Monday, 22 April 2013

What are the most common interview questions?

Following on from my last blog, ‘How to have a successful interview’, I thought it would be useful for me to set out some typical interview questions to assist with your interview preparation. These are only a selection of the questions you may get during an interview but should provide you with a starting point.

1.     What are your weaknesses/strengths?
2.     What was your greatest achievement in your job?
3.     Explain a situation when you have had to deal with a difficult person.
4.     How do you motivate people?
5.     Why is there a gap in your CV?
6.     How do you go about problem-solving?
7.     If you were going to start your career again, what changes would you make?
8.     Tell me about yourself.
9.     Why do you want the job?
10.  What are your ambitions?
11.  Describe a difficult decision you had to make.  Would you make the same decision again faced with the same situation?
12.  How do you go about motivating yourself?
13.  What qualities can you bring to the job?
14.  What achievements in your life are you most proud of?
15.  How do you feel about supervising people older than you?
16.  How would you deal with a situation when you are not in agreement with the rest of the team?
17.  How do you respond to change?
18.  What experiences most influenced your development as an individual?
19.  What do you know about this organisation and why do you want to work here?
20.  How do you react to pressure?
Competency Questions
The other types of questions you may get at interview are competency questions.  As stated in my previous blog, in response to competency questions consider examples that relate to the job you are applying for.  For example, if you need to influence people, think of an example when you have won someone over in a way relevant to the role.  The following structure should help you to prepare answers for these types of questions:

1.     Objective

2.     Need/problem

3.     How you met the need/resolved the problem

4.     What was the outcome/benefit?

5.     What you learnt from it and what you would do differently next time.

Remember, preparation is the key to success!

Monday, 8 April 2013

How to have a successful job interview

You have applied for a job and made it to interview stage – congratulations!  Now is the time to demonstrate to your interviewers how brilliant you are. 

How do you do this?

You spend time preparing for your interview to ensure you make the most of this opportunity.

Here are some useful topics for you to think about whilst making your preparations: 

1.     Practical steps

·         Know the time and place of the interview.   
·         Do you need to confirm your attendance?
·         Find out who is interviewing you and the type of interview (e.g. will it be competency based?). 
·         Ensure you have all the paperwork requested and take a copy of your CV/application.
·         Have you got an appropriate outfit to wear?
·         Take with you a contact telephone number, map and the interview confirmation letter.

2.     Research the company
Use the internet and your contacts to find out about the company. How is it developing?  Why do you want to work there?  What are the major challenges facing the company?

3.     Key points
Outline the key points you would like to get across during the interview in line with the job description, highlighting key aspects of your experience, qualifications and skills.

4.     Typical questions
Prepare answers to typical interview questions.  For example, define your key attributes and provide examples of when you have demonstrated these.  In response to competency questions, consider examples that relate to the job you are applying for.  For example, if you need to influence people think of an example when you have won someone over in a way relevant to the role.

5.     Difficult questions
Prepare persuasive answers to difficult questions.  These could be relating to weaknesses or gaps in employment.  
6.     Questions for the interviewer
Prepare a couple of constructive questions to ask the interviewer.

7.     Rehearse
Find a trusted friend or relative to practise your answers with.

Imagine how great you will be in the interview having spent time preparing answers in line with the above points compared to a candidate who has quickly read through the job specification the night before.  Preparation is definitely the key to success!