Preparing for an interview
In the same way that you would practice for an aptitude test, we would also recommend that you practice before an interview. Regardless of the position you are applying for, there are a range of common questions that are generally asked at an interview, and by preparing your answers you will find it easier to perform on the day.
Furthermore, there are different types of interview styles, and it is important that you are familiar with them so that you can identify the answers that the employer is looking for. We have listed these below:
This interview is heavily focused on your ability to manage a team. The employer will be looking to understand your management style and how you achieve results through this. They will look at your previous experience as well as considering how you will incorporate your skills into the new role so that you achieve their company goals and values.
Competency Based Interviews
Competency-based interviews require you to demonstrate your previous job experience so that the employer can evaluate your key competencies. These interviews are a great way of proving your compatibility for the role as you can explain a work situation that you have been in and how you handled it. A typical example of a competency-based question is:
“Tell us about a time where you had to work as a team to hit a tight deadline. What difficulties did you overcome, what was the overall outcome and what would you do differently if you had your time again.”
As you can see, these questions require thought and preparation in order to answer them correctly. We recommend putting together four of your best work achievements and details of how you were successful so that you can use these as your answers for this type of interview.
STAR is a common method used to answer interview questions. In particular, it works well with competency-based interviews. STAR is an acronym that represents the following:
S – Situation: You should start by describing the situation you were faced with at work
T – Task: This requires you to share specific details of the task in hand that you were aiming to achieve. You should outline the challenges of the task and the reason for the difficulties you were facing
A – Action: You should then explain the actions you took in order to tackle the challenges. Here is a great opportunity to highlight your lateral thinking and initiative because this will make you stand out amongst the other candidates. R – Result: Finally, you should provide details of what was achieved and the impact of your results on the business
This type of interview will focus on what you enjoy doing, rather than what you can do (competency-based). Whilst this should encourage you to talk about what you like and dislike, you must be mindful that the employer is also looking at your strengths and weaknesses. Make sure you don’t fall into a trap that is detrimental to you getting the role.
A telephone interview is normally the first stage of the recruitment process. It is typically a 15-30 minute telephone conversation, where you will be asked questions about your motivation for applying for the role, your salary expectations and general work experience.
With advances in technology, this is becoming a more popular version of a telephone interview. The company you have applied to will arrange to video-conference you to complete an interview. We would recommend you are dressed professionally, have practiced your answers and are in a suitable location to take the call.
We have written a few blogs on how to prepare for an interview. The key messages are:
- 1) Dress professionally and smart
- 2) Research the company so that you can answer questions with their business in mind
- 3) Arrive early – being late may irritate the interviewer
- 4) Prepare in advance and practice