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Interviews Nicola Urquhart Employability Adviser.

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Presentation on theme: "Interviews Nicola Urquhart Employability Adviser."— Presentation transcript:

1 Interviews Nicola Urquhart Employability Adviser

2 INTERVIEW SKILLS Nicola Urquhart University of Kent Careers and Employability Service You can download a copy of this presentation at

3 Introduction What not to do. How to prepare Common interview questions Questions you can ask After the interview Interview reports Social Media Careers and Employability Service Staying in touch Questions

4 HOW NOT TO INTERVIEW Candidate wore an i-Pod explaining that she could listen to the interviewer and music at the same time. Announced she hadn't had lunch and proceeded to eat burger and chips during the interview. Bald candidate excused himself and returned to the interview a few minutes later wearing a wig. Interrupted interview to phone her therapist for advice on how to answer specific questions. Dozed off during the interview. Said he never finished high school because he was kidnapped and kept in a wardrobe.

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6 Research the employer and the job Prepare answers to obvious questions Know your CV Think of your unique selling points Think of how you would answer questions about your weaknesses Prepare some questions to ask Dress smartly Leave plenty of time to get there PREPARATION - THE KEY TO SUCCESS

7 What is Employability? ‘A set of attributes, skills and knowledge that all labour market participants should possess to ensure they have the capability of being effective in the workplace – to the benefit of themselves, their employer and the wider economy.’ (CBI, March 2009)

8 Why are employability skills so important now? Changing world of work: Global economy More career changes New technology Roles change

9 Employers increasingly interested in attributes Enthusiastic Self motivated Resilient Positive Able to cope under pressure

10 May not be able to find out much about small companies - research the industry and ask questions. RESEARCHING THE EMPLOYER AND THE JOB

11 Shake hands warmly, but wait to be invited to sit down. Smile Try to relax - don’t sit on the edge of your chair, but don’t slouch. Speak clearly and not too fast Don’t fidget BODY LANGUAGE

12 What employers say… "Few students are able to articulate what they have gained from their experience in higher education." (Association of Graduate Recruiters, 1995)

13 Why are you applying to us? Why have you chosen IT/law etc.? What makes you suitable for this job? What other jobs are you applying for? Where do you see yourself in five years? Why did you choose your degree course? What have you got out of University? What do you do in your spare time? What do you get out of it? PREPARE ANSWERS TO OBVIOUS QUESTIONS

14 COMPETENCY-BASED QUESTIONS Describe a situation where you had to..... show leadership make a difficult decision overcome a difficult obstacle refuse to compromise work with others to solve a problem

15 COMPETENCY-BASED QUESTIONS Start by briefly outlining the situation Keep the focus on your specific tasks or responsibilities Say what action you took, then try to summarise what you achieved Give concrete results when possible. If you cannot be totally positive about the experience, say what you learned from it. Situation/Tasks/Action/Result

16 Providing evidence for employability skills Example of the STAR approach: Describe a situation where you have demonstrated leadership skills. It was a busy Saturday at Debenhams and I was responsible for supervising the staff on the electrical section. We were given a sales target to meet and I motivated the staff with praise and encouragement. I also acted as a role model by demonstrating how to close sales effectively. That day the team achieved a sales result of 5% above the target.

17 "How would you deal with an irate customer?” Interviewer picks up an object from the desk. "Sell me this pen". BA pilot - asked what he would do if he met the captain wearing a dress in the hotel bar. HYPOTHETICAL QUESTIONS

18 Used because it's impossible to work out your answer beforehand. Test your ability to think quickly, logically, produce practical solutions. Don't panic! Take a few seconds to think - this shows confidence. Just try to think of one or two sensible things to say to start off. There may be many possible solutions. HYPOTHETICAL QUESTIONS

19 What is your Zodiac sign? Do I have to dress for the next interview? I know this is off the subject, but will you marry me? Will the company pay to relocate my horse? When is pay day? Would it be a problem if I'm angry most of the time? Why am I here? REAL QUESTIONS FROM CANDIDATES

20 DON’T ASK about holidays, pensions and parking facilities. DO ASK about training, career development and the work itself. PREPARE QUESTIONS TO ASK

21 How is performance at work assessed? What is a typical career path in this job? Can you give me more details of your training programme? What is the ‘‘work culture’’? i.e. informal, formal, do people work autonomously, does everyone come in early, stay late? What are the challenges that your organisation is facing? What is your personal experience of working for this organisation? If I was successful how could I best prepare? PREPARE QUESTIONS TO ASK

22 Assessment Centres What happens at a selection centre? Selection centres usually last for one or two days. During this time a group of candidates - typically 6-8 people - will take part in a range of tasks, both individually and as a group, designed to assess the competencies that the employer requires. The group exercises (and some of the individual exercises, such as presentations) will be observed by assessors noting the skills and competencies displayed by candidates. At some centres, there will be one observer assigned to each candidate.group exercises presentationscompetencies

23 FOLLOWING UP The interviewer will probably let you know when you’ll know the result. If they haven't made this clear, ask! The next stage may be a second interview or selection centre. After the interview, make notes on the questions asked and what you could have done better. Thank the interviewer Follow up with an e mail, ask for feedback

24 INTERVIEW REPORTS A selection of reports completed by students after they have been to interview. Give details of questions asked, tests administered and tips for candidates. Fill in our interview report to help other candidates know what to expect.

25 PRACTICE INTERVIEWS ONLINE Teaching, accountancy, banking, journalism, marketing, retail personnel, Civil Service, postgrad. study, scientific research, IT and law Answers to 150 interview questions Telephone interviews

26 Use Social Media LinkedIn – fantastic way to build your employer knowledge Allows you to connect to employers and to build your knowledge Able to contact 1 st and 2 nd degree connections Join groups.

27 What is Twitter is a form of micro-blogging Twitter gives you 140 characters per ‘tweet’ to say what’s on your mind You can follow people/companies/ recruiters who interest you.

28 Ideas on who to follow: Companies/employers you are interested in working for Industry experts/bloggers Professional networks and industry/professional publications Job sites and job boards Recruiters / headhunters / HR personnel who are hiring for the roles you're

29 Use MyFolio to begin to record evidence you could use for interviews. Record your thoughts, feelings and reactions when carrying out a task – Did you enjoy doing it? https://myfolio.kent.ac.uk/myfolio/ https://myfolio.kent.ac.uk/myfolio/ Use MyFolio as a space to reflect on your values – what is important to you salary, status, working hours, location etc? Use MyFolio to learn to write reflectively. Record what you have learned, activities undertaken, what would you do differently next time?

30 Telephone: Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9 to 5 including vacations Drop-in times (no appointment needed): to & 2 to 5 pm

31 Duty Adviser Drop in quick query available between am p.m. and p.m. every day. No appointment needed - just drop in.

32 Stay up-to-date with what is happening Employability Newsletter Follow us on Facebook at University of Kent Student Employability Follow us on Twitter Check out your School website.

33 INTERVIEW SKILLS Nicola Urquhart University of Kent Careers and Employability Service You can download a copy of this presentation at


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