YOU NEVER GET A SECOND CHANCE TO MAKE A FIRST IMPRESSION

Interview as a Two-Way Process

Interviews provide opportunity for each party to clarify, provide and assess information.   You will be responding to questions, providing examples of your achievements and the value you offer, while also asking your own questions to explore how the role will add value to your career. 

Preparation

Effective preparation contributes to interview performance:

  • Be curious – research and build knowledge of the organisation, its industry, customers, possible challenges and potential opportunities. 

  • Collate and analyse - details of the specific position; ask questions where possible to identify critical capabilities of value

  • Explore - areas of alignment; how do your values, goals and achievements align with organisational values, goals and role requirements?

  • Understand – what excites you about the organisation and the role?

  • Consider - how you envisage that you can respond to challenges and leverage opportunities

  • Research and clarify – who will you be meeting, what are their roles, relevant background information and the anticipated interview process

  • Reflect and formulate – likely question areas and readiness with relevant examples which demonstrate your achievements and critical outcomes

  • Frame – your own questions

  • Be punctual – allow time for parking and sign in procedures on arrival


Interview Styles and Formats

Interview styles vary, requiring flexibility in your approach –

 

Structured Interviews

Ensuring consistency of process, usually these are competency-based with behavioural questions designed to evaluate demonstrated capability relevant to requirements of the role. 

 

Questions typically begin with ‘tell me about a time…’ or ‘give me an example……’.    The premise is that “past behaviour is an indicator of future performance”.

Take a moment to consider which ‘competency’ the question is targeting.  Is it the leadership question?  Or focused on continuous improvement?  Select your example which clearly demonstrates a relevant situation and achievement.  As a guide, frame your example using

           

  • C          Circumstances (brief outline to give context)

  • A          Action (you took)

  • R          Results (for the team, the customer, the business…)

Conversational/Unstructured Interviews

Less formal in approach, increasing potential for you to influence the direction of the conversation.  Concentrate on areas in which you can add value to the business. 

 

Panel Interviews

Often including representatives from different areas of responsibility – perhaps operations, HR and finance.  Although one person may be asking most of the questions, as you respond, aim for inclusiveness in engaging the group.

Presentation

Part of the process may include a formal presentation, based on data, information or topic provided.

Ensure you are clear on the parameters of the presentation, including the content, delivery medium, the timeframe (including preparation) and the audience.

 

Questions you may encounter

There are endless questions which you may be asked in an interview, depending on the interview style, interviewer’s experience and the type of role.  There may even be questions which appear unrelated.

Be flexible in your responses.   With knowledge of the organisation and the position before the interview, you will be in a stronger position to adapt your replies and select examples which reflect the best possible match of capabilities to requirements, impressing as a strong candidate.

General Question Examples

  • Tell me about yourself  (focus on the most relevant areas of your career to date)

  • What do you already know about our business and/or our products?  Have you had any previous experiences with our company?

  • What attracted you about this opportunity?


Behavioural Interview Question Examples

  • Can you share an example of how you have influenced an outcome through the strength of your relationship, or your communication approach?   

  • Please can you provide an example of where your insights and/or recommendations have contributed to strategic direction or improved business performance?

  • Through your leadership, do you have an example of how team engagement and effectiveness has been increased and to what commercial benefit?

  • Describe a situation where you have led or supported change within your team

  • Is there an initiative of yours which demonstrates continuous improvement?


Interview Reminders

To position yourself ahead of competitors, strategies for success include –

  • Consider first impressions – be on time, be prepared, dress appropriately, speak clearly

  • Remember body language – posture, expression, eye contact all contribute to an early impression

  • Confirm the reasons for your interest in the position.  Be enthusiastic, knowledgeable

  • Take time to consider your answers to specific questions

  • Provide clear, concise and relevant examples, highlighting your achievements

  • Remember that the quality of the questions you ask will reflect your commitment, initiative and intelligence

  • Ensure you have enough information to understand and assess the opportunity

  • Reconfirm your commitment to progressing


Psychometric Assessments

The recruitment process may include psychometric assessments, which could incorporate personality profile questionnaires and/or abilities assessments.  These are used to support the selection process, and provide insight into development areas and potential for success in the role.

Practice assessments are available online.

Post Interview Reflection

  • Does the opportunity and organisation culture align with your values and objectives?

  • Will the role allow career development and growth?

  • How does this role compare with others you are considering?

  • Do you feel excited and stimulated at this prospect of working for this organisation?

  • How will you respond if invited to the next stage, or if you receive an offer?