9 Interview Hot Tips
1 Strengths and Weaknesses
Remember – strengths are always in the present tense – I am brilliant – weaknesses are always in the past tense – I used to be a loner until I ….., in other words admit to a weakness but imply that it is no longer a problem – you’ve conquered it.
2 Answers to Closed Questions
Never give a closed answer to a closed question – always give an illustration. “Are you attentive to detail?” not “Yes”, instead say “Yes I believe so, one recent example that springs to mind was when we were etc etc, so in the end it reduced the downtime by three months and saved the company £4m.”
3 Imply Multiple Examples
In giving illustrations and examples always use phrases and adjectives that imply that this is one of several examples you could give. You notice in the previous answer we have “one recent example that springs to mind”. Another phrase could be “one of many illustrations was when…” or words to use in this context are “main”, “predominant” and “first”. See if you can find some more for yourself.
4 Euphemisms for “I am …..”
If you are uncomfortable with “I am …..”, as many Europeans are, try using “my colleagues valued me for ….” or “my company liked the way I ….” or “my boss used to praise me for my …” Again see whether you can come up with a few other phrases you could use.
5 Achievement Type Answers
One technique we strongly recommend during interview preparation is to forge a mental link between each of your achievements and the strengths and soft or transferable skills you needed or used in order to convert what you did into an achievement. In this way when you spot a question related to a particular strength or skill you can refer back to your mental matrix and give a good illustration.
6 Achievements in Your Questions
Towards the end of the interview you will undoubtedly be given an opportunity to come up with your own questions. As inevitably happens there may well be one or two achievements that you think may be particularly relevant but which have not cropped up in your answers to their questions during the regular back and forth of the interview. If this is so, remember to ask a question that allows you to give the achievement as the reason for asking the question. For example, “I see from the latest information on your web site that the company is thinking of opening an office in Paris. Would the successful candidate be involved in that operation? I merely ask because when I was with ABC Ltd I was tasked with opening a new branch in Lyon, a branch that is still going strong today.”
7 Ask Open Questions
Ask open questions at the end, usually starting with ‘what’ or ‘how’ or ‘could you tell me about’, in order to get an idea of the culture of the organisation. For example, “What’s the communication culture like?” Don’t ask closed questions such as, “Is it a team environment?” Your questions betrays what you want, and if it isn’t, then you have put the interviewer on the spot! You need to be much more subtle in your questioning.
8 Handle Objections
there is one important concept that you should explore as perhaps your penultimate question. Imagine the scenario: you’ve left the room and one of your interviewers turns to his colleague and says, “She didn’t mention her IT skills at all did she?” “You’re right, I think we should go for the other one we saw!” Accordingly, your question should be, using your own words, “On the basis of what we have gone through today would you have any reservations about my suitability for the role?” Find out what the objections may be before you leave the room.
9 What’s Next?
The final question is always “What’s the next stage – when can I expect to hear from you?” Use your own words, but you need to know what is going to happen next and when
If you think your interview technique could do with a polish, try one of our Career Support Sessions. CSS13 is about “How To Prepare Before Your Interview” and CSS14 is about “How To Win During Your Interview”. Have a look on our web site at https://proteuscareers.com/quick-support-sessions/ for more details and then call us to book your sessions on 0800 033 6185.