Job Interviews

How to Shine at Job Interviews

Ellie Danak : May 18, 2019 11:04 am : Job Interviews, Learners

in job applications and preparing for interviews are often filled with anxiety
and worry about making a good impression. While every interviewing panel will
look for different qualities in their candidates, there are two things you can
do to maximise your chances of having a successful interview: 

  • Reflect on your experience and prepare concrete examples to show you have the skills for the role you have applied for.
  • Use the STAR technique to help structure and focus your answers

is STAR?

Employers often use the STAR technique in competency-based
interviews to find out how you handled certain situations and problems in the
past and to determine whether you can excel in the new job.

For example, they might ask you to provide proof of effective
problem solving, leading a team, managing a project or dealing with failure.
Behavioural/competency-based questions normally look like this:

  • Tell me about a time when you had to manage a project under a tight deadline.
  • Describe a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer. What did you do?
  • Tell me about a time when you lead a team. What worked well? 

How to prepare your STAR examples?

think of any situations when you might have used the skills and experience
required, then break them down following the instructions below. Essentially,
you will be asked to tell a story about your experience and for it to work you
need to follow a formula. Just remember that any experience, whether work or
volunteering, counts as long as you can prove that it is relevant to the skills
required for the job. STAR stands for: 

  • Situation: describe, for example, when you led on a project and had to prioritise effectively. What was the project? Why were you working on it?

  • Task: what was your role in achieving the task? What was the objective of the task?

  • Action: describe how you completed or went about completing the task. Focus on your actions, challenges and how you dealt with them. Always say ‘I did this, then I did that’ and avoid falling into the trap of saying ‘We did… We were successful.’ Remember that the recruiters want to know about you and your achievements, not about other people.

  • Result: explain what the outcomes were and reflect on what you learned from the experience or would do differently next time. Why is this relevant to the job you are applying for?

What are recruiters looking for?

The interviewers will be looking for very specific positive indicators of your past behaviours, such as:

  • A positive approach to challenges and change

  • Negotiation skills

  • Your willingness to learn from mistakes and grow from your experiences

  • Prioritising and managing your time effectively

  • Effective communication skills

  • Staying calm under pressure

  • Self-awareness 

  • Being a good team worker/leader

  • Clear and concise examples that are relevant to the job you have applied for

They will definitely not want to see any of these

  • Negative comments about your previous colleagues and managers

  • Seeing challenges and change as problems and something negative

  • Not prioritising effectively

  • Lack of communication skills

  • No or little self-awareness of your strengths and weaknesses

  • Irrelevant and repetitive examples

With enough preparation and practice, you will feel
and come across as a more confident, and hopefully successful, candidate.
Before you go have a look at our final tips and the links to external resources

  • Research the company you want to work for, its values and the job description beforehand. You will spot what types of behaviours and attitudes they want to see in their successful candidates. 

  • If you can, get feedback from others about your strengths and development areas

  • Have an up-to-date list of short stories about the most commonly asked behaviours/skills. Focus on results, challenges you had to overcome and lessons learned. 

  • Most importantly,  be yourself! You’ve got this! 

Read this:

Watch this:

Reflect: now that you have read
this article, take a few minutes and jot down answers to the questions below.
This will help you remember the most insightful points and put together an
action plan that works for you:

  • What inspired you?
  • As a result, what do you want to do more of?
  • And what do you want to do less of?
  • What will you do next to achieve these goals?

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Interview Tips that will Help you Land the Job!

admin : February 17, 2018 9:02 pm : Job Interviews, Learners

Congratulations, you’ve made it to the interview stage of your job hunting process! Now what do you do? Before you let the nerves kick in, check out this list of interview tips that will help you land the job!

Practice, practice, practice!

It can be very helpful to hold practice interviews with a friend or colleague before you go to the actual interview. This way you can practice responses to typical job interview questions and answers that will set you apart from the rest of the candidates. Make a list of concrete examples you can use to highlight your skills. A great way to do this is to construct a list of the job requirements and match them with your experience. When you provide evidence of your past success, it is a great way to promote yourself! Make sure you also have a list of your own questions ready to ask the employer.

For examples of the most commonly asked interview questions, follow this link.

Not sure what types of questions to ask the employer during the interview? Have a look at this comprehensive guide.

Research the Company.

Researching the company is part of the preparation process before the interview. Employers want to make sure you did your homework and understand what the company does and the industry that they work in. You need to be prepared for the question, ‘What do you know about this company?’ It is important to do research so that you can showcase and relate what you’ve learned about the company throughout the interview process. Take some time to visit the company’s official website and write down any key information you think may be useful during the interview.

Get Ready ahead of Time.

It is never a good idea to wait last minute to pick an outfit, print out a copy of your CV or find a notebook and pen. Make sure you have one great interview outfit ready so you can be prepared to interview on short notice without the stress of deciding on what to wear. The night before the interview make sure you have everything ready, your outfit is neat and appropriate for the type of company you are interviewing with. Bring extra copies of your CV and always bring a pen and paper for note taking as well as questions and information you prepared for the interview.

The Balance has a great article about appropriate interview attire for all different types of interviews.

Be Early!

Being early for an interview is crucial in the selection process as it shows that you are reliable and punctual. Make sure to arrive five to ten minutes early. If needed, take some time the day before to find the interview location to ensure you know exactly how long it takes to get there and where to go. Being early allows you to visit the restroom, inspect your outfit and calm your pre-interview nerves.

Stay Calm.

It is important to stay as calm as possible during the interview. Try to relax and remember that your body language shows as much about you as your answers to the questions. If you have properly prepared, it will be evident in the confidence you exhibit. If you feel flustered, take a minute to relax. All interviewers have been in your shoes at one point and understand that it can be very nerve-racking! Ensure to maintain eye contact with the interviewer(s), be active and listen to the entire question before you answer.

Here are some great tips for avoiding job interview stress and to help calm your nerves.

Share your Knowledge.

Make sure to relate what you have researched about the company when you are answering questions. When you speak about your career accomplishments, match them to the job description for the position you’re applying for. Use examples from your research such as, ‘From the research I did, I noticed that your customer satisfaction ratings improved when you implemented your new software system last year. I am familiar with the latest technologies from my experience at X-Company developing software.’ This is your time to shine and match the company’s requirements to your expertise!

Follow Up!

Make sure to always follow up with the interviewer(s) with a thank you note reiterating your interest in the position. If you forgot to mention any important details during the interview, this is also a time to include them. If you were interviewed by more than one person, do not send out a mass email, but rather send a personalised note. Make sure this is done within 24 hours of your interview.

Now that you know the top tips for a successful interview, start preparing and researching and relax! You’ll do great!



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