Opinion

Interview Technique

Don't just keep your fingers crossed and hope for the best…with our tips and advice in this guide, you'll be ahead of the competition for your dream job!

This guide has been produced to provide you with tips and guidelines to maximise your chances of gaining your ideal next role. It has been produced as a result of many years of collecting feedback from a wide range of organisations.

Overview

Most organisations consider that the recruitment of the right staff is of the utmost importance and will have an allocated amount of time to find out as much as possible about each candidate in the time available.

It is important to remember when you are preparing for an interview that you will almost certainly be competing against other candidates. Whatever your qualifications and experience prospective employers will be looking to see how you present yourself at the interview and will be determining your team and culture fit for their organisation.

The average interview time is about 1 hour but this will vary and it is not uncommon for there to be a series of interviews with potentially, more than one interviewer. It is also not uncommon to be given an aptitude test or personality profile. At Pure Resourcing Solutions we have examples of various tests which allow you to practice beforehand and there are also a variety of websites which give you an insight to a variety of tests.

Step 1 - Research your company

Your recruitment consultant will brief you on the type of company and the person who will be interviewing you. If they have a website please visit it. This usually contains the history of the company, their beliefs and goals. Trade press and local news may also be worth checking for any relevant and interesting material. In addition if they produce a product or service where appropriate you should sample the product or services.

It is a good idea to plan your route to the interview and where possible make the journey to the location prior to the interview. Take the company’s telephone number in case you are delayed.

Step 2 - First Impressions

As soon as you arrive you will be making an impression so conduct yourself accordingly in reception. Try to arrive a few minutes early. This will give you time to compose yourself and to gain a general overview of the organisation. There may be employee news letters, annual reports or a collection of press cuttings which it would be useful to review.

Step 3 - The Interview

Generic interview question preparation:

If you have an important interview, it’s natural to worry about being unnerved by tricky questions. Fortunately, since many interviewers use the same basic questioning techniques, you can plan impressive replies ahead of time, therefore, increasing your confidence. The key to anticipating questions is to treat the interview as an opportunity to exchange information and to sell yourself without being arrogant. The employer is like a buyer - he needs to find someone who can slot neatly into the organisation’s culture.

As a candidate you should act like a sales person: you must ‘sell’ your natural abilities, skills, experience, qualifications, and equally important, your personal preferences for type and quality of work. The aim should be to give positive information that shows what you can do for the employer, not what the employer can do for you. Remember, be as natural as possible, as an act is easily seen through.

Points you do and don’t want to convey

In the course of an interview you’ll be asked many questions, see our website for more details and examples of the type of question you could be asked - these are all designed to highlight preferred personality traits, control, confidence, ability to think under pressure and verbal communication. The biggest mistakes interviewees make are:

  • Displaying lack of preparation through failure to answer obvious questions easily
  • Waffling i.e. not keeping questions to the point
  • Answering a question that wasn’t asked
  • Not listening to the question properly

In considering your answer to every interview question, try to include points which indicate to the interviewer the sort of person you really are. Rarely will you be given the chance to list your strengths and attributes directly - attempt to weave them into your responses.

The points you will want to put across will include:

  • Talkative - You can communicate at all levels but you don’t waffle.
  • Confident - You appear in control but are not arrogant.
  • Motivated - You get things done, you are enthusiastic, you are not afraid to ask
  • Energetic - You are someone who always gives more than the basic minimum in your work.
  • Determined - When the going gets tough ... So do you!
  • Reliable - You always ensure the tasks get done, and done well.
  • Analytical - You consider the alternatives before reaching a conclusion.
  • Dedicated - No matter what it takes, you’ll put in whatever is necessary to do the job.
  • Listener - You know that the more you listen, the more you understand.
  • Honest - The buck stops with for your own actions, and you’re not afraid to own up to bad decisions as well as accept praise for good ones.
  • Ethical - You make decisions in the best interest of your employer, not yourself.
  • Efficient - You don’t waste money, effort, resources time.