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INTERVIEW PREPARATION GUIDE

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​We want to provide you with all the support you need to perform at your best and have outlined below several tools and techniques that you may find useful.

The two key elements to successful interviewing:
  • Preparation

  • Enthusiasm

PREPARATION

Preparation is essential and enhances your chances of performing well at any interview.

Here are some tips on interview preparation:
  • Ensure your recruiter has provided you with a detailed understanding of the position description, the team environment and the organisation.

  • Conduct additional research regarding the organisation through reading.

  • Make sure you know exactly where you’re going and always be on time.

  • Dress conservatively and pay attention to all facets of your dress and grooming.

  • Know the exact place and time of the interview, the interviewer’s full name and the correct pronunciation and his/her title.

  • Spend 30 minutes reviewing your resume/experience and its relevance to the position description. Identify the specific examples in your background that are directly relevant to the position description and that demonstrate your ability to do the job. Refresh your memory regarding details of present and past employers and your work history in their companies. You will be expected to know a lot about a company that you have previously worked. Think about how you will describe your most important achievements.

  • Be prepared to convey to the interviewer: why this role appeals to you, why they should consider you for this role and what makes you different from other candidates.

  • Prepare the questions YOU will ask during the interview. Remember that an interview is a two-way street. The employer will try to determine through questioning if you have the qualifications necessary to do the job. You must determine through questioning whether the company will give you the opportunity for growth and development you seek.

Here are examples of probing questions you might ask:
  • What would a normal day in this role look like?

  • Why is the position available?

  • How would you describe your organisational culture?

  • What induction and training programs does the organisation offer?

  • What sort of people have done well in this team/organisation?

  • How is the company positioned against its competitors?

  • What is your vision for the future? What are the plans, if any, for growth or expansion?

  • What are the three things that would make someone an outstanding success in this role?

  • How well do you think I match the requirements of the role?

  • What is the next step in the process?

PREPARATION FOR THE STRUCTURE AND STYLE OF THE INTERVIEW
COMPETENCY-BASED INTERVIEWS

Competency-based interviews are the most prevalent style of interviewing. Competency-based interviews, also known as behavioural interviewing, require you to draw on past experience and describe specific examples of incidents that demonstrate your competence in a particular area. The most effective way of answering these questions is to use the “STAR” technique:

Situation – briefly describe the background to the situation
Task – specifically describe your responsibility
Action – describe what you did
Result – describe the outcome of your actions
Here is an excellent answer to a competency-based question that is testing teamwork as a competence:

Question:“Teamwork is a very important part of our organisation. What evidence do you have to prove that you are a good team player?”

Answer:“I have a number of examples I could share with you. In one instance, when I was working as a financial analyst at ABC Company, the sales team were putting together a bid for a large piece of work and the analyst that normally helps them was on leave. I offered to help them and worked late every night for two weeks to ensure they had all the information they needed. They took on my suggestions regarding pricing and some creative ideas I had on formatting the proposal. As it turned out we won the bid and I was promoted as a result.

You may be required to provide between one and three real-life examples to validate one competence.

Be Prepared with Answers and Supporting Examples to Standard HR Questions such as:
  1. What are your career aspirations?

  2. Why do you want to work for our company?

  3. What interests you about our product/service?

  4. Of your previous jobs, which did you enjoy most and why?

  5. How have you managed conflict in the past?

  6. Describe what you have done in your career that shows your initiative.

  7. What are your weaknesses? Your strengths?

  8. What does teamwork mean to you?

  9. What style of management gets the best from you?

  10. What have been your major achievements to date?

Remember that you are being interviewed because the interviewer wants to hire somebody – not because he/she wants to trip you up or embarrass you. Through interaction which takes place during the interview, he/she will be searching out your strong and weak points, evaluating you on your qualifications, skills and intellectual qualities and he/she will probably probe deeply to determine your attitudes, aptitudes, stability, motivation and maturity.

YOUR STYLE AND BEHAVIOUR

During your interview, the employer will be evaluating your total performance, not just your answers.

Listed below are some factors and mannerisms that will usually produce a positive reaction from a prospective employer:
  1. Interested, balanced approach

  2. Ability to express thoughts clearly

  3. Career planning and objectives

  4. Confidence

  5. Informative replies

  6. Tact, maturity, courtesy

  7. Maintenance of eye contact

  8. Firm handshake

  9. Intelligent questions about the job

  10. Preparation and knowledge of company/industry

  11. Enthusiasm for the role and organisation

  12. Positive, “can-do” attitude

GENERAL TIPS
Do:
  • Plan to arrive on time or a few minutes early. Late arrival for a job interview is never excusable.

  • Greet the interviewer by his/her first name.

  • Wait until you are offered a chair before sitting. Sit upright in your chair. Always look alert and interested. Be a good listener as well as a good talker. Smile.

  • Maintain eye contact.

  • Follow the interviewer’s leads but try to get the interviewer to describe the position and the duties to you early in the interview so that you can relate your background and skills to the position.

  • Make sure that your points get across to the interviewer in a factual, sincere manner. Keep in mind that you alone can sell yourself to an interviewer. Make him/her realise the need for you in his/her organisation. Smile.

  • Always conduct yourself as if you are determined to get the job you are discussing.

  • Never close the door on an opportunity. It is better to be in a position where you can choose from several jobs rather than only one.

Competency-Based Interviews

Sometimes referred to as behavioural response or event interviewing. This technique requires you to demonstrate your skills and experience by showing how you have handled situations and solved problems in the past by describing actual events.

The principle is that your past behaviour is the best guide to your future behaviour. The interviewer will:
  • Focus on what you did and said in past situations.

  • Probe for details of what you thought or felt at the time to gain an indication of your approach and motivation.

Sample interview format:

You will be asked a series of general questions supplemented by probing questions to draw out evidence of your competencies.

“Follow the star” method as previously outlined when providing your response:

Situation – briefly describe the background to the situation
Task – specifically describe your responsibility
Action – describe what you did
Result – describe the outcome of your actions.
CONNECT WITH US

Reach out to us if you’d like a consultant to discuss any of the above or the tips contained within this article by emailing admin@sharpandcarter.com.au or calling 03 9616 2600.