Your guide to Interviews
For the majority of interviews you will be assessed in two main areas. Firstly they will determine through a series of technical-based interviews the quality of your skills. It is worth reviewing those that are likely to come up in the job beforehand. For investment related roles you should for example be ready to discuss an investment strategy.
Secondly, it is important to be able to talk your interviewer through your CV, explaining career decisions in a logical fashion, leading up to why you are applying for this job and why you are motivated to join their business.
The largest risk you pose to an employer is that you will not work out so you must ensure that your interviewer is convinced of your personal motivations. The majority of candidates who fail at interview do not fail on technical-related questions; you will be assessed on your personality fit for the company. It is very true when they say that your CV gets you the interview but your personality gets you the job!
1. Be concise. Don’t meander away from the point while answering questions, this could imply that you are exaggerating your skills or you don’t have strong communication / listening skills. Interviews are a two-way process, so keep your interviewer on-board throughout.
2. Do not talk negatively about past employers; you want the person to remember how great you are rather than how bad your old employer was. Always take the best from the situation.
3. Ensure that you have answered the questions in line with expectations during the course of the interview, so as to clarify any misunderstandings before you leave. You can simply do this by asking ‘have I understood your question appropriately?’
4. Be honest. One of the most difficult questions to answer is ‘what is your greatest weakness?’ There is only one way to answer this, it has to be accurate! Remember that everyone has weaknesses, and nobody likes working with someone who thinks they are perfect all the time. Someone who can admit what they need to develop is much more likely to get the job than someone who claims to be perfection.
5. Dress in business attire. We are sure we don’t have to tell you this but we will anyway. Press your shirt, wear a tie and clean your shoes. You need to show you are professional, and this is a great start. It is always better to risk being slightly over-dressed than under-dressed and give a bad impression.
Competency based interviews are becoming very popular. They are a way of predicting future performance through behavioural questions. Your answers need to be structured, please see below for the STAR technique:
- Task required
- Action you took
- Result of that action
Questions focus on the following 5 areas:
1. Individual skills
E.g. what is your greatest strength?
This is a chance to make some good points about your application – ensure the example is within a business that is relevant to the one you are applying to.
2. Managerial skills
E.g. describe a time when a colleague disagreed with a task you assigned. How did you manage the situation?
For managerial roles, employers concentrate on leadership ability, employee motivation techniques, ability to delegate and the ability to plan strategically.
3. Problem-solving skills
E.g. describe an occasion when you solved a problem without using the resources typically needed.
This question investigates your lateral thinking skills. The employer wants to know whether you are resourceful and can find your way around issues when the status quo isn’t working, for any reason.
4. Interpersonal skills
E.g. describe a situation where you motivated people to work well together.
This is a ‘team-player’ question and is all about your social skills. Many workplaces function on the basis of project teams and the more collaborative they are, the more likely the company is to thrive.
5. Motivational skills
E.g. when did you work hard and feel the greatest sense of achievement?
This is to understand what drives you, looking at resilience, energy, motivation, result orientation, initiative and quality focus.