Congratulations you’ve got an interview. You must have had a winning CV. Well done, you’re over the first hurdle.
Now the real work begins. You need interview tactics. Once you get an opportunity like this, it’s amazing how many people crumble at the prospect of being interviewed. However, as well as being assessed by your prospective employer, this is actually an opportunity for you to assess the prospective benefits of joining their organisation, and of course to find out more about the requirements of the role.
So don’t crumble, just bear in mind that from the employers perspective the interview provides the opportunity to check three characteristics: ability, motivation and fit.
You have to demonstrate all three, so doing some preparation beforehand to identify what you have to offer will mean you are much closer to winning that job.
Let’s look at them one by one…
Currently over 60% of organisations are using competency based interviews for resourcing purposes. This means they will want to hear about what you’ve done in the past and how you did it. You need to demonstrate your ‘ability’ to succeed again in the future. This means that you need to think about good examples of past achievements. One way to talk about these is to use the STAR framework (Situation, Task, Action and Result). Think about your example and break it down into:
Situation - the overview of your example
Task - what needed to be achieved (the objective)
Action - what did you actually do?
Result - what was the outcome?
This is an effective model to use when talking about your experiences and abilities.
This is a bit more difficult. How can you demonstrate a concept like motivation? Firstly, you could have an initial conversation with the hiring manager prior to the interview to get the lowdown on how they see the role making a difference to the organisation. By doing this you are already starting to increase your visibility whilst at the same time gathering some appropriate information to help you prepare.
At interview make sure you have three or four key questions to ask, which focus on the role, and by this I mean using your questions to show an interest in the value the role brings to the organisation.
Also be aware of your body language and the image it conveys. Try and look eager, lean forward when they’re talking and make eye contact, don’t cross your arms or appear defensive.
The fit is more around identifying a chemistry of values and personality between the applicant and the organisation, and will be borne out during the interview conversations. To get a better understanding of how you could fit in, you really need to check out their website, find out their values, what image do they try to convey?
Also following their corporate accounts, and also some of their key leaders on Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites will give you a real insight into the organisation, helping you frame your answers and approach accordingly.
Is that enough?
Well I would suggest not, even if you have been to a number of interviews lately it always pays to practise answering a range of questions. Ask someone you trust to act as the interviewer and ask some obvious questions. Aim to hone your answers so they clearly and directly answer the question, enabling you to meet the criteria for the role and allowing an interviewer to give you a big tick.
The more you rehearse the easier it will be on the day and whilst you still might feel a bit nervous, it will make it less stressful.
During the interview give yourself plenty of thinking time before you deliver your response…pauses and silences are very acceptable. You can also repeat the question or ask them to, if you don’t feel you understand it clearly when you first hear it.
One last thing…
At the end of the interview consider your parting comments. If you are feeling motivated and enthusiastic about the opportunity, say so - reinforce the value you could bring to the role. Oh, and a good firm hand shake never goes amiss.
If you would like to work with one of Bray Leino Learning’s career coaches, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Stephanie Morgan FLPI, Director of Learning Solutions, Bray Leino Learning
Sharing ideas and observations to help improve performance.
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