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Successful Interviews


Employer: reviews candidate's experience and abilities. Can ... Use a video camera. Practice with friends. Attend workshop. Refine technique. Interview others ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Successful Interviews

Successful Interviews
  • Making the most of the interview

Aim of the presentation
  • To encourage students to approach graduate
    recruitment strategically
  • To assist students to assess their skills,
    attributes and aptitude and match with job
    vacancy requirements
  • To assist students to improve their graduate job
    interview preparation and performance

  • Preparing for interviews
  • The interview experience
  • Your presentation at an interview
  • Questions to expect and to ask
  • Different types of interview
  • Assessment Centre
  • Psychometric Tests
  • Interview resources

  • Interview A meeting with an objective
  • Employers objective is to find the best person
    for the job
  • Employer reviews candidates experience and
  • Can you do the job? (skills, abilities,
  • Will you do the job? (interest, attitude
  • How will you fit into the organisation?
  • You impress employer and assess position on
  • What does this position offer me?
  • How does it fit with my career plans?
  • You must prove that you are the most suitable
    candidate for this position

Preparation is the key to success
  • Review own skills, experiences and qualities
  • Check CV
  • Anticipate questions and identify relevant
  • Prepare key selling points
  • Research the organisation
  • Websites, reports, articles, company literature,
  • Contacts with knowledge of organisation or sector
  • Relevant articles in the press
  • Personal visit or telephone call
  • Research the position and occupational area
  • Job description or similar
  • Current issues
  • Prepare your questions
  • Practice

  • List likely questions
  • Brainstorm answers
  • In front of a mirror
  • Use an audiotape
  • Use a video camera
  • Practice with friends
  • Attend workshop
  • Refine technique
  • Interview others

Take your portfolio to job interviews
  • Job advertisement
  • Duty statement/Position Description
  • A hard copy of your job application
  • A copy of your resume
  • Academic transcripts
  • Examples of your work
  • References
  • Info about the organisation
  • Prepared questions
  • Location details
  • Names of the interviewers
  • Anything else requested by the interviewer e.g.
    identification, completed forms

Interview stages
  • Greeting
  • Introductions
  • Warm up question
  • Formal interview
  • Invitation to ask questions
  • Closing

Watch the Body Language
  • First impressions very powerful
  • Halo effect or Devil effect
  • Allow time to relax
  • Dress appropriately
  • Entrance, introductions handshake
  • Smile and make eye contact
  • Be aware of own movements
  • Watch body language of interviewer

Anticipate the questions
  • Get-to-know-you questions
  • Technical questions
  • Behavioural questions (questions about your
  • Hypothetical questions

Typical Questions
  • About you
  • Tell me about yourself - Bring me up to date
    with your CV?
  • Why did you choose that particular degree
  • What experience have you had that is relevant to
    this post?
  • What would you consider your major achievements
    to date?
  • About the job
  • What interests you about this job?
  • What do you know about this organisation?
  • What other options are you considering?
  • How do you see your career developing 5 years?
  • If you were Head of Department, what would be
    your priorities?
  • General knowledge
  • What do you think of the Governments policy on
    college fees?
  • Whats your opinion of the Doomsday Vault

Competency-based Interviews
  • Company identifies key skills required for job
  • Designs questions to elicit evidence of skills
  • Emphasis on past behaviour as predictor of
  • Teamwork Describe a team project you worked on.
    What problems arose? How did you deal with them?
  • Communication Skills Describe situation when you
    had to persuade others to support your view.
    Give an example of any reports youve written
    which illustrate your writing skills
  • Interpersonal skills What kinds of people do you
    find it difficult to work with? How do you
    handle those situations?
  • Taking Responsibility Describe a time when you
    took responsibility to achieve a challenging goal
  • Problem-solving Tell about a time when you had
    several tasks to manage at one time with
    conflicting deadlines.

Responding to Competency Q - Structuring your
  • Q Give me an example of a problem you
    encountered. How did you approach it. What was
    the outcome?
  • STAR response
  • S Describe the situation
  • T Explain the task/problem that arose. Goal?
  • A What action did you take? Strategy?
  • R What was the result or outcome?
  • What did you learn from this experience?

Matching Skills to Requirements
  • Your evidence
  • Presentation to class
  • Example from team projects
  • Class rep, Committee
  • Fundraising for charity
  • Working in a supermarket
  • Designed website
  • Business magazines
  • Employer needs
  • Communication
  • Team work
  • Leadership
  • Initiative
  • Customer Care
  • IT
  • Commercial awareness

Your Answers
  • Listen carefully, seek clarification
  • Illustrate answers with real examples and
  • Be positive constructive criticism
  • Keep answers specific and succinct
  • Take time to respond
  • Be alert to interviewers body language
  • Speak clearly, smile and show enthusiasm
  • Know what you want to say, and find the

Qualities Employers Seek
  • Good all-round intelligence
  • Enthusiasm, commitment and motivation
  • Good communication skills
  • Team work ability
  • Ability to solve problems
  • Capacity to work hard
  • Initiative and self-reliance
  • Balanced personality

Competencies required by X Company
  • Adaptability
  • Integrity
  • Innovation
  • Drive for Results
  • Know the Business
  • Open Exchange of Information
  • Makes Difficult Decisions

Interview Marking Sheet
Name Mark-max 100
Communication Skills Max 30
Problem Solving Max 20
Team Fit Max 20
Relevant Experience Max 20
Project Management Max 10
Total Marks
Interview Rating Scale
  • Rating 0-5 0no response 5excellent
  • Selection Criteria
  • Intelligence Academic performance, Questions
  • Responsibility Work roles, external activities
  • Appearance poise First impressions
  • Interpersonal relations Interests, team-roles
  • Integrity no inconsistencies
  • Self-confidence Relaxed manner, responsible
  • Communication skills Articulate, coherent,
    grammar, responsive
  • Interests External interests, involvement
  • Leadership potential Elective offices,
  • Interviewing skills Logical thinking, knows

What creates a bad impression
  • Poor personal appearance
  • Ringing mobile phone
  • Negative attitude evasive, using excuses
  • Lack of interest and enthusiasm
  • Lack of preparation
  • Poor knowledge of role
  • Failure to give concrete examples of skills
  • Over emphasis on money/rewards
  • Lack of career plan

Types Of Interviews
  • Rotating
  • Like one-to-one with different interviewers
  • Via recruitment agency
  • Telephone
  • Group
  • 6-8 candidates
  • Group observed while discussing topic
  • Be aware of group interaction
  • Panel
  • 2-5 interviewers, or as many as 13!!
  • Try to identify different roles
  • Respond to interviewer, include others through
    eye contact
  • May involve presentation
  • Training/trial days
  • Case studies

Telephone Interviews
  • Prepare as thoroughly as for real interview
  • Select comfortable, private, quiet place
  • Advise flatmates re answering phone
  • Have copy of CV and company information
  • Have pen and paper at hand
  • Prepare for usual interview questions
  • Practice on phone
  • Record answers
  • Try standing
  • Smile and use gestures
  • Avoid monotones
  • Be yourself - dont forget your personality

Assessment Centres
  • Company premises or neutral venue
  • Includes social or informal events
  • Meeting with recent graduates or managers
  • Activities include
  • Group exercises
  • Practical tasks and exercises
  • Report writing
  • Oral Presentations
  • Psychometric assessments
  • Interviews
  • Simulates real work environment

Assessment Centres
  • In a group interview or assessment situation
  • Contribute but dont dominate
  • Be inclusive of other peoples ideas
  • Use active listening techniques, clarify input
    from others
  • Assist the group to come to decisions
  • Summarise at appropriate points
  • Ensure someone is keeping an eye on the timing
  • Use breaks to build good relations with others
  • Treat others as colleagues, not competitors

Difficult questions
  • Take your time
  • Ask for clarification
  • Use the thinking time
  • Structure your response
  • Give an example
  • Dont bluff

Psychometric Tests
  • Aptitude Tests - measure skills relevant to
  • Verbal comprehension - evaluate logic of text
  • Numerical reasoning - interpret statistical data
  • Diagrammatic reasoning - recognise patterns
  • Watch timing complete as many as possible
  • Personality Questionnaires
  • Look at personality style
  • No right or wrong answers
  • Be spontaneous, dont try to second-guess
  • Tests include built-in checks
  • Employers may be looking for different
    personality profiles
  • Practice using online tests using websites

Closing an interview
  • Allow the interviewer to signal the close
  • Read the signals and obey accordingly!
  • Listen carefully for further contact information
    e.g. notification details
  • Have some prepared and relevant enquiry if
    invited to ask questions
  • Thank each interviewer individually

After the Interview
  • Review own performance
  • thank-you email
  • what went well
  • what went badly
  • what you wished you had said
  • prepare for next stage
  • Invitation to second/final round interviews
  • assessment centre
  • psychometric testing
  • panel interview
  • Rejection letter/email
  • if you can request feedback - use it

Common interview questions
  • What appeals to you about this job?
  • Where is the industry heading in the next 3-5
  • Tell us about a significant achievement
  • Describe a time you had to motivate someone to do
  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your weak spots?
  • What is important to you in your work?
  • How do you cope with change?
  • Why did you choose to study at the University of?
  • How do others describe you?
  • Why should we select you?

Case Interviews
  • Work on a business problem or estimating exercise
  • Perform basic calculations with large numbers
  • Structure your answer
  • Demonstrate your ability to solve complex
    problems and your analytical thought processes
    and logic
  • Can be interactive, ask questions, seek
    clarification, brainstorm
  • One on one style interview
  • Take notes, use a whiteboard
  • The interviewer will observe and answer questions

Your Questions
  • Training programmes
  • Career development opportunities
  • Types of projects responsibilities
  • Reporting structure
  • Profile of staff
  • Questions about topics raised in interview
  • What happens next?

Questions you could ask
  • What are your expectations of the successful
  • Does the organisation have a mentoring scheme?
  • What are the quality standards for this role?
  • How will my work be evaluated?
  • Do you support further study?
  • Is it possible to rotate through different
  • How does your organisation give back to the
  • If I were to be successful for this job, how do
    you suggest I prepare for my first week in the
  • Do you have any questions or concerns about my
    qualifications or experience that I may answer
    for you?

  • Describe a time when you demonstrated high level
    skills in organisation and time management in a
    marketing role
  • Situation While on student placement in the
    Careers Centre, my role was to assist the
    Industry Development Manager to organise the 2007
    Careers Fair at the University.
  • Task I reviewed and redeveloped the marketing
    strategies to students and
  • employers. I also assisted with organising the
    logistics of venue hire, catering, security and
    exhibition hire.
  • Action One of the key methods to advertise the
    Fair to students each year is the postcards
    that are mailed out to final year students. I
    designed the postcard this year to fit with the
    theme of Carnivale. The timing of the student
    advertising campaign was scheduled for March and
    April and included the postcards, banners,
    flyers and posters. I used Project Management
    software to plan and manage the scheduling.
  • Result Over 80 employers exhibited at the Fair
    which was the largest number to date and over
    2500 students attended. Feedback from both
    employers and students was positive. I received a
    certificate of appreciation for my role in
    organising the student marketing campaign.

  • Describe a time when you demonstrated leadership
    and decision making
  • Situation While in my final year I worked on a
    team-based project where we were required to
    produce XXX to industry standards.
  • Task There were 5 other students in this team
    and although there was no designated leader, we
    each took on a leadership role. I tended to be
    the team coordinatorensuring tasks were
    allocated according to strengths, progress was
    made and deadlines were met.
  • Action I liaised with the academics and industry
    contacts regularly and read widely on the topic
    to provide the broad perspective required of this
    type of project. My ability to analyse
    available data and guide the group in joint
    decision-making was an important element in the
    success of the project.
  • Result I have developed skills in managing
    meetings and discussions. We receive a High
    Distinction and presented at a faculty meeting to
    visiting academics and industry

Handling Nerves
  • Everyone gets a bit nervous learn to use your
    adrenalin to advantage
  • Practice LISTENING and your interview response
  • Remember that most interview situations are
  • Tell the panel if you are feeling particularly
    nervous but otherwise dont apologise for being
  • Take a deep breath and remember to keep breathing
  • Keep your talking pace modulated (dont babble!)
  • Recognise and manage the physical symptoms e.g.
    sweaty palms, mind goes blank, perspiration, lump
    in throat, butterflies, twitchy hands
  • Take application form, notes, resume, reports

Improving Your Interview and Follow up
  • Review your resume and application
  • Add to your skills audit
  • Call and ask for feedback
  • Focus on the positive
  • Keep improving
  • Keep motivated
  • Send a thank you note or email if appropriate
  • Celebrate!
  • Take time out to reflect
  • Record the questions they asked
  • Record the answers you gave
  • Jot down improvements you could make
  • Review your preparation
  • Review your behaviour and dress
  • Talk it over with someone

  • They are assessing you and you are assessing them
  • See the interview as a chance to share
  • Not all interviewers are skilled at interviewing
  • It takes time to get a job dont give up
  • Maintain your energy, set small goals each day
  • Have back-up plans