Presentation on theme: "Preparing for Interviews (and Assessment Centres)"— Presentation transcript:
1Preparing for Interviews (and Assessment Centres) David HendersonCareers AdviserVery few people relish prospect of job interview.Major success however!!! Your CV has persuaded employer you could meet requirements.Interviews can come at any stage of selection process: can be one to one/panel/anywhere/telephone.How to give yourself best chance of success??
2Interviews and Assessment Centres Preparing for interviewsPerforming at interviewWhat questions will I be asked?What can I expect at an assessment centre?
3Practical preparation What is the format?First interviewSecond InterviewTechnical or competencyPanelTelephoneAssessment CentreInterview practicee.g. mock interview, friends – practice talking about yourselfQuestions for the employer!Basics – avoid unnecessary stress(location, date/time, travel arrangements, dress, items to take etc)
4Know yourself, your strengths and your weaknesses Know your CV and Application Form INSIDE/OUT!Strengths: your ‘unique selling points’Weaknesses: Give examples that can be ‘corrected’ / areas for developmentStrengths – Unique Selling Points (don’t wait to be asked!)Write a list – be prepared to back up with examplesWrite a short statement about yourself and your suitability for the job – this may help you to answer ‘open questions’ like:“Tell me about yourself”“Why do you want this job?”Weaknesses – Give example that can be corrected (eg IT skills)“I’m a very impatient person, but I learnt that you can get more out of people if you give them a bit of space to do something you’ve asked.A ‘perceived’ weakness etc…Weaknesses: Give examples that can be ‘corrected- (eg IT skills)
5Know the job and the employer Talk to someone doing the jobFamiliarise yourself with the roleTip: refer to case studies on Target Jobs, Prospects, employer websites & professional bodiesThe EmployerPresentations at University, company reports (Hemscott, Morning Star), careers literature, websitesShows commitment, enthusiasm, motivationTip: search for company related articles on online websites of the Guardian, Times, Independent etcThe JobCAS – list of graduates willing to talk to youEmployer’s websiteProspects website
6Knowledge about the job Knowledge of the organisationBusiness publications/sector specific pressBusiness directories
7Psychological preparation Selector are not there to embarrass you or show your weaknessesConversation not an interrogationInterviewer sets the pace, but you participate fullyYou are there to secure the position – opportunities to make your pointsDoes the company match your expectations ?Positive attitude – you are here for a reason!
8Aim of the interviewTo assess the knowledge that you have marketed in your initial applicationTo evaluate your transferable skills under pressureTo judge how you would fit into their organisation, institution, departmentTo create a positive impression (on both sides!)Ultimately, they want to know:Can you do the job? Will you do the job? Will you fit in?BUTIt is also an opportunity for you to judge whether you want to work for themCAN – ability, knowledge, qualities, skills…WILL - MotivationFIT - ??? Company culture, etc…
9First ImpressionsBe polite to everyone (they could all be asked for their opinion!)Professional and friendly mannerBe confident/establish eye contactThe interviewer may be nervousQuote from booklet – top of page 6.
10What you say / How you say it Listen to the questionTry to quantify your answers – don’t just give yes/no answersVolunteer relevant information about yourselfGet across pre-planned key pointsHow you say itClarity but also enthusiasm and convictionBody language conveys 65% of what is communicated, wordsconvey 35%How long should I speak for?Difficult to quantify; ensure that you answer question fullyFocused answers; avoid narrative and over-explanationUse judgement; body-language of interviewerQuote from booklet – bottom page 6
11Key Questions Why are you applying to us? What interests you in this job?Why should we employ you?What do you consider your strengths?…and your weaknesses?How did you choose your degree subject? Why Durham?
12Competency QuestionsDesigned to let you sell yourself and evaluate yourtransferable skills under pressureProvide specific examples; not general opinions or philosophiesNeed to impress / interest them hereConsider why question is being asked (make your answer relevant to the job for which you are applying).E.G. Achievements - Motivation, overcoming difficulties, problem solvingE.G. Career Choice – appreciation of what skills are needed in this role, evidence of when you have used said skillsE.G. Team Work – effective interaction with other people, what constitutes good teamwork, barriers to effective teamwork etc
13STAR Quality Situation - describe with clarity Tasks - outline what needed doingAction - your actions taken (what you did but crucially HOW you did it)Result - outcomes/reflections
14Example Questions Teamwork/Leadership Tell me about a time when you worked hard to get on with others. What steps did you take to improve relationships within the team? How did you encourage open discussion? What was the most difficult aspect & what was most personally satisfying?When have you had to work with a complete stranger?How would you motivate an underperforming team?Decision Making/OrganisationTell me about a time when you had to make a practical decision about priorities and tasks. What specifically were you trying to accomplish? What was difficult /easy about this? Tell me about the other options you considered. What were the influencing factors you took into account? What was the final outcome?How would you prioritise between two competing projects?
15Example Questions continued… Customer/Client RelationsTell me about a time when you experienced very good (or bad) customerservice. In your opinion what constitutes excellent service? Why is thisimportant?CommunicationGive me an example of an occasion when you had to persuade someone?When have you had to present a case? What approach did you adopt?Problem SolvingGive me an example of when you sat yourself a challenging goal, andexplain how you achieved it.What sort of things put you under pressure? Give me an example andexplain how you coped.Commercial AwarenessWhen have you improved an organisation or service?What commercial experience have you gained from p-t employment?
16Competency snapshot – Barclays Retail Open questions addressing career motivation and commercial awarenessWhat do you know about Barclays Retail Bank?How did you find this information?Why are you attracted to this position in finance?What is Barclays doing at the moment?What do you think you will be doing if you receive this position? (I stated some things, and the interviewer asked me what they would involve specifically)Describe a time when working as a team you have had to analyse information and deliver an objective in timed conditions. How did you ensure the task was completed on time? What sort of information did you have to analyse? What did you learn for the experience? (cannot use university examples)Describe a time when you have had to deliver a difficult message which let down or disappointed someone? How did they react?Describe a time when you have convinced a team to follow a path they were initially resistant to. how did you convince them? Why did they not want to follow the path initially? What was the result? What did you learn?Very specific competency questions…you are expected to provide answers that critically evaluate your contribution and impact.
17Challenging Questions What would you describe as your greatest strength?What would you say is your major weakness?How would you define your approach to team working?Would you say you were a follower or a leader?How well do you work under pressure?How would you rate yourself from 1-10?Have you ever had a bad experience with another employer?What would you say is your greatest achievement and why?Describe how you have overcome a major obstacle in your lifeHow would the skills gained from your course/previous employment help our organisation?Are you applying to other jobs?Consider topics that are challenging or less comfortable for you! I hope I’m not asked about…
18Challenging Questions Technical/role specificWhat research skills do you have and how have they been applied?What analytical techniques have used in a laboratory environment?What is your favourite product/brand and why?Tell me about your understanding, and experience, of working with young offenders?CommercialDescribe a company you think is doing well/badly and explain why you think this is so.What do you think are key qualities for a company to have to be successful?What significant factors have affected this industry in recent years? (The Sarbanes-Oxley Act is a key factor for accounting and especially audit.)What do you understand of the role this firm plays in this industry?Are you applying to other jobs?AbstractIf you were a sandwich filling what would it be and why?If you could be a cartoon character who would you be and why?
19Technical snapshot – Trafigura Which derivatives could Trafigura use to hedge against scenarios x,y,z in liquid, illiquid markets?What risks are involved in shipping Angolan oil to US refineries?Technical, commercial questions concerning both financial instruments and a specific market (oil); use of jargon and finance terminology
20Sector specific questions... Unilever – questions linked to business functionFinance - Interesting that Unilever has the cash to make a large acquisition in a recessionary environment. How is the Unilever share price doing vs. peers?Marketing - How has the recessionary background impacted our marketing spend year on year? How do we present value to cash-strapped consumers through our brands?Customer Development - How has the growth of discount supermarkets changed our business model?
21Sector specific questions…Market Research (Ipsos Mori - healthcare) Competency questions linked to decision making, leadership, teamwork, results, organisationWhy Durham and degree subjectTechnical question about statistic based project experienceWhat do pharma companies need to do to gain market access?How is the recession affecting healthcare businesses?Who are the main competitors of Ipsos Mori and why didn’t you apply for a job with them?
22Sector specific questions…Professional Services Give an example of a company that you think could improve its performance. How?Why Ernst & Young and not Deloitte, KPMG, PWC etc?Why Business Advisory?Give an example of a team that you have worked in that did not function. Why and what could you have done?How do you think you will spend your first year?What are the main issues concerning Ernst & Young this year?(the challenge of emerging markets or broader issues linked to commerce such as mortgage collapse and consequent effects for business: more reluctant to invest in consultancies and professional services?)
23Sector specific questions...Faststream Building relationships:What are the components of a good team?When have you been part of a successful team? What did you contribute to its success?Provide an example of working with someone from a different background?Handling conflict:Provide two examples of working with difficult people.Learning and developing:When have you benefited from feedback?Have you given feedback to someone?
24Sector specific questions...Law Why did you decide to study history and not law; it is a rather strange choice if you knew you wanted to enter the legal profession? - this was designed to trip up those candidates who had just picked a career in law without thinking about it.Why did you pick Durham University?Why did you apply to our Manchester office rather than London?If a firm was relocating from the south to the North, how would Eversheds go about attracting its business in the face of the other competition?What three things would a client look for in a solicitor?What three things would a client look for in a law firm?Why did you decide to apply to Eversheds rather than a 'magic circle' firm?Why a career in law?
25Sector specific questions...Corporate Finance What are the four steps that define a merger deal?How would you invest £100,000?What do you know about…Operational Risk Management/Islamic Finance etcWhy…asset management?What is your understanding of a ‘hostile takeover’?What is a hedge fund/derivative/fixed income product?
26Question Style Positive questions (self-expression) Open Probing ClarifyingPoor QuestionsLeading questionsLaden questionsLimited choiceDon’t assume that the interviewer isexperienced and don’t be thrown by poorlyconstructed questions.
27Academic Study - Post-Graduate Material from 1st Degree relevantQuestions on Thesis or projectsApproaches to researchResearch strengths of DeptHow will you fund yourself / course ?
28Telephone InterviewsAdditional sifting & selecting tool for employersPrepare in the same way that you would any other interviewEnvironmentProfessional manner – do not treat this as an informal chatPrompts / notes / copy of CV or App formHand gestures / body language / voice
29The Interview - Important Points First ImpressionsBody Language- Body language conveys 65% of what is communicated words convey35%Answering their questions– what you say & how you say it!At the end- Q’s/positive conclusionAfter the interview- reflection/make a note of Qs asked- feedback/practice
30Assessment Centres These are used by many employers as a stage of selectionThey can include individual and group tasks,presentations, psychometric tests, panel interviews,structured discussions, ‘non-assessed’ socialisingopportunitiesUsing a variety of different methods can give anemployer a good overall impression of youRange from ½ - 2 days (employers premises/hotel)Remain positive: a weakness in one area may beovercome by a strength in another area!Unassessed:Never relax your guard – especially near the bar!
31Selection Methods Aptitude Tests (verbal/numerical/spatial) Personality Tests (styles of behaviour)In-Tray or E-Tray Exercises(prioritising/decision-making/time management/information management)Case Studies (+ interview) – management consultancy/law/finance(often involves analysing a company and making recommendations based on financial data)Briefing Exercise (Civil Service: 10min pres and 20min Q + A)Debate – often in Law interviews (globalisation, EU, interest rates)Voice Mail ExerciseWritten exercise e.g. drafting letter or documentCritical Thinking (comprehension, logical reasoning)PresentationsRole PlayDiscussion Groups e.g. Cancer ResearchSocial Assessment e.g. Barclays CapitalPages of booklet
32E-tray ExerciseDifficult to prepare for but there are useful online resources withwhich to develop your understanding of what is required:
33Group discussions Possibly based on a relevant case study or scenario: give opinions and contribute…you can only be assessed if you are involveddon’t be aggressivelisten to othersvalue and respect the contributions of othersencourage others to keep to the point but don’t be overly controlling!remember peoples namesuse body language to show interest
34Case StudiesOften linked to a group activity but can be individual activitiesBasis for interview/presentationSubject matter not always important but ability to analyse information, prioritise key issues and make recommendations that you can support!Means of assessing commercial awareness, problem solving, decision making and information management skillsPrior knowledge not required but important to practise and appreciate relevance to business area
35Case Studies Useful resources University of Kent (http://www.kent.ac.uk/careers/interviews/Marstairs.htm)McKinsey & Company (http://www.mckinsey.com/careers/how_do_i_apply/how_to_do_well_in_the_interview/case_interview/practice_cases.aspx)Bain & Co(http://www.joinbain.com/apply-to-bain/interview-preparation/default.asp)Boston Consulting(http://www.bcg.com/join_bcg/interview_prep/practice_cases/default.aspx)Oliver Wyman (http://www.oliverwyman.com/ow/4803.htm)Ace the Case (http://www.acethecase.com/site/ /page/758891)Capital One (http://www.capitalone.com/careers/hiring/business_case.php?linkid=WWW_Z_Z_Z_CARHIIN_C1_01_T_CARHIBC)OC&C Strategy Consultants (http://www.occstrategy.co.uk/node/453)
36Presentations Usually 5 -20 mins (shorter if prepared on the day) Preparation key – understand topic, purpose, audience,time, facilitiesLogical structure“Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, tellthem what you have told them”Interesting but simpleNotes as a prompt, not a scriptPractise your delivery – clarity, enthusiasm, timing, change paceBe prepared for Q & APlan your presentation along the lines A-B-A – highligh what you are going to tell them, tell them and then summarise what you have told themPitch talk at appropriate level for audience e.g. expert scientists, HR managersDon’t give too much detailAim for conversational delivery – not news reader. Try to learn as much of content beforehand and just refer to small prompt cards as reminderMake eye contact with everyone in the audience at some point – talk to them not at them.Keep to time – nerves can make you go too fast or hesitateSpeak clearly – don’t mumble, talk to notes or screen, use colloquial language, speak louder than you think is necessary – project to back of room.Don’t fidget as talk but you can move around, just don’t obscure screenTRACT – Thanks questioner, rephrase the question for rest of audience, answer question, check that questioner is satisfied, thank them.KEY IS PREPARATION – MAKES YOU MORE CONFIDENT AND PREFORM BETTER
37Interviews + Assessment Centres Prepare and Present Be yourselfConfident in the examples that you use for competency questionsBe willing to expand on any responses that you makeDon’t be thrown by the unexpected questionStay calmBuy time to thinkRemain positive throughoutShow them that you are right for the position and for them!At the end of the interview think about what impression you want to leave with them:‘If you can’t think of good questions [to ask them] don’t ask stupid ones.’ Ian Jackson, BT
38Tip from an Interviewee “Prepare, think positively, ask for feedback later on and, whatever happens, aim to learn from the experience.”
39How can CAS help? Videos/DVDs The interview & assessment centre DVD Case Study DVDBooksGreat answers to tough interview questions Pub. Kogan PageMike Bryon, How to pass graduate recruitment tests Pub. Kogan PageOnline psychometric tests: MyPotential & Kenexa(http://www.dur.ac.uk/careers/students/generalinformation/interviewsandassessmentcentres/psychometrictesting)Information Staff will direct you to the available resources and help you to bookan appointment with an adviser should you wish todiscuss your interview!Useful links on the CAS website (Interviews and Assessments)advice/students/generalinformation/interviewsandassessmentcentres/
40Feedback from other students / alumni (www. dur. ac Feedback from other students / alumni (www.dur.ac.uk/careers/students/generalinformation/interviewsandassessmentcentres/interviews/itsgoodtoshare)
42Events for your diaryPractise assessment centre exercises (group activity & presentation)CV & Application clinics can be used to discuss upcoming interviewsMock interviews, assessment centre workshops, skills sessions delivered by employersEmployer events throughout Epiphany term...keep checking the events diary (Careers Advisory Service Online - https://careers.dur.ac.uk) and weekly ed events bulletin
43Please also refer to the resources in the Careers Centre! Useful websitesPlease also refer to the resources in the Careers Centre!
44Careers Advisory Service 49 New ElvetOpen 10am – 5pmTel /1424advice