Interview tips for Job Seekers – Preparation, Delivery, STAR Technique, DOS and Don’ts
It is extremely important to project a favourable impression at interview. The meeting provides the platform for both parties to evaluate each other to ensure a positive relationship in the future.
Do as much research as possible into the organisation you have applied to, and available position. Try to find out who is interviewing you, and their roles in the organisation. Review your CV before the interview, and be careful not to contradict any of its content. Make sure you know exactly where the interview is taking place, and leave yourself a wide time margin for getting there. Arriving late and in a sweat is a bad start to any interview. First impressions count for a lot in an interview situation. Be sure to dress professionally. It’s a good idea to have some copies of your CV and some examples of your work (if relevant). Shake hands firmly with the interviewer/s, and SMILE, no matter how ‘serious’ the job. You won’t gain any brownie points by scowling, and you’ll find smiling will make you feel more relaxed.
Remember that an interviewer is rarely looking for simple Yes or No answers, so avoid them. Try to answer clearly and concisely, all the time bringing in your own ‘selling points’. If you get stuck and don’t know the answer to a question, it is probably better to be honest and ask for further clarification on the question or explain that you do not know the answer. While you need to give full and detailed answers, don’t forget to listen to the interviewer.
Do use the STAR Technique when answering competency based questions.
Example Question: Tell me about a time that you solved a problem to a tight timescale.
Situation: A customer rang up complaining that they’d waited more than two weeks for a reply from our sales team regarding a product query.
Task: I needed to address the client’s immediate query and find out what went wrong.
Action: I apologised and got the details. I investigated why the query hadn’t been answered and discovered that it was a combination of a wrong mobile number and a generic email address that wasn’t being checked. I let the client know and we offered a goodwill discount on her next order.
Result: The client not only continued to order from us but posted a positive customer service tweet.
Dos and Don’ts
- Don’t ever criticize your current or past employers. Try to always be positive and forward looking.
- If you are given the opportunity to ask questions, avoid self-serving questions like ‘how long will my lunch break be?’ Rather use this chance to discuss the organisation.
- Do not be the one to bring up salary at the interview. There will be plenty of time to talk about that if you’re offered the job.
- Even if you are not interested in the position with the company, do not indicate this – you will never know what opportunities will be available in the future.
- If you are very interested in the role, be sure to convey this before leaving, ensuring that you thank the interviewer/s.
- Do remember that at an interview you should conduct yourself as someone selling a valuable product. This valuable product is yourself; with all your skills, qualifications, and experience.