Interview skills

Interview skills

The secret to a successful interview is preparation and practice.

You need to know about them. Check their website carefully and make sure you throw into the answers things about their company.

You need to know the job description and to make sure you have evidence of each one. The best evidence is a story of how you illustrate that criterion.

The best way to do all this is to practise with a colleague or professional (like me).

In the interview, start by shaking hands firmly and smiling and looking at each interviewer in the eye. When you sit, sit looking relaxed, yet at attention and wait for them to speak.

The first question is usually meant to relax you and be something simple, like, “Tell us about yourself.”

Your answer does not have to launch into your work experience. You could mention about your family or where you have travelled or worked or even something about your personality.

The basic formula for answering questions (once you have made sure you have understood it) is to give a bottom line and an example where you have displayed that skill or experience. You will have practised all this.

The hardest questions to answer are the hypotheticals. They will create a work situation and ask you what you would do. It can be an ethical question, a technical question or a problem.  It’s quite hard to anticipate all the scenarios they could come up with.

If they ask you a question you are not prepared for, you can ask them to repeat the question, while you spin ideas around. Or, trust yourself to answer relevantly and accurately.

At the end they usually ask if you have any questions. Do not ask about pay. Ask a question that shows your knowledge of how the firm works.

Now, how to answer questions from a speaker’s (boss’s) perspective.

Look at all the interviewers, not just the person asking the questions.

Smile and look relaxed.

Imitate their body language. If they cross legs, you cross legs. It’s called mirroring.

Make sure you do not fiddle or look anxious.

Take a breath before answering.

If you really do not know the answer to the question, say something like, “I’d ask a supervisor what to do.” It may not be good enough, but it’s better than “I don’t know.”

At the end stand and shake all their hands and smile and walk tall out.

Good luck and for more help contact me.

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