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Interview Skills

Interview Skills Guide For Candidates

Many of us are back on the job market. However, it is now a very competitive market with more people competing for less jobs.

The feared interview becomes high on all our agendas again. 

Interviews are not easy. We have put together a short guide to help you prepare.

Preparing For Your Interview

Always remember the saying - failing to plan is planning to fail.
Pre-Interview PreparationKnow your CV, application form and cover letter inside-out
Research the company where the post is 
Use the job description to research the post further 
Dress formally and make an effort in your appearance 
Know your strengths and how they are relevant to the job 
Do a mock interview with a friend colleague 
Where would you like to see yourself in three to five years time? 
Why are you now looking for a job? 

At The Interview PreparationBe on time 
Make a good first impression
Be friendly and polite
Speak clearly and expand on 'yes/no' answers 
Answer what is asked 
Never waffle or bluff your answers
Do not be afraid to ask for clarification of a question 
Do not deny mistakes in your answers 
Try to convert weaknesses into strengths 
Watch your body language
Try to appear relaxed 
Do not be afraid to smile
Be positive and enthusiastic 
Never become defensive or argumentative 
Do not be afraid to sell yourself 
Never criticize your previous employer as it only shows a lack of loyalty 
Have your questions prepared (see below) 
Thank the interviewer for the interview 

After The Interview Is OverReview the interview to learn for future interviews 
Your entrance
Your appearance
Your preparation
Your answers
Your interaction
Your body language
Your listening skills
Your friendliness
Your questions
Your exit 
Types Of Questions You Could Be Asked

Open QuestionsThese allow you to expand and elaborate on topics. These types of questions will allow you show your strengths and it is important that you make the most of your answers to sell yourself. Sample questions:
Tell me about yourself 
What are your best qualities? 
Closed QuestionsThese questions usually demand a specific answer. It is important that you expand on 'yes/no' type answers. A sample question woulod be:
Did you like your last job? 
"Yes, I found it very rewarding. I was given lots of opportunities to learn new things. I particularly liked the chance of taking more responsibility within the team structures. I discovered that I was very good at making decisions and getting the support of my team colleagues." 
Hypothetical QuestionsThese questions provide a hypothetical situation to see how you will respond to it. Sample questions:
"Imagine that you have a work colleague that gets on well with the managers who think that he does everything on the team. You know differently and that he takes credit for others work. What would you do in this situation."
Mirror QuestionsThese questions usually are included to probe deeper into your experience. A sample sequence would be:
Tell me about your experience?
"I have worked for the last five years on a production line as part of a team."
Did you enjoy working on a team?
"Yes, very much. I learnt a lot about myself."
What sort of things did you learn?
"I found that I enjoyed working in a group and working towards a shared goal. The interactions also helped me learn a lot of things with others that I could apply to all aspects of my life."

Probing QuestionsThese allow the interviewer to extract more about you as a person.
A sample sequence would be:
Have you ever worked as part of a team? 
"Yes, in my last job, there was five of us who worked quite closely together. We were set targets each week by our supervisor. He was also very supportive of us as a team."
What challenges did you experience? 
"I did not have so may challenges. I did find communication across the team a bit hard at first as their were some strong personalties present."
What would you see as a strong personality?
"Someone who does not listen and only does what they want to do."
Is this a bad thing?
"I do understand that it can be good to strong beliefs and to follow what you want to do. However, and especially in a team environment, it is very important to have good listening skills."
Sample Questions You Could Be Asked

General Types Of QuestionsTell me about yourself 
What are your best qualities? 
What are your styrong points? 
What are your weak points?
Tell me about your greatest achievement 
How well do you cope with stress? 
How well do you work under pressure? 
Tell me about a time where you showed initiative 
Tell me about what you do in your spare time 
Have you any hobbies? 
Questions About Your Education Tell me about your experiences at college 
Why did you go to college? 
Did you like your time at college? 
What made you choose the course you did? 
What did you like about college? 
What did you not like about colleges? 
Tell me about a problem/challenge you overcame at college? 
Were you happy with the results you acheived at college? 

Your Application For The PostWhat experience have you that is relevant for the job advertized 
Why should I employ you? 
Why would you like to work for our company? 
What skills or qualities would you bring to our company? 
What do you know about our company? 
How did you learn about this position? 
Where would you like to see yourself in three to five years time? 
Why are you now looking for a job? 

Your Previous ExperienceTell me about your last position
Did you like your last job? 
What experience do you bring from this position? 
What have you learnt from this job or previous posts? 
Have you ever held a position of responsibility? 
What ares of improvement do you see need to be worked upon? 
Have you ever worked as part of a team? 
What challenges did you experience? 
Have you ever worked with a difficult colleague? 
What did you do to make this working relationship better? 
Tell me about a time where you overcame a challenging situation in your last job 
What were the main resposnibilities with your last job? 
Which of these main resposnibilities with your last job did you find hard? Why? 
Why did you or why are you leaving your last job? 
What did you dislike about your last job? 
Tell me about the main skills that you learnt in your last job? 

Your Application For The PostWhat experience have you that is relevant for the job advertized 
Why should I employ you? 
Why would you like to work for our company? 
What skills or qualities would you bring to our company? 
What do you know about our company? 
How did you learn about this position? 
Where would you like to see yourself in three to five years time? 
Why are you now looking for a job? 

Sample Questions You Can Ask
It is important that you prepare some questions before the interview. Sample questions include:
Is this a new position?
Can you let me know what a typical day/week would be like?
What sort of hours will I be working?
What sort of training is available to staff? 
If I am fortunate to secure the job, when would you expect me to start?
Are there any plans to expand or develop the company further?