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Tips On How To Prepare For An Interview

Let’s face it interviews are not easy. If I am honest with you, I absolutely hate them and wish you could get a job by telling the truth. By the truth I wish you could say … look I need this ace this interview because I need the experience to move up further in the world and oh yeah, I need to pay bills – this is very important. But no. you have to sale yourself in what I would call in quite a superficial way.

This can be very hard for several people. Having an interview is like a game; you have to understand the game and once you do – you’re in!  

There are several types of interviews:  

A Telephone Interview 

Many companies request an initial telephone interview before inviting you in for a face to face meeting. I have done this in the past when I worked in recruitment, it is usually to get a feel of the type of candidate you are. The benefit here is that you don’t have to change, and you can have your notes in front of you. 

A Face-to-Face Interview 

This can be a meeting between you and one member of staff or more members. 

A Lunch / Dinner Interview 

This can depend on the company; these type of interview gives the employer a chance to assess your communication and interpersonal skills as well as your table manners! Luck I have never had one of these interviews because when I eat, I don’t care about table manners! 

A Group Interview 

This can involve several candidates present at this type of interview. I had lots of these interviews whilst at college and working in retail.  I have also in the past had group interviews with PwC or JohnLewis this can be difficult because you have an exercise/task where you are required to use your brain. You may have to also interact with other candidates. 

A Formal / Informal Interview 

This interview can again depend on the company. Some interviews can be very formal, others may be very informal and seem like just a chat about your interests. I had one of these recently, they can last about 30 mins; there basically there to see if you will be a good fit for the team.  

A Portfolio Based Interview 

I have never had this personally so please correct me if I am wrong! This interview I understand to be for design / digital people! I have friends that work in this industry and they have explained that the interview is usually being asked to take your portfolio along or show it online.  

A Competency-Based Interview 

This interview is structured to reflect the competencies the employer is seeking for a particular job. Since my career started, I have been asked to prepare for a competency-based interview.  

These will usually be detailed in the job spec so make sure you read it through and have your answers ready for questions such as

“Give me an example of a time you worked as a team to achieve a common goal.” For more examples of competency-based questions click here

For the purpose of this post I will be focusing on Competency Based Interviews. Competency interviews are so not easy! It took me a while to get it before I did and as I said before once understood the process of the interview.  I was in. the trick about interviewing is practice, practice and more practise – but I want to share below a few tips on how to get you started: 

1. Practise  

I have been lucky to have managers, mentors who are happy to do a quick run through interview with me. Ask someone for a run through and take the feedback that is given, honestly, I wouldn’t have my current role if someone didn’t suggest to take the time out and do a run-through interview with me. 

2. Give solid examples  

I recently did some interviewing myself and was surprised by the lack of depth that went into the examples when candidates were answering the question. Don’t get me wrong I have been there and I know when I have given an example and it hasn’t been great. Hence why it is important to give one solid example for each question and if you sense a number of questions following then maybe think about another example which can answer the question. The point is to get the role so think about yourself already in the job and what examples you can give which can link to that role and use STAR. 

S-situation  
T-task  
A-action  
R-result  

3. Take your time 

Some people are so nervous in an interview they avoid or mishear the question. Let’s face it if you don’t answer the question you are very unlikely going to get the role. Be sure to answer the question and if you don’t have the answer for it think about the role and how you may act accordingly if you were given the role. As an interviewer they want to again that you are using initiative.  

4. Avoid using the word ‘we’  

Another pet peeve of mine is candidates using the word ‘we’ rather than I. another thing I noticed when the interview is candidates using the word, we! Just don’t do it!  I don’t want to hear that we did this I want to know what you can do so I want to hear I organised a meeting, I then liaised with my colleagues or I took the incentive. It sounds so much better than we organised. Of course, there will be times where you have to use the words, we because let’s face it no one does everything by themselves. my point is that – the panel wants to understand what you are capable of doing.  

I may have missed other types of interviews, so please let me know other interviews you may have faced! 

Also Read: ‘If You Are Not A Doctor, Lawyer, Accountant Or Engineer, You Don’t Have A Good Job’!

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