Get that Job – How to impress at the interview
The aim of this blog is to help you to feel confident, impressive and in control when expressing yourself in a job interview.
Before I start I want to give you some idea of my background. I have been self- employed for over 20 years now. For the first 6 years I mostly undertook assignments for the world leader in outplacement at the time. Outplacement happens when big companies restructure their organisations and call in a specialist company to assist the work force with the impact of the changes. As a result of this experience, I have had access to a unique body of information. I have also been able to keep in touch with clients over prolonged periods of time when setting up and running career centres for Nestle, London Electricity, Pharmacia and Upjohn and Clarks Shoes. In other words, when it comes to advising people what to do during the interview process, I know what works.
The first thing to understand is that although there seems to be an apparently limit less number of questions that could be asked there are really only three. And these are:
Can you do the job?
Do you want the job?
Will you fit in?
Every question you will be asked will address one of these three concerns. The strange thing is that most interviewers won’t even know this.
Once you understand that there really are only three core questions your role is not complete honesty but to be reassuring. Before you baulk at this suggestion of being reassuringly honest, think of a famous chocolate bar. Does it give you energy to help you work, rest and play or does it rot your teeth and make you fat? Both of these statements might be true, but one gets you eating the chocolate bar and the other probably gets you avoiding it.
Your aim during the entire recruitment process is to be honest but also to present the most positive and reassuring version of the truth. In fact whatever question you are asked you should always ensure that it keeps above an imaginary line between positive and negative. The moment you go below that line – for example when you are asked ‘what is your weakness?’ you will be on the ‘back foot’ and it is likely that the interviewer will ‘hunt’ or keep on probing your answers until you are saying things that you would prefer not to mention.
I will talk about how to answer the weakness question in a later blog when I tell you how to answer most of the usual questions that you might be asked.
Of course you cannot predict what questions you will be asked since some of them just ‘pop’ into the interviewer’s head at the time and some interviewers are untrained, hopeless and have no idea that they have to conform to employment law. Having said that there are some questions that come up so often that it is worth preparing your responses to them. And these questions are:
Tell me about yourself ?
Tell me about your current job?
What is your main achievement (or what are you most proud of)?
What are your strengths?
What are your weaknesses?
Why do you want this job?
Why should we appoint you over the other candidates?
What interests you in the position?
Why do you want to work for us?
What are your ambitions/long terms goals?
How would your manager describe you?
Do you think you might be overqualified or too mature for this position?
What kind of salary are you looking for?
How would you describe your management style?
What do you like doing outside work?
Do you have any questions for us?
In my next blogs I will tell you how to answer all these questions in order to make a positive impact during your job interviews.
I will also tell you about competency-based recruitment, the other main recruitment tool that is used by larger companies and some public service organisations.
When I interview candidates I tend to use a combination of both approaches.
The good news is that whichever methodology is used to recruit you, the preparation beforehand will be the same. In later blogs I will tell you how to prepare for the interview in order to ‘get that job’.
With thanks to Jo Grant for permission to use her beautiful photographs
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