We hope that you are all well, especially if in the UK where the weather conditions are not great, we hope that you are taking extra care.
Today’s post is based on Interview Tips. Before we get into it, we’d like to thank Angela Mortimer the Recruitment Company for sending over an information pack on Interview Tips. The information on there is very helpful, so we thought why not design a post on it.
For those of you that don’t know Angela Mortimer, it is a recruitment company based in Soho. They have 40 years of experience in finding recruitment for a full range of office support and executive roles, different levels of experience, across all industry areas.
The team makes our life very easy when it comes to telling us what exactly employers are trying to evaluate. These are fundamentals you need to bear in mind.
- Are you able to do the job?
- Are you willing to put in the effort to make the job a success?
- Are you manageable?
Competency Based Interviewing: These are also known as behavioral or situational questions. The key thing here that an employer is trying to find is, how you used a particular skill in the past and how you approached the situation.
Here are examples of how these competency based questions may be:
- Tell me about a time you had to deal with a challenging situation
- Give me an example of when you have showed your initiative
Ensure that the example you give is specific, intelligent, and thought through. Highlight your skills and how you have acted in the situation.
“It is essential to prepare solid, specific examples to use in your interview. I would ensure you have at least 3 examples to use during the interview – make sure they are specific – it is not enough to say that you demonstrate initiative every day, you must go into enough detail to say, for example, “during this project XYZ at (my current company), the boss was away and there was no one else in the office and an important client needed some information urgently. So I took the initiative to find out the clients exact requirements and found the information in the project files, and checked with another department manager that it was ok to distribute this information. The result in the end was that the client was happy and ended up not missing his deadline, and my boss was very impressed with the initiative I had demonstrated….”
The employer could ask for any skill, e.g. time management, leadership etc. This is why it is important that you highlight all your skills ESPECIALLY the ones required by the employer. Have an example for each skill before you go to the interview!
Common Interview Questions
Below are the most frequently asked questions at interviews, and Angela Mortimer’s advice on how to go about these questions.
Tell me about yourself: Remember, this question does not ask you to ramble or talk about your personal life decisions. Keep it professional! You should also talk about your personal qualities such as you being resilient or an excellent team-player. Tell a story that’s based on your qualities and accomplishments.
What is you greatest strength: Sometimes employers ask for a top three, whatever they ask, it is best to mention some of the things in the job description as a strength. Alternatively, talk about a quality that you know is relevant.
What is your greatest weakness?: There’s two ways to approach this question. You could take something that is a minor requirement of the job, something that can be learnt easily given the chance. For example, ‘I haven’t worked with this type of spreadsheet before but, given my experience with six other types, I should be able to pick it up in a few days’. Another thing you could do is turn a negative characteristic into a positive. ‘I always give each project my best shot, so if I sometimes feel others aren’t pulling their weight, I find it a little frustrating. Make sure when you do talk about your weaknesses you tell the interviewer how and what you are doing to improve. The interviewer must feel that you are self-aware and actively working on your weaknesses, as opposed to getting complacent.
What are you looking for in your next job? The key work here is contribution. Let the employer know that your skills and experience will benefit them. Perhaps talk about some motivations of yours, they cater.
Why do you want to work here? Ensure you have researched the company well enough so that you know their attributes. You can talk about the company and their values. Also show the interviewer that you think the company will help you achieve your goals. For example, do you want stability, recognition, progression or financial rewards? Make them feel as though that by you working with them you will unravel your best.
How do you feel about your progress to date? The question aims to see your self-esteem. Be confident and positive about everything. Make sure you make the interviewer believe that you take each day as an opportunity and learning curve.
What are your biggest accomplishments? Keep your accomplishments job-related. It may also be a good idea to consider what they are looking for so that you have the upper hand. You might begin your reply with: ‘Although I feel my biggest achievements are still ahead of me, I am proud of my involvement with… I made a contribution as part of that team and learned a lot in the process’
What would you like to be doing five years from now? This is a tough question as no-one thinks that ahead. Sometimes you don’t want to put the employer off by saying you have plans that are either overly ambitious or not in the best interest of their company, for example running your own full time business. The safest answer contains the desire to be a true professional and team player. Mention how you are keen on mastering your skill-set. If you are after seniority, then it is important that you find out the dynamics within the company first. Are they looking to develop future leaders?
Why do you want to leave your current job/why did you leave your last job? Pick an acceptable reason for leaving your previous employment. Here are a few examples:
- Challenge: you weren’t able to grow professionally.
- Location: the journey to work was unreasonably long.
- Advancement: there was nowhere for you to go.
- Money: you were underpaid for your skills and contribution.
- Pride and prestige: you wanted to be with a better company.
- Security: the company was not stable.
It is crucial that you show the employer that you know about the company, are passionate about what they do and demonstrate you are a good fit for the role by discussing your experience. An interview is an opportunity for you to sell yourself!
We hope that this post has helped you! We want you to feel prepared for your next interview and land your dream job. Once again, thank you to Charlotte Elder of Angela Mortimer for sending these tips over. If you are looking for a job, do make sure you send your CV across to Angela Mortimer as they have a team of diligent consultants that are willing to help you.
See you on the next post guys!