One of the most common questions that people have when preparing for a career change is “How do I prepare for an interview?” The truth is that every interview is different. It depends on the seniority of the role, the culture of the organisation, the sector you are in, the country you’re in, and most importantly the personality of the people that you will be meeting, their backgrounds and also their own strengths and weaknesses. With the right strategy and research, all of this information is readily available online and it is this preparation which really helps people win interviews and something that we specialise in at @Careerships! However, if you want some general tips to give you a good baseline for your next interview, here are a few things to remember!
If you are attending an interview in person remember to research the dress etiquette culture of your audience, smell nice, remember to smile and maintain good eye contact and if allowed post-covid don’t be shy with your hand shake!
If you are meeting on zoom it’s important to get used to talking to the camera and alternating between that and the faces. It’s important to assess the faces so that you can read the room but remember they want to see your eyes, not your for head. Camera positioning is everything!
It’s also important to be early for your interview! It shows courtesy and good professional standards and also allows you to get calm in your surroundings before the process commences.
There is a fact about interviews. We all know it, and everyone forgets.
The interview is the thing between you and your dream job!That’s what everyone tells you.
I hate to break it to you but there’s no such thing as a “Dream job!”. This is the game of life and in that game you have to win interviews to win careers, there is no dreaming involved.
The interview is not about your dreams. The interview was put in place by an organisation. Why? Not to fulfil your dreams, but because there is a problem that needs fixing, or a function that needs to be operated.
If there wasn’t a problem to be fixed then the organisation would just continue without the interview and the additional employee and just save the money! It’s this key factor which is essential to remember throughout the entire interview process.
At every opportunity you must understand, what is the problem that the interviewers are trying to solve and how can you fix it. It’s not about your aspirations, it’s about whether you can help them and in turn whether helping them lead to your own fulfilment.
Remember also, to never take a job that you would be scared to lose! There’s one for the philosophers out there! Think about it. It’s an interesting one!
The interview has three phases of equal importance. Each must be prepared for equally although most only prepare for phase 2.
The opening is the key question. The “tell us about yourself”, or “why are you interested in this role” question.
This is a question often used in the United Kingdom,Europe and the USA and other certain developed countries. It’s important to note it’s only in those regions because you must recognise that this is a cultural question. It’s a question of politeness and consideration to open up the discourse between two parties.
They are not seeking your life story and they are not wanting someone to talk for 15 minutes.
A good solid 1 – 1.5 minute response outlining your passion, values, a couple of key strengths and stories that relate to their narrative that will hook the listener in and want to learn more is key.
If you have some key strengths that are perfectly aligned to the role and you don’t incorporate this into your opening to remind them and to draw attention to it then you are not selling yourself, and an interview is in part a negotiation but it’s also partially sales! You need to convince a stranger to like you enough to want to give you money in return for your skills and knowledge. You therefore must remember to showcase that skills and knowledge at every opportunity.
Sometimes the basics are the best. The main body of the interview is all of those good competency and skills based questions you’ve heard many times before. They start “tell me a good example of a time when you’ve done x”. The STAR model is the best for these types of questions. Again, timing is important, no more than2 minutes for each one and this should incorporate the Situation, Task, Action and Result.
If you want bonus points and feeling confident then throw in the “H”. Call it STAR-H. The H stands for “hindsight”. Every good professional continues to learn throughout their career. Even when showcasing your biggest results, unless it was something you delivered that morning you should be able to constructively look back at it and think “hmmmm I could have done even better if I or we did X,Y,Z”. This is your benefit of hindsight and if showcased properly will educate the interviewer that you are someone that continues to strive for excellence and continues to learn from every experience, which is very important if you are going to demonstrate that you are solutions oriented and are the right person to fix their problem!!
The close is the most important part of the 3 parts! The stage when they ask you if you have questions for them.
To get some complimentary tips on this for your next interview message us with the codeword “Careerships Tips” and you will get a real golden nugget specifically for your next interview that will help you stand out above the rest.
We hope you enjoyed our interview tips. If you have mastered all of the above and want to really understand how to beat the competition in your next interview, get in touch with our CEO Richard Edge for a complimentary consultation.