10 steps to doing better at an interview.
By John Lees, author of Knockout Interview.
Top 10 tips to ace that interview
Watch out McDonald's...
1. Decode the employer checklist
List the most emphasised items in
the job description, and match each requirement to something from your past. Examine the employer’s language carefully – match it in the way you describe what you’ve done.
2. Turn your evidence into stories
Plan two brief (3-minute) stories for each skill required. Rehearse – talk about the challenge faced, how you used the skill, and the outcome achieved.
3. Anticipate tough questions
Prepare carefully where your CV has given an employer things to worry about – e.g. CV gaps, or not having exactly the right qualification. Be ready to talk about what sets you apart from other applicants.
4. Practice talking about your strengths
Learn a relaxed way of talking about any experience: times you initiated a project, overcame difficulties, mastered something new, pleased a customer. Include skills picked up in your studies.
5. Be brief, be clear
Interviewer attention drifts if you over- deliver, so keep answers short and focused. Be clear that you are really interested in the job, and provide 3 or 4 reasons why you’re a good match.
6. Practice small talk
You’re being assessed on how you fit in as soon as you reach the building, so practise chat – even if you’re discussing weather or traffic, speak clearly and sound positive. Look as if you
are enjoying the meeting, and listen carefully to questions so you make life easier for the interviewer.
7. Be memorable
Your answers need to focus on facts– where you have acted, what you
did and how you made a difference. Even so, how you answer will be remembered far longer than the details of what you say. Practise showing energy and motivation
8. Decide what you REALLY need to say
Be clear about the handful of points you think might put you ahead of the crowd, and make sure you don’t leave the room without getting them across.
9. Know how to close the interview
Ask intelligent questions at the end, not seeking information you could have found in 10 minutes browsing a website. Help an interviewer picture you doing the job by asking questions about future learning opportunities, and how the role might develop.
10. Prepare yourself
Check location, time, names, what you need to bring. Drop your coat and at reception – try to look and sound as if you already work there.