Congratulations! You have an interview. That’s great news – now you just have to secure the position for yourself!
By now, you should know the basics: research the company, arrive early, dress smartly and prepare a number of questions for the interviewer. However, in this article we’re going to explore how best to tackle some tasks you might be asked to complete during your interview.
If you are asked to prepare a presentation for your interview, it is important to stick to the brief that you have been given. This includes the topic of the presentation, the length of the presentation, and the relevance to the position for which you are interviewing. Allow yourself time to practice delivering the presentation, as what you may think will only take 30 seconds to discuss may, in fact, take much longer. You may then need to adjust the slides accordingly so that you don’t overrun.
A common mistake is to include the entire content of your presentation on the slides. In fact, you will fare much better by leaving the slides relatively clear of text, and delivering the bulk of your presentation verbally. This serves a number of purposes:
- You will engage more with your audience
- The interviewers will listen to you more as they will not be reading the text on the screen
- You will not fall into the trap of just reading off the screen and appearing unprepared
- By including pictures, you will connect with the interviewers and maintain their attention
It is a good idea to ask somebody else to look over your presentation before the day, too. While you may well be more familiar with the technical content of the presentation, it never hurts to have another person cast an eye over it to pick out those spelling, grammatical or formatting errors.
Competency-based questions, also known as ‘HR’ questions, are those which ask you to describe how you would handle/how you have acted in certain situations in previous roles. Typical examples include such questions as:
- “Tell me about a time when you have shown leadership capabilities”
- “Explain to me about your organisational ability”
- “Describe where you have worked as a team”
The best way to answer these questions is by providing examples – real life examples if possible. Tell the interviewer what you have done in that situation, rather than hypothetically what you would do.
We also recommend employing the STAR technique. This technique ensures that you are able to thoroughly explain your achievements in the best way possible. You should state the context of your story, define your responsibility within the task, describe what you did to overcome the challenge, and show what resulted from the situation.
Check out the graphic below.
This is where you must really be familiar with your own background, educational history and previous career achievements. As with competency-based questions, technical questions are best answered with real-life examples.
The main thing here is to be honest – while you want to impress your potential new employer, you don’t want to oversell yourself only to find that the employer’s expectations of you are inflated and you can’t live up to the job!
By utilising the STAR technique above you should be able to identify and demonstrate your suitability to the role while also maintaining your integrity – a win-win situation for all.
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