Many candidates are apprehensive of interviews with a prospective employer – some candidates find it difficult to overcome nervousness. Some find it difficult to juggle all the aspects involved during the interview. We at HERO have spent several years guiding our candidates through the interview process, ensuring that the candidates met by our client are confident and self assured.
Remember – to be called for interview is a very positive outcome. The employer has reviewed your CV and, on paper, you meet the requirements of what they are looking for. An interview offers you the perfect opportunity to build on your CV and the following are the key steps you need to take to get that perfect job.
- Step 1 – Preparation
Preparation is a key factor towards a successful interview. If you are fully prepared before the interview, this will enable you to overcome any hurdles an interviewer can place before you.
Review your CV
Candidates should know their CV extremely well before attending an interview. It’s important that you are fully prepared to handle any question put your way on your past experiences and education, including dates and results. Provide key achievements and specific examples from your past work experiences. Specific examples will really show the employer your capabilities.
Research the company
Key areas to consider are the company’s profile, i.e. current size, employees, services offered, recent growth, presence in the Irish market, financial situation of the firm, industry the company operates in and key competitors. Refer to their latest press releases for up to date news
Review the Job Description
We recommend that you review the job description in detail which your consultant has provided you with and spend time tying in your experiences to date with the specifics that the company is looking for in the job description.
Logistics of the Interview
Ensure you know the name of the interviewer and their title within the organisation, as well as the precise location of where the interview is taking place and make sure you arrive on time.
Try to anticipate some questions that you could be asked and prepare for same.
By doing all of the above, you will be able to convince the employer that technically you are capable of doing the role, but also that you are sufficiently motivated and a good fit for the team structure and the company. By being well prepared, you will eliminate unnecessary nervousness and perform well at interview.
- Step 2 – Perform
First impressions last. You should dress to impress. It is important that you give the interviewer a firm handshake upon first meeting them and portray a friendly yet professional demeanour and also maintain good posture when seated in the interview.
During the interview, ensure you actively listen to what the interviewer is asking you. If they ask for one example, you should give only one example. Be clear and concise and avoid waffling about a subject.
It is important to maintain good eye contact throughout the meeting. If there is more than one person interviewing, maintain eye contact with the person who asked the question, but glance to each of the others throughout your answer.
In most interviews you will get the opportunity to ask questions at the end. Remember the interview is a two-way process so you should use this opportunity to find out if the role and organisation suit what you are looking for.
When finishing the interview, explain that you are very interested in the position on offer and the overall company. Thank the interviewer for taking the time to meet with you and finally ask what is the next stage of the process.
- Step 3 - Post Interview
You should contact your Consultant once the interview is complete to give them your feedback. The consultant can take your feedback on board and relay this to the client.
Every interview is a learning experience and each one teaches you a little bit more about what to say and do and what to avoid. If you are unsuccessful then don't be too dismayed - there is always next time and the better your interview technique the more likely it is that you will succeed.
Interview Do’s and Dont’s:
To ensure your interview has the best outcome, here are a few tips that can give you that little bit of extra confidence and make sure the real you shines through.
- Be on time
- Be prepared
- Be positive and show confidence
- Watch your body language - e.g. don't cross your arms (it gives the impression of putting up a barrier between you and the interviewer); make frequent eye contact; good posture is important
- Reply to any questions clearly and concisely
- Make a note of points to return to
- Be courteous to everyone you meet
- Be honest
- Let your mind wander
- Be afraid to sell yourself
- Just answer with a yes or no - expand
Competency Based Interviews:
What is a competency based interview?
Behavioral, Structural or Competency Based Interviews are used to show how you would demonstrate certain behaviors / skills in the workplace. You will be asked to give an example of a situation or task that led you to take a certain course of action.
Competency based interviews are equated with story telling. During the interview you will be asked questions like “tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer?” Most of you will have heard of the STAR technique when answering competency questions. Basically, this is describing how to answer questions with a start, a middle and an end. As with telling a story, the more description and energy you put into it, the more impact the story will have.
S/T – Situation or Task – This sets the scene. You will describe the situation or task and be creative with your description. If possible, try to use examples that are relevant to the employer.
A – Action - This is outlining what you did or the action you took. Most interviewees fall down here by using the word “we” instead of the word “I”. Do not make this mistake.
R – Result – This is where you describe the results or outcomes. Again quantify these results for more impact.
How to prepare for a Competency Based Interview:
At HERO, our Consultants are experts at helping you prepare for competency based interviews so if you’re represented by us you will be in good hands. Most job descriptions highlight the key competencies required for the role, if this is not clear it is important to request these in advance. HERO have extensive knowledge in this area and will ensure you are well prepared for your interview. We will provide you with a list of competency based interview questions which are categorised and are available here for download.