Interview Skills Hints and Tips

on 5:56 AM

Be Prepared
The amount of preparation you do will determine how well you deal with difficult questions.
One of the best ways to prepare is to prepare answers to some common questions that might relate to the qualities the employee is seeking, as stated in the selection criteria or job ad.
Get a sense of how you might start to answer the question, of the important examples you would bring up that demonstrate your ability in a certain area, and how you might finish off your answer. Don’t learn an answer parrot fashion, but do practice your responses at home with a friend or family member. It’s only when you actually verbalise the answer that you hear how good or bad your answer sounds. (UOW, Careers Service The Edge)
Structuring your response to interview questions
Often an interviewer asks you to respond to questions about your experience in relation to the selection criteria. The following structure may help and works with about 80% of questions:
Introduction: rephrasing the question in relation to why it is important
Body: provide examples following the STAR model:
Response – how did others respond ie peer, clients, supervisors
Conclusion: concluding remark
(Martin Smith, UOW, Careers Service)
Question: Customer service is very important in this role – tell us a situation where you have been proud of your customer service skills?
Response: I believe delivering exceptional customer service skills provides an organisation with a leading edge. Two important skills besides your attitude and manner are providing customers with alternatives and displaying empathy. Recently I served a client who was very frustrated at not being able to access information because of a technology problem. I offered to take the customers name and details and telephone him when the problem was rectified. After I had followed through with this he was very appreciative and wrote a formal compliment to the organisation, thanking me for the service I provided. This example illustrates my attitude of providing friendly, value added customer service.
Hints and Tips:
• Give yourself time to compose an answer. When responding to questions don’t feel that you have to immediately jump in with your answer.
• If you know you have gone off-track, you might say – “I seem to have taken the wrong approach – a better approach would be …..”. This way you get to the point, rather than taking three minutes to waffle your way to your final answer.
• If you have a mental block it may be hard for the interviewer to know if you have finished your response. You could say - “Yes, I think I have covered everything” – to indicate you have finished.
• It is important in an interview to show how you can make a difference.
• If you need more time to respond to a difficult question you could say – “Do you mind if I have a moment to compose my thoughts”.
• The interviewer wants to know about you and your suitability for the position, so it is important to emphasis your achievements. Relate specific examples of where you have demonstrated your proficiency in certain areas. Make sure you refer to your actual role. Even if it was a group task, talk about your individual role, what contribution you actually made, and also how you interacted with the group.– use “I” rather than “we”.
• Make sure you do not criticize your current or former employer.

The Final Summary
Many interviewers end with a request to the applicant as to whether they have anything they wish to add or whether there is anything the panel may have missed. This is an opportunity for you to end on a positive note. You may think that everything has been covered. Even if this is so, it is worth making a succinct statement about why you are the best person for the position.
If the job description refers to matters which you think have not been covered by the selection criteria, this is a chance to mention relevant experience.
The final summary is an opportunity to have the last word and to leave a favourable impression about your claims to the position as well as the quality of your communication skills, but keep it.

Sample interview questions
• Customer service is very important in this role – tell us some situations where you have been proud of your customer service skills?
• Tell us about your skills in using technology to present information in a professional manner?
• Describe some circumstances where you have administered or coordinated complex projects?
• What is the basis of your team skills?
• How do you cope under competing demands and tight deadlines?
• Can you give some examples of where you have had to think laterally to solve problems?
• Tell us about your suitability to work with people from different cultures?
• Why did you apply for this position?
• Why do you believe you are the most suitable candidate for this position?


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