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Preparing for interviews Janice Simpson Senior Careers Adviser.

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2 Preparing for interviews Janice Simpson Senior Careers Adviser

3 Learning Outcomes By the end of this session you should be able to:  Appreciate why employers use interviews  Identify the types of interviews used by employers  Understand what selectors are looking for and how interview performance is assessed  Know how to prepare for interviews  Handle the interview situation effectively

4 Why use interviews ? A two-way process A conversation with a purpose

5 The Interviewer’s Agenda Can you do the job ?  Qualifications, experience, skills, aptitudes Will you fit in ?  Personality, manner, flexibility Do you show motivation for the job ?  Attitude, approach, knowledge, general impressions  Do you live up to your application form/CV ?

6 Your Agenda To demonstrate that you are capable of doing the job  Qualifications, experience, confidence To work out whether you will enjoy working for the organisation ?  Future colleagues/managers, environment, equipment To find out whether you will enjoy the work  What will you actually be doing ?

7 Interview formats  One-to-one  Panel  Group  Assessment centre  First/second  Phone/ Skype

8 Telephone/Skype Interviews Advantages Can have notes/prompts and copy of application in front of you Own environment Don’t need to worry about getting there etc. Skype: can use body language Disadvantages Can’t see the interviewer – no cues They can’t see you – can’t rely on body language and facial expressions Your voice is your only means of expression Skype: need to consider background and clothes

9 Types of Interviews Competency based CV/application form based Case study Technical/subject based Strength based Pressure

10 Competency based interviews Competency = what the company believes to be important and useful in order to be successful in the role Need to demonstrate you have the competencies the employer is looking for Use situational examples and highlight transferable skills

11 Common competencies Positive attitude Communication Flexibility Creativity Enterprising/ innovative Problem solving Team work Influencing Organisational Analytical Numeracy IT Commercial Awareness Motivation Committed to self- development

12 Examples of Competency Based Questions Leadership  Tell us about a time when you have demonstrated leadership skills while working as part of a team. How did you identify the needs of your group ? How did you address these needs to achieve success ? Problem solving  Give an example of a situation where you have come up with a creative and practical solution to a complex problem

13 Tackling questions –think CAR Context Situation and tasks, what/where/when/with whom? Action what did you do? Result What happened? what outcome? Also: STAR (situation/task/action/result)

14 Technical Interviews  Typically used for scientific, IT or other technical positions  Questions relate to the technical knowledge/skills required to do the job/project  Could also include practical or written tasks relating to technical knowledge

15 Case Study Interview  Common in some sectors, e.g. management consultancy, finance, law…  Typically involves analysis of a business problem Aim: –To see if you would be suited to and enjoy the work Evaluated on: –Your analytical and problem solving skills –Your identification of key issues –How you develop your thinking –How you respond and stand up to questioning

16 Strength based interviews  Strength = Something you are good at and enjoy doing  Format aims to get the best out of candidates and avoid formulaic responses  Seeking genuine energy, enthusiasm and passion; Body language and verbal expression are important  Lots of questions, fast-paced, need to be able to think on your feet –How does it feel when you are out of your comfort zone ? –What’s the best thing that’s happened to you in the last 2 weeks ?

17 Preparation is key!

18 Preparation What steps would you take to prepare for an interview ? Work with a partner to prioritise 3 actions from those suggested (feel free to add your own)

19 Preparation - know yourself  Why this career/type of job?  Re-read your application and be prepared to discuss it  Ensure you can give examples for each skill and attribute that the employer is seeking  Know your strengths and weaknesses, achievements and disappointments  Be prepared to talk about these in a positive manner  Disclosure?

20 Preparation – company knowledge Research the organisation/sector –What do they do/make ? –Size/locations –How is their business doing ? –What political or market issues face them ? –Where do they sit within the general sector ? –Who are their main competitors ? –What is the organisational culture ?

21 Information Resources  - for industry information  Company literature/website  Sector journals and publications, broad sheet newspapers/websites  Professional bodies’ websites  Personal contacts / Graduate Profiles  Google, LinkedIn, Twitter  Online directories Finance related:

22 Interview Preparation Expect the obvious ! Many interview questions are predictable ….  Warm-up questions – about why you have applied and your knowledge of the job/project/organisation/sector  Academic background – skills, knowledge  About you – your strengths, skills, personal qualities, areas for development, interests  Competency based  Challenges – weaknesses, ‘awkward questions’  Scenario questions

23 Answering Questions - Strategies  Clarify questions if unsure  Ask for a repeat of question or moment to think if needed  Stay focused - take care with length of answer  Be positive !  Give specific examples  Avoid yes/no responses  Let them see the ‘real you’

24 Remember: First impressions count  Think about dress and appearance  Follow the interviewer’s guidance (eg handshake, taking a seat…)  Be polite, friendly and enthusiastic  Moderate tone of voice  Body language –Firm handshake (if offered) –Make eye contact –Smile ! –Active listening –Posture –Eliminate irritating habits…

25 Asking Questions  Make sure the answers haven’t been provided in the job description or during the interview  Suggestions: –Clarification of aspects of role (typical projects, variety of work, responsibilities) –Career development opportunities –Training –Performance assessment –Future developments –Ask your interviewer about their experiences of the organisation – work culture, what they enjoy etc

26 DODON’T Be on timeUse slang or acronyms Do your researchJump to the answer without setting the scene Be clear on your motivationUse the same example for every question Practice your examples and give them structure- CAR! Lie! LISTEN to the question carefullyCriticize past employers Answer the question!Be arrogant Use it as an opportunity to decide if the employer is for you Forget that you are always being watched!

27 Other assessment methods

28 Assessment Centres  Group activities –Discussion –Exercises (role play, case study) –Problem solving tasks  Presentations  In-tray/e-tray exercises  Psychometric tests  Written exercises (eg evaluation and recommendation, analysis of data, summarising technical information)  Work simulation tasks




32 Your personalised Careers account Access the Interactive Careers Service to:  Search hundreds of graduate vacancies  Receive alerts for sectors that interest you  Keep updated on part-time, internship and volunteering opportunities  Get involved with enterprise activities  Access a wide range of careers events  Book appointments

33 Help available from Careers  Careers Advice appointments to discuss preparation for interview  CV/application form appointments  Information appointments  Practice interviews subject to availability

34 Any Questions?

35 Tell us what you want… If you have feedback on this session, any of our services, or ideas for future activities, please email:

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