Being successful at interview means that you need to have confidence before you walk in through the door. To have confidence, you need to have done your preparation.
Here are my 3 tips that will keep you walking tall and straight through to your dream job.
Providing examples of your experience to behavioural competencies gives you a clear framework on which to base your preparation. Preparing relevant examples in advance will allow you to have your best examples to hand. When under pressure or feeling nervous, your emotional brain can then be kept in check as you will be able to recall your prepared examples from your shorter-term memory and therefore won’t have to try to construct answers from scratch and on the spot.
Competency frameworks vary but here is a general list for you to consider:
- Team Working
- Personal Effectiveness
- Planning and Problem Solving
- Customer Focus
- Financial Acumen
- Strategic Thinking
Think through your experience and write down examples for each of the competencies. In order to be able to put your examples across in a clear and concise way in the interview, use CAR in your preparation to build up your examples:
- Action taken
Explaining things in this format will help you to keep to the point and not waffle, lose track or tell a fluffy story. Keep it relevant and include some facts. Eg ‘the end result was a cost saving of X’. Make sure you include what you did and what your role was.
You will also need to be able to demonstrate your technical capabilities. You may be asked to undertake certain trade or technical tests. Make sure that you are also prepared for those.
- ‘Tough’ questions
Some interviewers like to ask tricky questions, so prepare your answers in advance. You can come up with your own, but here are a few for you to consider:
- What do you consider to be your biggest weakness?
- What is your biggest failure and why?
- How would other people describe you in a work environment?
Know how to answer these type of questions and demonstrate that you have learnt from the experience. Eg In answer to the first question you might say something like:
‘One of my weaknesses could be that I am a perfectionist. However as I am aware of that, I ensure I prioritise and manage my time so I produce quality to work to deadlines.
Think about it and turn it into a positive!
- Know your stuff!
As well as being prepared with examples of your experience and being able to demonstrate technical competence, make sure you know about the organisation that you are hoping to work for.
At interview you may be asked what you know about the organisation. With some research and preparation you will be able to give a short synopsis. Having conducted some research will also enable you to come up with one or two questions that you may wish to ask about the organisation if you are given the opportunity at the end of the interview.
Successful interviews happen when you are prepared and confident, so – Prepare, Prepare, Prepare!