Interview Skills

What is an Interview?

  • It is a test, but not an exam. You have passed one stage, be a little confident.
  • Doing well at an interview isn't about following the rules or given the "right" answers. Often there are no right answers.
  • It is about presenting yourself as a confident and capable person. The purposeof the interview is to know your personality.
  • You should leave an impression. Don't try so hard to not make mistakes that you become hard to remember. Easily forgettable.

Preparing for an Interview / Interview Checklist

  1. Know the company you are going for. Make a brief checklist. Don't just repeat things you know about the company in the interview, but use your knowledge of the company to give specific answers to questions or shape your answers to fit the company.
  2. Know exactly where you are going and exactly who you will meet. Building, floor, parking. Always try to arrive early. Go there the day before to plan.
  3. Make sure you know well what you wrote in your resume / cover letter / application form! Always keep one copy for yourself and bring it to the interview.
  4. Presentation - dress as you think you would if you worked there every day, so your potential boss can picture you working there. Don't over or under-dress (but if you have to choose one, over dressing is better than under-dressing)

Answering Questions

  1. Look at it as a conversation, not an interrogation. Be conversational - talk freely in a nice and easy tone. Feel free to elaborate and explain your answers.
  2. Be yourself - emphasize the good things and dilute the bad, but you cannot be a different person. No one is perfect. Employers would rather choose the person who is not perfect but sincere and trustworthy, rather than the person who is hiding something.
  3. Take your time, do Not Rush. Do not attempt to drown your interviewer with information. It is okay to pause, and stop when you think you have finished the answer. Look for signs from the interviewer.
  4. Smile - be relaxed. No one wants to work with a grumpy person. Have positive energy!
  5. Use questions as an opportunity to talk about yourself and your experiences. Tell short narratives about your experiences - you can think about two or three big accomplishments to talk about.
  6. It's okay to not know the answer - it is an assessment of your attitude and character. Your Resume showed what you know and that was enough to get the job. However if the question is about something in your resume, then you should answer accurately.
  7. Give your opinions - Employers often ask "what do you think..." questions. Tell them what you think, don't search for the perfect answer or give no answer.
  8. Buy time before answering a question - rephrase or describe the question, make a short joke, prepare yourself to answer the question. Don't rush into an answer, or stay quiet. When buying time, stay relaxed.
  9. If you don't understand the question, ask for clarification.
  10. Ask questions at the end of the interview - shows confidence. Prepare some questions about your role, job expectations, welfare and so on. Ask them if they think you will get the job - a chance for them to voice objections and for you to respond.

Don't..

  1. Fidget, move around, avoid eye contact, play with your pen or do anything else that shows you are nervous
  2. Say bad things about your past employer
  3. Lie!
  4. Don't give cliche answers - things everyone will say
  5. Don't talk about irrelevant stories - if they ask to tell them about yourself, emphasize things related to the job.

Group Interviews
Sometimes you are put into group situations to analyze interactive abilities

  1. It is not a competition to answers all the questions. Don't bully other people or cut people off.
  2. Don't be hesistant or overly fair. You still want to be hired over other people.
  3. Respond to other people in your group. Interact with them, show your communication abilities.
  4. Helps to talk to people while waiting for the interview to start (but don't be stressed if they brag about themselves!)