the person beside you and find out as much information as possible about them and then report back to the group as if you were the person by introducing yourself. These are used for jobs which you are dealing with the public and assess your communication skills and general confidence.

Assessment Centre – They are likely to be the final stage of selection and consist of a number of exercises designed to assess the full range of skills and personal attributes required for the job. They are one of the most reliable methods of assessing candidates. They are generally accepted as a fair method of selection, providing equal opportunities for all candidates and selecting on merit.

They assess what candidates will actually do if selected: not just how good they are at interview!

Large organisations may book a venue such as a hotel or training centre for the selection centre, which may last two days and involve specialized staff such as psychologists, whereas smaller organisations may just run a day of exercises at their office.

Selection centres usually last for one or two days. During this time a group of candidates – typically 6-8 people – will take part in a range of tasks, both individually and as a group, designed to assess the competencies that the employer requires. Tests will include psychometric tests, in tray exercises, group exercises and presentations. In tray exercises present you with an in tray with a list of tasks to complete in a given time frame. You have to prioritize these tasks in order of importance and be organised. Sometime they might even put off the fire alarm to see how you would react and they are very good to see how you react under pressure.

Competency and Situational Interviews – Employers are more frequently adopting Competence or Situation based style interview questions.

They work on the principle that a past performance is the best predictor of future performance. The interviewer will therefore be seeking examples of past behavior that provide him/her with concrete evidence that you have the necessary competencies to succeed in the job. Popular competencies which interviews will assess you on include:

In a Situation interview, the interviewee will ask a series of questions along the line of: “Describe a situation when you….. Or “Give an example when you…”

Be prepared by always reading the job description and person specification ensuring you know what competencies and skills the Employer are looking for. Armed with this you can therefore prepare possible answers to these questions. Have examples prepared for each skill or competency.