2 IntroductionThe Job Interview is your best opportunity to demonstrate that you are the ‘right person’ for the job being sought.Many of us are unpracticed at interviews so we do well to plan and prepare well for the interview. It is recommended that you rehearse the interview rather than “practicing in the grand final.”To be successful you need to ‘look the part’ promote yourself and showcase your skills and personality to demonstrate your “fit” for the company and the role.In this session we will consider the key areas where preparation makes a difference – presentation, content, concluding the interview and follow-up.Experience shows that interviewers’ first impressions very often determine your success or otherwise - so we will give this area particular focus.
3 Contents Why interview? Who will I expect to see there and what are they looking for?Preparing for the InterviewMaking your first impression countMaking the Interview work for youClosing the interview stronglyFollow-upTipsNext Steps
4 The InterviewThe prospective interviewer or panel members will have read through the resumes of applicants and developed a “short list” to interview.Generally speaking the employer is usually satisfied that all applicants they are interviewing have the technical skills to do the job – and so what they are looking for is the person who they see will best fit the company and the team where the vacancy exists.As such the interview will largely be looking for the “how” you have gone about achieving outcomes so that the interviewer can get a feel for how you are likely to behave in the context of the challenges they know exist in their workplace.At BlueScope we use Targeted Selection which asks you to consider a situation you have been in, what you specifically did and how it turned out.We do this because it is seen that recent past behaviour is often the best predictor of immediate future behaviour.
5 The interview – what can I expect? SOMETIMES THERE MAY BE …A screening interview – done over the phone to check experience / competency in 1 or 2 key areas.A skills test (literacy, numeracy, mechanical reasoning) to further screen applicants.An interview panel or series of interviews where 1-2 interviewers will ask questions from different stand points and then agree on the successful candidate.A tiered interview process where there is an initial interview done by an external recruitment firm (or internal company staff) followed by a ‘second interview’ (usually for a very short list of candidates) with the specific recruiting manager.It is important that you understand the process that will be applied in each situation and that you are well prepared to do your best at each point.Make sure you make eye contact and value each person in the interview process – even if there is one clear ‘leader.’
6 Preparing for the Interview Questions As noted earlier most interviews are behavioral interviews. These are based on the idea that past behavior is the best indicator of future performance in a similar situation.Employers develop a position description or person specification that defines the competencies and attributes required for the position. The job ad will usually have the key competencies listed. If possible try to obtain a copy of the position description prior to the interview.Once you have identified the key competencies for the role identify a number of stories from your past (preferably but not necessarily exclusively from your past work roles). These stories should show that you have both the capability to achieve the desired outcome and an affective approach or style.The interviewer(s) are looking for the outcome, the process / thinking and the ‘style’ as they consider how well you will fit into the role and their team.
7 Interview BEHAVIORAL INTERVIEW… A typical questions used in a behavioral interview would be:“Tell me about a situation where you had two important deadlines to meet, and could only achieve one within the timeframe with the current resources you had available. What did you do? What was the result?”Here the interviewers are looking at your ability to understand competing priorities and either negotiate an outcome or plan your way through the challenge.
8 In the end both reports were completed and submitted on time A suitable responseYOU MIGHT RESPOND TO THIS QUESTION AS FOLLOWS…2 months ago I was requested to collate a series of statistics from 24 sites. I was given 5 days to do it. I knew it would be a tight deadline as 7 of the sites had to calculate figures manually which would take 4 days.On the Wednesday afternoon I was given a second series of statistics to collate with the expectation that they would be delivered by Friday.Once I confirmed neither deadline could be moved I contacted my network at all 24 sites and asked them what was possible. I found all but the 7 ‘manual’ sites could meet the deadline. I was able to ring their financial accountant at each of those 7 sites and explain the importance of the statistics I required. In each case they agreed to get additional resources allocated so the deadline could be met.In the end both reports were completed and submitted on time
9 Making the first impression count WHAT SHOULD I WEAR?For internal BlueScope interviews, normal work attire (for the role being sought) is acceptable.Find out what to wear as part of you pre-interview research about the company.Tailor your choice to the industry and the position.Be clean and neat – your clothes should be pressed and shoes polished.Fashion statements, revealing outfits or quirky accessories are best avoided - your focus is on demonstrating your professionalism and that you will fit with their team.Perfume and cologne / aftershave should not be over powering.Avoid wearing dark glasses as the interviewer will want you to make good eye contact.
10 Presentation Guidelines DEMEANOR…The interviewer will be considering how well and easily you will fit in as a member of their team and as a representative of their company.They will quickly be put off by the impolite arrogant know it all - but will be impressed by the polite, attentive, confident applicant.Don’t be rushed. When you are asked a question – take you time to form your answer before you speak. If you don’t understand the question ask them to repeat the question or clarify it.Put your best foot forward – there will usually be an opportunity (if only at the end) to ensure that you get across your key strengths and your “sales pitch.” Don’t leave the interview with any regrets.
11 Practical tips to make that good “first impression.” KEY TIPS INCLUDEBe polite and professional with everyone you encounter (from the receptionist on – they are sometimes part of the process).Stand tall, sit straight and slightly forward as this shows interest and confidence.Refrain form fidgeting and maintain eye contactTake you time and consider what you are going to say – then speak clearly and concisely.Consider the question before answering. You can gain time by using phrases such as ‘that’s an interesting question’ or ‘I’d like to think about that for a moment’.Try not to use expressions such as ‘you know’, ‘like’ or ‘sort of’.Don’t use colloquial expressions (don’t refer to people as “you’s”)Remember to smile and be yourself.
12 Tips for Making a Positive Impression DO’S…Be punctualShake hands on arrivalGood posture and eye contact will make you appear confidentBe professional and polite with everyoneFeel confident about yourselfTake your time when answering difficult questionsSmile – it will relax you and make others receptive to what you have to sayAvoid the temptation to be too informal, they are trying to assess you as a potential employee and representative of their companyBe prepared as it will help you to answer questions in a concise and relevant way, and will enable you to demonstrate knowledge of the company and a real interest in the job
13 Tips for Making a Positive Impression DONT’S…Arrive too early or too lateHave poor posture and fail to maintain eye contactHave poor preparation. A lack of thought about the position or research about the company will easily be highlighted and not reflect favorablyBe over friendly. Inappropriate behavior in an interview situation can be as simple as talking too much about personal circumstances, swearing or using other inappropriate languageBe negative about present and former employer, the company, its staff or procedures