Interview Preparation

The Company

Preparation is very important to your interview. The internet provides endless historical and present information on organisations. Just revising the basics no longer lets you stand out from the crowd. It is important to dig a little deeper. The types of information you should try and grasp more of an understanding of are as follows;

The Interviewers

  • What are their backgrounds? Your best source of information is Linkedin

The Business

  • Products and Services
  • Unique selling points (USP’s)
  • Structure

Current projects

  • Are there any high profile customers they are working with?
  • Large contract wins?
  • Repeat business?
  • Growth plans?

Competition

  • Who are they?
  • How good are they?
  • What are they good at?
  • SWOT their strengths and weaknesses and compare
  • Build a market picture

Interview Preparation – You

No matter what level of position you hold it is important you do the basics well. Your preparation will start you thinking about how to approach the interview and how to “pitch” your skills and experience. The following points are very important in delivering a very good interview:-

Know your CV

You must be able to provide a fluent, informative and detailed presentation of your CV. This is an opportunity to provide more depth to the simple bullet points you have provided to the hiring manager.

Job Spec

Match the skills from your experience and the job specification by preparing detailed examples so that the information you are presenting has depth and relevance. Write down examples of projects and list a number of solutions.

The Clichés

The following are very generic, but very relevant competency based questions that a large majority of candidates get very wrong. Think about these in detail and once again work with them to get them right.

  • Stakeholder Management
  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Achievements
  • Personality

Structured Answers and the STAR Interview System

The STAR technique helps prepare your answers for behavioural and competency based interview questions. This enables them to be structured into concise, relevant stories with a beginning, middle and end.

Situation
This is your time to set scene of the SITUATION you were in or that had been given to you to deal with.

Task
You can now move onto the task section of your answer which should outline the job you faced; setting out the goals and the objectives for your team and company.

Action
The most detailed part of your answer will be the action, where you describe how you dealt with the task. Here you will detail your use of available resources, the personal and relevant skills you brought to the table and your direct involvement.
The action part of your answer should leave your interviewer in no doubt as to what it was you did, how you did it and why you did it.

Result
You will now need to wrap up your answer by outlining the result of your actions. This is where you get to demonstrate the benefits those actions had for the company/team and for your own development.

Tips

  • Make sure your story is relevant to the answer.
  • Don’t go off on a tangent.
  • Lose or translate the internal jargon and acronyms of your current and previous roles. Make it relevant.
  • Be positive, turn the negatives into positives.
  • Throughout your answers present the relevance of your previous experience and relate it to how it will provide solutions and add value in the position.
  • Make sure you practice, the more fluent you become the more articulate your answers will be.