Tips on preparing for a job interview
While you might not be provided with interview questions in advance, there are some ways that you can prepare yourself for your upcoming interview. Interviewers often ask behaviour-based questions to assess your competencies. Behaviour-based interviewing focuses on discovering how the interviewee acted in specific employment-related situations. The logic is that how you behaved in the past will predict how you will behave in the future, i.e., past performance predicts future performance. It is a good idea to think of examples in your past where you demonstrated the required competencies for the job you are interviewing for. The examples of past experiences you present should be specific, substantial, and as detailed as possible. Also important is that your examples indicate what you did in the situation. It is a common tendency to describe our actions in terms of "we" or "the team" however you should focus on your individual role in the situation, as much as possible. When preparing your examples, use the STAR approach:
- TaskGive Details
on what you
had to do
- ActionGive Details
on actions you
- ResultDescribe the
result of the
- Behavioral interviewing is all about explaining the specific actions you took in a particular situation. Refresh your memory and consider some special situations you have dealt with or projects you have worked on. You may be able to use them to help frame responses.
- When explaining your examples please include background details such as where you were working and what your role was.
- Use "I" statements and not "we" statements, we are primarily concerned with your personal experience.
- Try to use different examples for each question and always keep in mind which competency is addressed in preparing your response.
- You may be asked to identify a contact person who can validate the situation you have chosen to discuss.
You may also be asked situational interview questions. For these types of questions, candidates are asked to assess a situation and to provide solutions on how he or she would handle it. While you may not know the questions that will be asked of you, you can prepare by thinking of hypothetical situations that would address the competencies for the job you are interviewing for. It is also a good idea to think of past situations where you demonstrated this competency as the situation presented may be very similar to a situation you have already faced in the past.
Interviewers may also ask questions about you to gain insight into your personality and to determine fit for the job and organization. Some examples you may wish to prepare in advance are the following:
- What are your strengths?
- What are your weaknesses?
- Tell me about yourself.
- Describe your work style.
- What has been your greatest career achievement?
- Why should I hire you over other candidates?
Day of the interview tips:
- Although it is natural to be nervous, try to relax. Keep in mind that the interview panel is not trying to trick you with their questions. Their goal is to learn more about you and what you have to offer. They want you to do well.
- Ask for clarification if you don't understand a question or if you would like it to be repeated.
- Be honest. The interview panel may ask your references to verify the experiences you have shared.
- Be conscious of how you communicate: Speak slowly, clearly and concisely.
- Be conscious of your body language.
- Ask any questions that you may have about the position.
Best of luck on your interview with our organization!
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