Your interview with a prospective employer, recruiter or panel is the first impression the organisation has of you in person. It can be a nerve-wracking time for most people, and most clients I see want to feel confident! With Interview Skills Training being my most popular program, most clients go into interviews feeling 300% more confident so I thought I’d share my top 5 tips .
Not being fully prepared when going into an interview can make the panel work hard to try and get the information from you that they want to find out, you can appear nervous and talk too much or not enough, not talk about what is relevant to them, or just talk about what’s in it for you.
If you’re serious about being prepared you’ll feel more confident, nail every question, answer with the right amount of talking time, be targetted in your repsonses and……..get the job!!
Top 5 Tips
So what are my top 5 tips? Here they are!
1. Read and be familliar with the job ad and job description
Most clients I see just look at the job title and skim over what’s involved in the job. They then proceed to tell the employer why they’re competent at the job they have been doing as opposed to addressing what the employer has asked for in their ideal applicant, and how they as an applicant meet that criteria.
For example, if they have said they’re looking for someone with ‘great interpersonal and communication skills’ as their top priority, then you need talk about your interpersonal and communications skills when asked questions like:
- “tell us about yourself”
- “why did you apply for the job?”
- “what are your strengths?”
- “why do you think we should give you the job?”
2.Time your answers
Your initial question will generally be “Tell us about yourself”. This should generally take you about 2 minutes to answer. All other questions should have you speaking for about a minute.
Questions relating to exaples should be about 2 minutes each.
3.Prepare your examples using the STAR model
The STAR model is the model you need to use to answer questions in relation to examples.
S-Situation (what was the background of the situation)
T-Task (what did you identify that needed to be done)
A-Action (how did you go about it?)
R-Result (what was the outcome?)
Your examples need to relate to the job that you’re going for, i.e the tasks and the ideal applicant.
I generally recommend preparing examples for:
- a time when you have taken the lead
- a time when you have been part of a team
- a time when you had to solve a difficult problem/had a difficult customer
- a time when you have taken the intiative
- a time when you have had to manage a staff member (this is for management roles)
hard to shake!
What I have been doing to manage it is __________(attend training, get coaching, work with a mentor, asked for feedback etc).
The key here is to reassure the panel that you are not going to be a burden to them. To do that you need to show that them that you can manage yourself.
5. Ask questions
Take a list of questions to inteview and show that you have done your research. The company will be investing in you so they want to make sure that it’s a good fit for both of you. Knowing what your values are in a job are very important and a great place to start when asking questions of them.
In my experience, once you know what you need to be talking about, the nerves dispappear and the confidence appears. So focus on selling to what the panel are asking for and practice!