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Interview Preparation

You have your job interview scheduled – Congratulations!

Now it is time to prepare, and we’ve got you covered.

Here are some top tips to prepare for an interview.

Carefully examine the job description

When preparing for an interview, use the job description as a guide to what questions you may be asked.

Study the skills and experience needed to be a suitable fit for the role and align these with your experience.

Research the company

Spending time researching the company is vital to achieving interview success.

Study the website, take time to fully understand the story behind the business and what its core values, products and services are.

It’s also a good idea to research the interview panel on LinkedIn ahead of the interview.

Consider common interview questions and plan your answers

While you won’t be able to prepare for every question thrown your way; there are a few generic questions that you can plan answers for:

Tell me about yourself

Think of this as your personal statement; it should describe who you are, what you do and what you want from an opportunity in a concise way,

What do you know about us

This is where the company research comes in handy – what do they do? What are their products/services? What’s their journey been?

What interests you about the role?

Use the JD as a guide, consider the key responsibilities and relate them to your experience, as well as the opportunity for career progression.

Why do you want to work here?

Consider what appeals to you: career progression, culture, their products or services etc.

Why are you looking to leave your current role?

Be honest but not negative – career progression, flexibility, values, team culture etc.

Strengths and Weaknesses

When it comes to these questions, it’s important to be honest but consider your answers carefully beforehand.

Key Strengths

If possible, relate your answer to the ‘what we are looking for’ section on the job description.

Weaknesses

The best approach to this is to pick out weaknesses that you’re working to improve, for example,

“In the past, I’ve struggled to ask for help, which resulted in me being burned out with a very high workload. Since then, I have been working with my current manager on a team resource plan to help both me and the team manage our workloads better and know when to ask for help.”

Tell us about a time you failed

Pick a real failure, think about why it happened and what you learned from it to help you do better in future.

Competency Questions

Competency-based questions aim to test your skills and experience, so you’ll need to answer in the context of actual, specific events.

Here are some of the classics:

Tell us about a time when you…

  • Faced a challenge at work, and how did you deal with it
  • Disagreed with a decision that was made at work
  • Made a mistake

Give an example of…

  • How you’ve navigated difficult conversations
  • How you have gone above and beyond what was expected of you
  • Your day-to-day role/responsibilities
  • A time you’ve had to perform under pressure
  • A project you’ve managed

Describe how you…

  • Prioritise your workload
  • Like to be managed

Use the STAR Method

The best way to approach competency questions is to use the STAR method; it’s a practical way to communicate your answers clearly and concisely.

Situation – Think about the situation you were in.

For example, “in my previous role as Lead Engineer, a work colleague left unexpectedly, leaving behind an important X project that had to be delivered within a very tight deadline”.

Task – What you had to do to overcome the situation

For example, “My manager asked the team for a volunteer to take on the project.”

Action – What, how and why you approached the task the way you did.

For example, “I took on the project. I saw this as an opportunity to show my dedication to the company and improve team morale. I studied the project brief carefully and put together a project plan of quick wins, tasks that would require collaboration from other teams, then executed the plan”.

Result – The outcome of your actions

For example, “The project was ready in time, my manager was delighted with my approach and the standards of the project. As a result of this, we received more work from the client and had our highest achieving month.”

Use what they give you.

You are given documents, links and email confirmations for a reason, so make sure you use them!

They can often provide great insight into the types of questions you could be asked and allow you to plan some brief answers ahead of time.

Avoid embellishing the truth!

Any invented or massively exaggerated examples could be detected and will reflect poorly on your character. You could also end up being in a role where your skillset doesn’t match what’s required, and you underperform.

“Do you have any questions for us?”

Most interviews conclude with the opportunity for you to ask any questions to the interview panel.

Consider preparing 3-5 questions before the interview that relate to either the role, company, your interests, or your knowledge.

For example:

“How do you put your values into everyday practice?”

“What are three main things you think the company does well and what do you think could be improved?”

“What type of employee succeeds in your company, and what would you see as the top qualities to have in order to succeed?”

“What would you expect me to have achieved after 6 or 12 months in this role?”

“Do you have any hesitations about my qualifications or experience?”

Also, keep a pad and paper handy, it’s good to make notes on the interview, so when it comes to asking questions, you can look at the information you have and ask questions surrounding any gaps you may have.

Identify Solutions

Here at Identify Solutions, our team of talent partners are fully qualified in managing the end-to-end recruitment process and will be there to support you every step of the way.

Why not contact us today to see how we can help you secure your next role.

Identify Solutions

💻 identify-solutions.co.uk
📧  info@identifysolutions.co.uk
📞  +44 (0) 2920 021050 – Cardiff
📞  +44 (0) 2080 514777 – London

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