Interview Performance Plan - Best Practise
It is crucial, particularly during a tough marketplace when competition for jobs is fierce, to make sure you are fully prepared for an interview. Below are some KEY pointers and tips to help you give a good account of yourself:
- Find out as much as possible about the company
- Visit their web site
- Google the company to find "latest news"
- If relevant, read their annual report and investigate the latest company results Prepare some questions to ask about the role or the company
- Read the job description in detail
- Prepare some examples from your current or previous roles that demonstrate your ability to do this job.
- First impressions count, wear smart business attire
- A company is more likely to employ somebody who is well presented and therefore will best represent the company.
- Arrive on time, plan your journey. Always allow time for traffic incidents and getting lost!
- If you are unavoidably delayed, notify your consultant or the company immediately giving your estimated time of arrival.
- Express yourself clearly.
- Be confident and communicate how your experience would benefit the company.
- Ask questions concerning the company and the role for which you are being interviewed, the interviewer will be encouraged by your research and interest in the company.
- Consider your responses to questions and take time to construct your answers being careful to avoid a vague response.
- Be assertive without being aggressive.
- Thank the interviewer.
- Ensure a firm handshake.
- A firm handshake shows confidence in yourself and your abilities.
- Maintain a good degree of eye contact throughout the interview
- Listen carefully to what is being said or asked
- Be alert and enthusiastic – it's often a deciding factor in employing candidates.
- Smile, nod and give non-verbal feedback to the interviewer
- Don't be late for the interview. Lateness is often seen as a sign of disorganisation and the employer could take it as what to expect in the future.
- Don't arrive unprepared for the interview.
- Don't say unfavourable things about your current or previous employers.
- Don't have a poor/limp handshake
- Don't be aggressive
- Don't have a poor voice, diction or grammar.
- Don't slouch in your chair
- Don't Look distracted, look down or avoid eye contact.
- Don't talk too much. Answer questions as asked, without being abrupt.
- Don't lose concentration or attention.
- Don't make excuses for failings.
- Don't give vague responses to questions.
- Don't overemphasise money. Your interviewing goal is to sell yourself to the interviewer and to get an offer of employment. Salary discussion is secondary.
- Don't express strong prejudices or any personal intolerance.
- Don't leave your mobile phone on during the interview.
- The interview is a two way process. You need to interview the company to find out if the company is right for you.
- Prepare the questions you want answered and ask them. If you ask open questions, e.g. those beginning with "What?", "How?", "Where?", "Who?" or "Will?" It will encourage your interviewer to talk and provide you with additional information.
- What will my responsibilities be?
- How has the position become vacant?
- How will my performance be assessed?
- How does the role fit into the structure of the department?
- How does the department fit into the organisation as a whole?
- Who will I report to and are there persons reporting to me?
- Where does my line manager fit into the structure?
- Who are your customers?
- Where are the aspirations of the company?
- Plans to expand?
- Where is the specific location of the position?
- Will the position entail any travelling?
- How soon will you decide on the appointment?
- What is the next step?
When you are asked open-ended questions, always try and make your answers positive.
Q. Tell me about yourself. (The interviewer is really saying "I want to hear you talk")
A. This is a common question used to "break the ice" so your response can be standardised. Compile a script beforehand and rehearse it so it sounds impromptu. Emphasise those skills that are relevant to the job on offer.
Q. What have been your achievements to date?
A. Again this is a common question so be prepared. Select an achievement that is experience related and fairly recent. Identify skills you need in the achievement and quantify the benefit.
Q. What do you like about your present job? A. This is a straightforward question. All you have to make sure is that your "likes" correspond to the skills etc. required for the job on offer. Be positive – describe your job as interesting and diverse but do not overdo it. After all – you are leaving.
Q. What do you dislike about your current role?
A. Do not be too specific as you may draw attention to weaknesses, which will leave you open to further problems. One approach is to choose a characteristic of your present company such as its size – its slow decision making etc. Give your answer with the air of someone who takes problems and frustrations in your stride as part of the job
Q. How have you coped when you have felt anger at work?
(Give an example and show how you were still able to perform a good job)
Q. What kind of people do you find it difficult to work with?
(Take care! You won't know everything about the staff at the company at which you are being interviewed)
Q. How have you coped when you have had to face a conflict of interest at work?
(Testing inter-personal skills, team and leadership opportunities).
Q. What are your strengths?
(The interviewer wants a straightforward answer as to what you are good at and how it is going to add value).
A. Concentrate on discussing your main strengths. List three or four explanations of how they could benefit the employer. Strengths to consider include technical proficiency; ability to learn quickly; determination to succeed; positive attitude; your ability to relate to people and achieve a common goal. You may be asked to give examples of the above so be prepared.
Q. What are your weaknesses?
A. This is another standard question for which you can be well prepared. Don't say you have none – this will ensure further problems. You have two options – either use a professional weakness such as lack of experience (not ability) on your part in one area that is not vital for the job or describe a personal or professional weakness that could also be considered as strength and the steps that you have taken to combat it. An example would be "I know my team think I am too demanding at times - I tend to drive them pretty hard but I am getting much better at using the carrot and not the stick". Do not select a personal weakness such as "I am not a morning person – I am much better as the day goes on".
Q. What kind of decision do you find most difficult?
A. Your answer must not display weakness. Try to focus on decisions that have to be made without sufficient information. This will show your positive side. For example "I like to make decisions based on sufficient information and having alternatives. When you have to make a quick decision you have to rely on ‘gut feeling' and experience."
Q. Why do you want to leave your current employer?
This should be straight forward. State how you are looking for a challenge, responsibility, experience and change of environment. NEVER be negative in your reasons for leaving and it will rarely be appropriate to state salary as the primary motivator.
Some other questions:
- Tell me about the last time you disagreed with your boss.
- What are you looking for in a future employer?
- How do you measure your own performance?
- What kind of pressures have you encountered at work?
- Are you self-motivated?
- Give me examples to demonstrate this.
- What is the biggest problem you have faced recently and how you resolved it?
- What changes in the workplace have caused you difficulty and why?
- What can you offer this organisation?
- What area of your skills do you want to develop or enhance? (Relate this to the role on offer)
- Why do you think you would like this role?
- How would your colleagues describe you?
- Can you predict what your referees will say about you?
- Why should I give this position to you instead of the other people on the shortlist?