The key to a successful interview is simply preparation. Key to this is understanding the type of interview you will be undertaking. Ask your consultant about the anticipated format of the interview as this will help you to be "interview ready".
Most common formats for interviews are:
Behavioural interview questions are designed to give you the opportunity to discuss real-life examples of how you have dealt with a situation that best illustrates the competencies being discussed. The idea is through examining your past performance in previous jobs the interviewer will have the best indicator as to how you would behave in a similar situation in the future.
Remember to provide factual situations involving your real work life experiences, be specific and make sure your example is relevant to the question asked.
Examples of behavioural style questions:
- Can you describe a recent complex accounting query from management and how you responded to this?
- Tell me about a time when you have had to deal with a customer complaint from a major account. How did you deal with it and what was the outcome?
- Describe a time when you had to counsel a staff member who was not meeting their Key Performance Indicators.
A situational interview question will require you to respond to a hypothetical situation. The interviewers will provide you with a case study or brief regarding a situation and a variety of questions about how you would handle potential issues. This style of interview is used to gain a greater understanding of your skills or particular personality traits that will be called on in the role.
Remember to take time to assess the question. Examples of situational style questions:
- You work in a team of five and you are the only person who performs your role. Please describe how you would introduce a new policy into the team? How would you handle resistance to the policy?
- You are tasked by two managers in your role. How would you ensure that you met both managers' expectations of you? How would you handle conflicting priorities? What would you do if both had given you immediate deadlines?
- A disgruntled team member in your department who has made a habit of arriving late to work and causing minor disruptions during the day, which is affecting the other members of the team. Could you please advise how you would handle this situation?
The Conversational Interview
The conversational interview is also known as an informal interview or 'coffee chat'. The interviewer will generally move through several topics and ask you your thoughts on situations and how you would respond.
These types of interviews often make up the 1st Interview stage, allowing the interviewer to "get a feel" about you, your experiences and your "fit" to the organisation they are recruiting for.
Although the conversation is casual, do not get caught out and let your professionalism or interview demeanour slip!
A panel interview is conducted by two or more people from within the company. This type of interview is often used in an attempt to speed up the process of recruitment and minimise the number of interviews the candidate must attend. Panel interviews tend to be popular within public sector organisations.
The questions posed by each of the panel members will generally be centred on their position or technical expertise.
The key to these types of interviews is "eye contact". Maintain eye contact with the interviewer or person posing the question however during your response scan the panel to engage them.
Be prepared and well rested for these types of interviews as they can be quite intense for the interviewee.
Questions - Yours and theirs
The interview is all about both parties getting to know each other and what you can offer the prospective employers and what they have to offer you.
Evaluating the "fit" for both parties is done through the assessing of skills, experience, likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses. It is important for you as well as the interviewer to plan for an interview and prepare questions regarding the role, the company and culture, the team you may be working with etc.
To help you plan for your next interview and give you every chance of success we have put together some suggested questions that you may find helpful for your next interview.
This is a snapshot of questions that you may be asked during an interview. Think about how you would respond?
About the Job
- What attracted you to this position?
- How do you see the role fitting into your career plan?
- What would you consider to be the role after this one and beyond?
- Which previous role provided you with the most challenge and in what way?
- Which previous manager did you learn the most from and what did you take away from working with them?
- We all have strengths and weaknesses, how do you use yours to produce positive outcomes in the workplace?
- How are you best managed on a day to day basis and what do you need from your manager to work to your highest potential?
- What type of manager are you, what would your team say about you?
Motivation & interests
- Tell me what you know about our organisation?
- What attracts you to the company and why?
- How do you achieve work/life balance?
- How would your friends describe you?
It is your turn and the questions you ask and answers you receive will assist you to determine if this is the right job and company for you and your career. Before the interview make a note of your questions and take them with you.
- Can you detail what my responsibilities would be?
- For what reason is this position vacant?
- What makes someone successful in this role?
- How would you describe the culture of the company?
- What plans does the company have for the future?
- What is the interview process from here?
- Why do people stay with your organisation?
- What encouragement is given to undertake further training?