MAKING SURE YOU SHINE IN AN INTERVIEW
Interviews are a game. And in any game, rules exist. So in this part, I talk about the most essential rules of succeeding in tough interviews. First, you need to find out how to win the game. What are interviewers looking for? Whether
going for a job as a senior manager or an office junior, employers are looking for a core set of skills and characteristics. So make sure that you demonstrate those skills and qualities. The second rule of the game is to do your research and preparation. Do it and succeed; don’t do it and fail – it’s as simple as that. The third rule is to think
about not only what you say but also how you say it. Interviewers are not just looking for bright and committed people – they want people who can visibly appear enthusiastic and motivated too. (SHINE IN AN INTERVIEW)
Recognizing What Interviewers Are Looking For
At first glance, different job adverts seem to be looking for a dazzling array of skills, experience, and qualities. But in actuality, most employers are really looking for three basic factors for finding the right person for the job. These three factors can be summarized as the three Cs of interviews: (SHINE IN AN INTERVIEW)
Interviewers look to recruit people who have the skills and personal qualities to do the job with minimal supervision.
Interviewers want to give the job to someone who sticks at it. They want a self-motivated person who persists in the face of difficulties rather than gives up at the first sign of trouble.
Interviewers want someone that they feel they can get on with. All employers feel they have a unique culture – and want to know that you can fit in with the rest of the team.
Demonstrate your competence and commitment by giving good answers to the many questions thrown at you. You can only create chemistry by using your tone of voice and body language to demonstrate that you are the kind of like the able person who gets on with everyone. Be aware that the interviewers are not only evaluating what you say but also how you say it. No matter what section of the book you turn to, be sure to keep the ‘three Cs’ in mind.
General Questions about Yourself
|Tell me about yourself||What are your strengths?||What are your weaknesses?|
|What motivates you?||What are you passionate about?||What Are Your Biggest Achievements?|
|What are you most proud of?||What is your greatest failure?||Do you have any regrets?|
|Why should we hire you?|
Finding Out about Key Skills and Qualities
When interviewers say they’re looking for ‘competent’ candidates, what exactly do they mean? Well, dozens of surveys have asked employers what they want from potential recruits. This section covers the top ten skills and personal qualities that employers look for. Parts II and III take you through how to answer these questions, but for now, make a mental note of these skills and then weigh up whether you possess them.
Interestingly, most of the surveys agree that these skills and characteristics tend to apply to employees at all levels of an organization and across most industry sectors. So a high street retailer looking for a shop assistant tends to want more or less the same skills and qualities as an international corporation looking for a senior manager although obviously to differing degrees. (SHINE IN AN INTERVIEW)
Communicating with people
Unless you are being hired to work in a sealed room with no contact with colleagues or customers, you need to have good communication skills.
When discussing your communication skills with interviewers, think of examples of occasions when you:
- Listened to the needs of other people, such as colleagues or customers.
- Conveyed information to other people – perhaps on a one-to-one basis or to a group of people.
- Handled difficult situations, such as customer complaints, on the telephone.
- Used your written communication skills in preparing reports or documents for other people to read.
Although communication skills are important, most employers want people who also have powers of persuasion being able to win others over or change their minds. In preparing for your interviews, think of times when you have.
- Had a discussion with someone and helped him or her to see your point of view.
- Changed someone’s mind.
- Persuaded someone to take a course of action that they were initially not in support of.
Managers want to hire candidates who can research issues and assess situations. Make sure that you think about times when you:
- Gathered information about a topic or issue.
- Broke down a complex problem into a number of smaller issues.
- Weighed up the pros and cons of different options
Employers are looking for people who can assess situations and then work out the best course of action to take. Be ready to talk to interviewers about occasions when you.
- Made suggestions about how to tackle a problem.
- Initiated or participated in brainstorming sessions.
- Took a course of action to solve a problem or tackle an issue.
Demonstrating drive and determination
Organizations do not want to hire people who only work when given explicit instructions as to what to do; they want to hire candidates who are self-motivated and can demonstrate a bit of initiative. Think back to times when you:
- Suffered a setback or disappointment at work but got back on your feet and got on with a task.
- Had an original idea and used it to be more effective or productive at work.
- Overcame a difficulty or obstacle that was preventing you from achieving a goal.
Team working with colleagues
Employers are constantly talking about the need for employees to work together more effectively as a team. Try to recall instances when you:
- Helped someone else in the team with their work or duties.
- Resolved conflict or disagreement between other team members.
- Provided a team member with a shoulder to cry on.
Especially for entry-level jobs (including graduate entry roles), employers want people who can develop quickly in the job. Managers don’t want to hire people who need a lot of hand-holding! In preparing for interviews, try to think back to times when you:
- Became proficient at a task or duty more quickly than others expected.
- Gained knowledge about a topic or issue because of your hard work and dedication.
- Picked up a new skill with minimal supervision.
Being flexible and adaptable
Employers want to hire people who are open-minded, accommodating, and willing to help out when the need arises. Try to recall occasions when you:
- Offered to do overtime to help get a project or piece of work completed on time.
- Helped someone else even when it was not part of your job description.
- Changed your mind at work after listening to someone else’s point of view.
Planning and Organizing
Employers are always on the lookout for candidates who can manage their own workload. In order to convince employers that you possess these skills, think about instances when you:
- Prioritized tasks to meet a tough deadline.
- Planned out and then completed a project.
- Organized other people to ensure that a piece of work got done.
Being Aware of The Bigger Picture
Employers complain that a lot of employees have a very narrow-minded view of their work. They don’t see the ‘bigger picture’ of what goes on outside of their team, department, or organization. Demonstrate that you are aware of the bigger picture by thinking back to occasions when you: (SHINE IN AN INTERVIEW)
- Had to liaise with colleagues outside of your department.
- Found out some interesting information about a customer, supplier, or competitor and then shared it with colleagues.
- Thought about the impact of your work or duties on people outside of your own team.
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