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Candidate Preparation The client interview is the final stage of the process for the candidate.

The interview process can be incredibly nerve-wracking and therefore we would like to offer a few basic tips on interview coaching. 1. Be Prepared Remember that everyone who is interviewing is not necessarily a good interviewer. Learn to recognise a poor interviewer and help them discover all your good points. Research, research, research. Absorb annual reports, press releases and company-issued material as well as reviewing magazine and newspaper articles. Check out their web-site. The more comfortable you become with the prospective employers public face, the easier it will be to respond intelligently during your interview. Be Professional Take a good, critical look in the mirror. If you need a haircut, get one. Dont think that the interviewer will not notice the spot on your suit, they will. Polish your shoes. This is not a good time for that brown suit with the purple stripe. Keep jewellery and cologne to a minimum. Stop in the bathroom before the interview and carefully check your appearance. Avoid personal matters whenever possible. Never, ever say anything negative about anyone. It makes you look bad and not them. Be Polite Dont interrupt. A good cue as to when to begin talking is when the other persons lips are closed. Half open and they probably have more to say. Listen. If the interview is being conducted in a restaurant, mind your table manners. Order something easy to eat. Mirror the style and the conversation topics of the interviewer. If they are serious and soft-spoken, you should be too. Avoid loud laughter, profanity (even the mildest), politics or anything controversial. Be Positive You only get one chance to make a first impression make sure its a good one. Interviewers want to know what you can contribute to the company to improve it. Briefly review accomplishments when asked. Dont brag and dont exaggerate. Every company wants employees who are goal-oriented, career-driven, enthusiastic and motivated. Be the employee they want. Ask the interviewer what it would take for a new hire to succeed in the position. If possible, ask about the interviewers background. You may learn additional information about the company. Close on a positive note. The hiring official needs to know that you are interested, enthusiastic and excited about the position and the company. Shake hands, make eye contact and be open and accessible. If you love the job, love the company and want the opportunity, tell them! Be Practical When and if the topic of salary comes up, state that you know they will make a fair offer based on the requirements of the position. If you are offered the position during the interviewing process, and you want the job, ACCEPT IT. If the offer is not acceptable for any reason, ask for time to consider the offer.





Competency Based Interviews

Increasingly, employers are using 'competency-based' (also sometimes called 'behavioural' or 'situational') interviewing techniques to separate out the good candidates from those who are simply trying to bluff their way into the job without the right skills or experience. The theory behind competency-based interviewing is that past work behaviour is a good predictor of future job performance. When interviewers ask you competency-based questions, they want you to talk about how you have actually tackled real problems in the past. From this, they are trying to infer how effectively you would tackle future problems if they were to offer you a job. How to answer Competency Based Questions You have to demonstrate your skills, knowledge and attitude to perform the job task effectively, at or above the standard required as identified in the competency. Therefore: 1. Prepare a list of situations that you have faced/experienced in your professional life and the ways you handled these cases. 2. Study each competency/skill requirements and approaches the Internet is a great database. 3. Be prepared for each question with a story. A complete answer to a competency based question must explain the case, the action and the result therefore a good answer should contain all of these components thereby presenting the gained skill of the individual. The "CAR" approach A good way of dealing with this type of question is by using the CAR approach. CAR stands for Context, Action, Result. It helps you to structure your answer as a mini essay. The CONTEXT forms an introduction, describing the scenario you faced, date and place. The ACTION forms the main body and should be the longest part. The RESULT is the conclusion, and, like the introduction, should be quite short. Sometimes CAR is called STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result). It's exactly the same but with Situation and Task combined into Context. EXAMPLE QUESTION: Describe how your personal planning and organisation resulted in the successful achievement of a task. EXAMPLE ANSWER: CONTEXT Describe the situation and the Whilst employed at Fuel Logistics last summer I was specific task you were faced with, given the task of rationalising the stock control when, where, with whom? system ACTION How? What action did YOU take? I would look at factors such as when the stock was Sometimes people focus on what the last ordered, what it was used for and how often it group did without mentioning their was used. I worked out a method of streamlining the individual contribution. paperwork involved in this process and redesigned the relevant forms, which I then submitted to my manager. RESULT What results did you My ideas were accepted and implemented and a 15% achieve/conclusions did you reduction in stock levels was achieved. reach/what did you learn from the experience?

Example Competency Based Questions 1. 2. 3. Give an example of when you had to present complex information in a simplified manner in order to explain it to others. Have you ever taken initiatives to solve customer problems that where beyond/above your responsibilities? What are the steps that you take to maintain good co-worker relationships?

Twenty Commonly Asked Interview Questions

These questions may be familiar to you. Interviewers ask them to assess intelligence and attitudes, get information, and gauge communication abilities and to see how you think. The wise candidate will formulate brief, articulate responses, which are relevant to their own experience and philosophy and review them just prior to going to the interview. 1. Why do you want to work here?

Because you have done your homework, you know exactly why you want to work there. Organise your reasons into short, hard-hitting sentences. Stay positive discuss the positives of the company, not the negatives of your current employer. 2. Why do you want to change jobs?

This is one of the first questions interviewers ask. Stay brief, stay positive and stay focussed. If your present position has become routine, indicate that you feel the need for more challenge. Handle interpersonal conflicts carefully. You dont want to come across as a malcontent or a troublemaker. 3. Why should I hire you?

Dont embark on a lengthy review of your CV. The interviewer already knows that material. Instead, emphasise your common ground: You have the qualifications the company needs to help them succeed; your work philosophy and the companys are the same. 4. What interests you most about this position?

Give a truthful, but brief answer like The challenge, The future, The environment, The competitiveness. These responded will force the hiring official to probe more deeply and to give you another opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge of the company. 5. Would you like to have your Bosss job?

By all means Yes! Ambitious, hungry people are always preferred over those who are content to stay in one place. If you feel this response is threatening to the interviewer, add When I am judged to be qualified or If an opening should develop at the appropriate time. 6. Are you willing to go where the company sends you?

This is probably being asked because the company intends to relocate you at some point in the future. If you answer no, you may not be hired. If your answer is yes, understand that once you are a trusted employee, you may not be able to exert any type of leverage to avoid those less desirable assignments. 7. What kinds of decisions are most difficult for you?

Be human. Admit that not everything comes easily. However, watch what you do say. I have trouble deciding how many drinks to have at lunch can be interpreted negatively. Try to stay positive. I find it difficult to decide which of two employees must be let go reiterates that you have had hiring/ firing authority, and are compassionate as well. 8. How do you feel about your progress to date?

Never apologise for yourself. Something like I think I have done well, but I need new challenges and opportunities. This says several positive things about you and your attitude about your career. 9. How long will you stay with the company?

A reasonable response would be as long as I continue to learn and grow in my field. 10. Have you done the best work you are capable of doing? This is best answered with some degree of self-effacement. No one wants to believe that theyve hit their peak already. Words to the effect that, I believe I have always tackled assignments with all my talent and energy indicates a consistent level of excellent performance.


What would you like to be doing five years from now?

Tread carefully. Be sure that your stated ambitions for the next five years are reasonable goals. If youre interviewing for the mailroom, youre probably not going to be president in five years. Your goals to move to another company, another department or to a hut on the beach are best kept to yourself. To be an even more valuable asset to this company or the like is a good answer. 12. What training / qualifications do you have for this job?

Deliver a short, fact-filled summary of your two or three most important, relevant qualifications. I have a background in accounting and I have demonstrated proven selling ability. I am also capable of handling several projects simultaneously. 13. Explain the time gaps on your CV

Be prepared to explain any time gaps. Put a positive spin on them, if possible. Educational opportunities, family emergencies and the like are easy to explain, especially if they are non-recurring. 14. Why have you changed jobs so frequently?

Unsatisfactory responses to this question are among the top reasons why a candidate is not offered the position. If there is a clear pattern of problems (i.e. interpersonal conflicts, quality or efficiency issues), be prepared to discuss what steps you have taken to improve yourself. If the changes were youthful mistakes or changes in circumstances say so. Stay focussed and concise. 15. Have you ever hired or fired anyone?

You are being asked this question for two very important reasons. First, the interviewer is attempting to determine whether you are capable of performing this function. Second, the interviewer is probing to see if your previous positions were at a high enough level to include these responsibilities. If you have no experience in these areas, be prepared to convince the interviewer that you can carry out these difficult duties. 16. How have you helped sales / profits / cost reductions?

Have your hero stories ready, but be willing to prove that you were indeed responsible for improvements in these areas. Keep your explanations short and include figures if possible. 17. Why arent you earning more at your age?

This is a current favourite which can scare the daylights out of an unprepared candidate. One of the following responses should cover your situation. 18. I have been willing to sacrifice any short-term rewards in order to gain valuable benefits. I have received (or been promised) company stock in lieu of salary increase. I have chosen to gain a reputation as a person who builds their career on solid, longterm achievement, not as a job hopper.

How many people have you supervised?

Similar to question 15, the interviewer is trying to determine the depth of your experience. Dont exaggerate!! 19. What are the reasons for your success?

It is best to keep this answer very general, permitting the interviewer to probe more deeply, if he or she feels it necessary. Offer a brief list of the traits you believe are your best. These could be: Strong work ethic Ability to work with all sorts of personalities Attention to detail


Integrity Sense of humour Articulate Well-educated, well-read

What kind of experience do you have for this job?

Summarise four or five areas of your experience, which you know will enhance your ability to perform well in your new position. Demonstrate how those traits mesh with the needs of the new company. My experience in new product introductions will be helpful with your marketing programs. My attention to detail and knowledge base will maximise the money that this company spends and minimise overspending.

We cannot over-emphasise the importance of thorough preparation prior to an interview. You may feel foolish developing and rehearsing answers out loud, but if those polished responses get you the job you want, then talk, talk, talk. Youll feel more relaxed and will be able to respond intelligently to whatever an interviewer throws at you.