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IMPROVING YOUR INTERVIEW SUCCESS

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IMPROVING YOUR INTERVIEW SUCCESS
This guide provides useful advice and support during the interview process. At Expion Search and Selection we understand that whether you are interviewing for your first job or you are looking to take the next step in your career, job interviews can be a stressful process.
We understand that interviews are an excellent opportunity for you to demonstrate your abilities and skills as well as giving you a chance to learn more about the role and the company you are applying to. This guide will help you successfully convert interviews into offers of employment.

IMPORTANCE OF A FIRST IMPRESSION
CV advice
• Maximum 2-3 pages.
• Structured.
• Adapt for each position.
• Focus on your career achievements and experience. Make sure you have quantifiable achievements for each role which show how effective/successful you were. We have a CV template we can share with you if you require support with your CV.
Preparation
• Research is crucial. Find out as much information on the company as you can. Study any available literature, websites and latest news, find out about competitors and the state of the industry in general.
• Make sure you’ve looked at the company’s LinkedIn page and the profiles of the interviewers. You are likely to be asked how much you know about the business, or you could use it as a good ‘opening line’ at the beginning of the interview.
• If the business manufactures products for the consumer, ensure you’ve been into stores to look at the products, the category, and if possible, make a purchase!
• Read the job description carefully. Prepare examples of where you have carried out aspects of the role, and where possible, use examples from different roles (although most interviewers focus on your most recent positions).
• Picture yourself ‘in role’ and think as though you’re doing the job currently. How would you tackle it? Consider preparing a SWOT analysis and think about what you can bring to the business.
• Prepare everyday life situations to describe when you have shown desired skills, motivation, confidence and tenacity.

First impressions
• Dress appropriately. Most employers expect their staff to be smart so dress accordingly. Interview clothes should be comfortable business attire and should not distract either the interviewer or the wearer.
• Firm handshake.
• Be on time. Always allow time for traffic jams, late buses or trains.
Have appropriate phone numbers with you in case you are delayed.
• Be aware of who you are talking to and use his/her name.
Sell yourself
• Know who you are. What makes you, you? Consider your personality, life experiences, achievements etc.
• Know how to convey to paper who you are. Your CV is you until the interview takes place. Make yourself stand out.
• Know how to express who you are. Effective communication is crucial in any interview. The interviewer is interested in finding out primarily about yourself. You should do most of the talking, and this should range from 70 to 80 per cent of the time. Use friends and family to rehearse your examples.
• Show you want the job. Interviewers love to meet candidates who show they want the job and want to work for them.
• You must have the will to win. Show hunger.
Body language in the interview
• Keep eye contact.
• Posture (no slouching).
• Include all interviewers when you answer questions.
• Open gesticulation.
• Be confident and enthusiastic.

INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
While there is no way of predicting exactly what you will be asked in an interview, these typical questions below might just give you an idea of what you may be faced with at an interview.
Examples of questions asked
• What are your career aspirations? Give this some thought and think about you and the business. Where do you want to get to, and how could you achieve this?
• Where do you feel you have development needs?
• What would your last employer say about you? Are you able to provide references?
• How well do you handle criticism? How have you used feedback to improve or make changes?
• What motivates/de-motivates you?
• Why do you want to or why did you leave your current or previous employer? Keep this concise, and never speak negatively about a previous employer.
• How do you cope with conflict at work?
• Have you attended other interviews?
• Why do you want this job? Why would you like to work here?
• Most frequently asked question…Do you have any questions?
Types of questions to ask the interviewer
• Open questions: to gather information (who, what, why, where, when, which and how).
• Closed questions: to qualify (questions requiring a yes or no response).

Example questions
This could be an infinite list, and it’s up to you to build it, according to the role, the business and your needs. Take a prepared list of questions and at the very least, try to include:
• Who are your key competitors? How do you differentiate yourself from the competition?
• How many people work here?
• How many people work in the … department? What are their backgrounds?
• Who will I report to and who will report to me?
• What do you think makes someone successful in this role?
• What is the scope for progression in this role?
• How would you describe the company culture?
• What do the first 3-6 months look like? How will I be able to be effective quickly in the role?
• If I am successful, what’s the most important thing I can do for you/the business/department?
Always try to show you’ve prepared and thought about the business and being part of the business.

GUIDE TO COMPETENCY BASED QUESTIONS
Competency-based questions
• Competency based interviews are becoming increasingly popular to predict a candidate’s future performance.
• Essentially a series of behavioural questions, the interviewer will ask you to describe a situation which demonstrates your abilities that will be integral to the role you’re interviewing for.
Answering competency-based questions
• Answers to competency-based questions are very structured, so we recommend structuring your response using the STAR technique, describing:
• The Situation – always explain which business you were working for, in which role and the circumstances.
• The Task required as a result. What did you/the team need to do?
• The Action you took. What you actually did. Focus on the question and how you are demonstrating your skills and experience.
• The Result of that action. What were the tangible benefits to the business/situation/individual/team.
Many competency questions cover key ‘bite size areas’ – Individual, Managerial, Analytical, Interpersonal and Motivational.
Make sure you have a ‘mix’ of examples – some that are ‘I’ examples and show where you as an individual took action/influenced a situation/created impact/made a decision, and those that are ‘We’ examples where you show how you operated as a team, either as a leader or a team member.

Individual competencies
Your personal attributes; your flexibility, decisiveness, tenacity, knowledge, independence, risk taking and personal integrity.
A typical question may include:
• Tell me about a time when your work or an idea was challenged?
• How were you able to deal with feedback or criticism?

Managerial competencies
Your ability to take charge of other people; leadership, empowerment, strategic thinking, corporate sensitivity, project management and managerial control.
A typical question may include:
• Tell me about a time you led a group to achieve an objective?
• Can you give me an example of when you had to lead a team or group of people in a pressurised situation?

Analytical competencies
Your decision-making abilities; innovation, analytical skills, problem solving, practical learning and attention to detail
A typical question may include:
• Tell me about a time when you identified a new approach to a problem?
• What’s the most difficult decision you’ve had to make in your career? What happened, how did you deal with it and how has it changed your future decision making process?

Interpersonal competencies
Social competence. Many workplaces function based on project teams and the more collaborative they are, the more likely they are to thrive.
A typical question may include:
• Describe a situation where you were able to bring a team together?
• Can you give me an example of where you’ve had to engage with senior level stakeholders. How did you manage their expectations and needs?

Motivational competencies
The things that drive you; resilience, energy, motivation, result orientation, initiative and quality focus.
A typical question may include:
• When did you work the hardest and feel the greatest sense of achievement?
• What motivates you? When has this been challenged most and how did you deal with that?

Finally
• Remember, be yourself when answering competency questions, use real life examples and relate them to your experience, how you reacted or how it made you feel. These are not trick questions, they’re designed to create the best match between an individual and an organisation.
• A little bit of preparation and you’ll quickly realise that competency-based interviews represent an unprecedented opportunity to describe some of your finer moments to a captive audience.