Friday 27 June 2014

How to prepare for a job interview

This week I've been conducting job interviews. Over the curse of the week, I've been taking notes during the interviews and assessing the candidates. I thought it might be instructive to anyone preparing for a job interview to get a few pointers in what you should and shouldn't do, if you want to have the best possible chance of getting the job.

Read the job spec thoroughly and make sure you understand what the brief is. Make sure you understand all the essential requirements necessary for the job and have a few words prepared on all of these subjects. You are likeley to be asked about your experience, so make sure any real life examples you give demonstrate that you have the competences required. It is also worth trying to find out as much as possible about the organisation you are being interviewed by and the department that you are being interviewed for. A quick google of these will stand you in good stead. If the job involves a company or sector that has been in the news, get a bit of undertanding of the issues you are likely to face, so you can talk around these. Another thing which should be common sense is to dress appropriately for the interview.

During the interview.
If you are being interviewed by a large company, they are likely to have formal interview procedures and a standard way of assessing candidates. You are likely to be scored for the questions you answer. This allows similar candidates to be compared. This means it is essential that you listen to the actual questions being asked. Answer the questions that have been asked, not the questions you think they should have asked. If an interviewer asks you a follow up question on a topic, this will often mean that you've not given the details they require and they are trying to help you provide the information required to properly assess you. If you are goimg for  a job which is a promotion, make sure that you don't simply talk about how well you do your current job. That is not what you are being assessed on. If you do work organising for local charities, are a school governor, etc this can show you have management skills, even if you don't have a management role in your day job.

Think about the answers you give. If you are asked to provide positive reasons why you are seeking the role give them. Replying with negatives such as reasons why you want to leave your existing role does not give the interviewer any reasons to score you highly. Don't assume that just having done a job for a long time is reason enough. Provide positive reasons that address the skills required for the new role.

Remember you are likely to be being competetively assessed. Give reasons why you are the best person for the job. This does not mean simply saying how marvellous you are, give examples where other people have been impressed by yur actions. Show how you are proactive. Again if your existing job doesn't provide examples, use outside of work examples. Most of all though, make sure you show you are the best candidate for the job being advertised. If you are being interviewed for an unskilled job, reliability and punctuality are key factors. If you are being interviewed for management, examples of team working are often key and addressing difficult situations. Think about these issues and prepare for hard questions. If you have friends who have had similar interviews find out what they were asked and prepare accordingly.

And most of all - good luck!

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