Warning - may cause job loss and you may still be charged.
No matter how well-qualified you are for a job, your personality and personal presentation will count greatly at interview. Whatever your confidence levels, you can develop and work on the skills required to make the interview process more bearable.
Whether you're looking for a new job in your field or you’re about to embark on a complete career change, researching information on your potential employer is a vital part of the interview process.
Preparation for the interview is one of the essential ingredients for success. Not only will the knowledge from the research help you decide whether you'd like to work for a particular organisation, it will also enable you to formulate some informed questions, should you be invited to an interview.
You can gain a better understanding of what career potential exists with a certain employer, or within a particular industry, by using certain resources.
Important background information on an employer includes the types of activities carried out, existing jobs and the company's financial stability.
If you're researching a certain industry, trade associations and institutes produce membership directories and journals that provide information about trends and issues in the field. Almost every type of industry has a trade association affiliation or dedicated institute. You can find this information online, or by going to your local library and searching for a book on trade associations. If the Company is in the Technology sector, consider following The Register etc etc etc.
The key to effective research lies in your preparation and targeting devices. Once you've identified the industry you want to work, and located potential employers, your next step is to research the specific people who will help you to find out more about the job or get you an interview. See what positions they are advertising for, don't just focus on the position you want, take a look at the other positions, this will give you an idea about the structure of the company.
Succeeding at the interview depends on many factors, such as previous experience, character, skills and ability. However, one of the most common mistakes to make during the application process is to carry out insufficient research on prospective employers.
Before meeting your potential employer, you'll need to be aware of the following:
What does the company do and how?
The company's financial state – are they expanding or downsizing?
Who are their major competitors?
What skills they are looking for, such as education or previous experience?
What you can offer them?
Having a general overview about the organisation will also give you confidence during the first interview, so that you can refer to your research when asking questions. For example, if you were going for a marketing executive position within a direct marketing agency, you could say, "I understand from your annual report you spend a certain percentage on advertising. How much of this is allocated to direct marketing spend?"
Rather than asking how many employees are in the company, which you could have found out yourself, the above question implies you have taken time and effort to prepare for the interview. The interviewer will take this as a sure sign that you're serious about the company, job and future career.
With modern technology such as the internet, there are no excuses for not being able to find out the relevant information on your prospective employer(s). Not only can you drop into your local library, you can also visit your local internet café.
The Company's twitter, Facebook and other social media pages will provide information before you attend interviews. The Company website will also give details of the job location, skills and experience required, size of the firm and salary. Search the internet for reviews of the company or its products and services, find other websites that have information or have spoken about the company, allowing you to find out as much information as possible for the interview. See if you can find email addresses of people working for the company on its website, or elsewhere. If you can strike up a relationship, they might be able to give you useful information or even provide a good word about you to the manager in charge of recruitment.
We hope this post helps you gain a positive outcome for your interview.
Focus on: Listening skills, Empathy, Logic and communication.
Focus on: Questioning the customer, active listening, establishing rapport, meeting their needs and influencing skills.
Focus on: Time management skills, prioritizing work, Business needs, personal motivation and self improvement.
Focus on: Ability to take criticism, Self improvement, ability to learn from experience and handling pressure.
Focus on: Team spirit, helping others, and understanding the team members
Focus on: Treating the customer as an individual, exceeding their expectations and making sure they are satisfied.
Below we have included a more comprehensive list of questions that you may be asked. Meditate on each question and write down answers that are good for you. Think about the answers we have already done above, and try to answer in the same manner.
Tell me about yourself
Take me through your CV / Application Form
What made you choose this career?
Why are you applying for this post?
Why do you want to leave your current post?
Why do you want to work for our organisation?
What do you know about our organisation?
How have you prepared for this interview?
What will you do if we don't offer you this position?
What can you bring to this company?
What do you think that our company can bring you?
What makes you think that you are the best candidate for this post?
How can you help us develop?
What makes you tick in life?
How do you see yourself in 5 / 10 years' time?
How have you planned your career?
What are you most/least proud of?
If you had to start your career all over again, what would you change?
Looking back at your career (or training), what do you feel went well and what could be improved?
What makes you a good communicator?
How would you describe your communication skills?
What is your management experience?
How do you manage an underperforming colleague?
How do you manage upwards?
What is the difference between management and leadership?
What makes you a good leader?
How would you describe your leadership skills
Do you prefer to work on your own or as part of team?
Who do you regard as your role model?
If you had to invite three famous people (alive or dead) for dinner, who would you choose and why?
How do you make sure that your team is up to scratch?
What makes you a good team player?
What makes a good team?
What are your main strengths?
Give us three adjectives that describe you best?
How would colleagues describe you?
What you like written in your obituary?
What is your main weakness?
How can you convince me that I can trust you?
What qualities do you have that would make you a good lawyer/teacher/manager/etc?
How do you measure success?
How do your managers motivate you?
What skills do you need to develop most?
What is the biggest mistake that you have made?
How do you handle stress?
How do you handle pressure?
What is the biggest decision that you have ever had to make?
How do you motivate your colleagues?
Tell us about your worst colleague/manager?
What is your approach to resolving conflict?
Describe an instance when your work was criticised.
What do you think about being mentored?
How would you handle a situation where you mentor recommended an approach that you disagreed with?
Tell us how you influence colleagues?
Tell us how you would manage a conflict with a third-party provider, quoting your experience.
What is the riskiest thing you've ever done?
What makes you angry?
Do you ever lose your temper?
How do you cope with criticism?
Tell us about your hobbies
Give us an example of a situation where... / Tell us about a time when...
your communication skills made a difference to a situation.
you had to resolve a conflict with a colleague
you dealt with a difficult client
you played a key role in a team
you showed strong leadership
you took initiative
you set and achieved a goal
you improved the way things were typically done on the job
you improved the performance of your work unit
you have maximised or improved the use of resources beyond your own work unit to achieve improved results
you changed your priorities to meet others' expectations
you altered your own behaviour to fit the situation
you had to change your point of view or your plans to take into account new information or changing priorities.
you identified a challenge or opportunity based on your industry knowledge, and developed a strategy to respond to it
you created a strategy to achieve a longer term objective
you used your business knowledge to understand a specific business situation
you provided service to a patient/stakeholder beyond their expectations
you had to deal with a patient/stakeholder service issue
you acted as an advocate for your stakeholder’s needs
there was some organisational resistance to be overcome
you had to bring a difficult person on board
your communication skills did not succeed in getting something done
you were successful in getting people to work together effectively
you were a member (not a leader) of a team, and a conflict arose within the team
you provided negative feedback to someone about their performance
you recognized that a member of your team had a performance difficulty/deficiency
you went through a series of steps to influence an individual or a group on an important issue
you needed to influence different stakeholders with differing perspectives
you inspired others to meet a common goal.
you helped your organisation become more efficient