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ok I screwed up my last interview and lost my job. help me not to go wrong this time

(39 Posts)
upahill Tue 02-Aug-11 09:40:45

I have a chance at redeployment and I am being interviewd on Thursday.

I have everything to lose if I don't get this job.

Could you give me your best interview tips?

I had feedback from my last one and I apparently was very good at facts and procedures but didn't talk about relationships. That is by the by.
Last time I was interviewed by people I know, this time it is in a different department and I don't know the panel.

upahill Tue 02-Aug-11 09:41:55

Sorry I just realized I have posted in AIBU. It was the last topic I was reading and meant to put it in chat.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Tue 02-Aug-11 09:43:24

Good luck anyway, Upahill. Preparation has always been the key for me.

upahill Tue 02-Aug-11 09:45:18

I have been preparing like mad!!

I had a mock interview with my Head of Service yesterday trying to anticipate any questions and I have jotted notes out last night to explore ways of expanding possible answers - I'm trying to say a lot without going on and on!!

worldgonecrazy Tue 02-Aug-11 09:49:02

Don't be afraid to take notes in with you with a few key words for questions you are likely to be asked. I don't know what the 'trendy' questions are at the moment, but last time I was interviewed it was crappy things like 'have you ever failed at anything' and listing weaknesses, etc. Also jot down some questions to ask them, I know you're familiar with the organisation, but you could ask some department specific ones. And don't forget to write and thank the interviewer for their time afterwards - this little trick has got me two jobs in the past.

Pigglesworth Tue 02-Aug-11 09:54:02

Buy and read Paul McKenna's "Instant Confidence" and especially listen to the CD, so that you are confident as possible on the day! If you don't have the time to do that, spending time repeatedly visualising yourself as a confident person (your posture, voice tone, dress style, etc.) and visualising yourself doing the interview confidently, making your visualisation as brightly coloured/ engaging as possible, may help!

flossymuldoon Tue 02-Aug-11 09:59:03

I have just helped hubby prep for his last interview as he has very little experience with formal interviews. Some of these questions cropped up and he got the job.

What are you strengths?
What are you weaknesses?
When i prepare these i make the specific to the role you are being interviewed for. Also, i find a positive for every weakness.

Also, prepare some role specific scenarios and how you will/have dealt with them. Things such as particulary challenging projects, or challenging colleagues etc.

With these answers prepped it's suprising how many questions you can answer with this info.

List questions for them. They may cover them in the interview so make sure you have plenty.

Be enthusiastic and confident. If it's a choice between you and someone else then enthusiasm/confidence could get you the job over the other person.

Good luck!!!!!

P.S. I have an interview for a promotion on Weds - gulp!

NarcissaMalfoy Tue 02-Aug-11 10:00:40

Practice answering questions out loud even if your on your own. You may have everything you want to say in your notes but you also need to rehearse putting your thoughts together in a coherent way. It also makes sure that you don't forget something. There's nothing worse than remembering something really juicy to say after the fact.

Also have plenty of questions for them prepared.

hatwoman Tue 02-Aug-11 10:18:34

the last interview I had I was told I had been given the highest marks possible. the reason was that I had revised my own work history. Normally I madly revise everything else, but fail to revise myself, iyswim. I looked up notes, documents etc on about 5 projects I had worked on. I made some notes (not to take in with me, but to pin down key aspects of each project) and, importantly, my own contribution. Having done this I then practised using each project to answer what I believe are called competence based questions (and made some more notes, I like making notes)- questions like how do you/can you tell me about a time when/how would you:
- prioritise a difficult work load
- overcome a set back
- manage difficult team relationships
- describe something you are proud of.

because I had carefully revised and noted each project and practised I found, that in fact, they each lent themselves to any of these kinds of questions. I'v never had an interview go so well. (didn't get what I was after as I messed up on the exercises sad but I did get something similar)

hatwoman Tue 02-Aug-11 10:24:11

and re the (awful) weaknesses question - I read a good tip about this: identify not only a weakness but ways in which you address this weakness. For example: I find I get nervous when doing presentations to an external audience and I may talk too much and lose my drift...SO I make sure I am well prepared, I practice and time my presentations, I make sure the logistics are all in place - checking the power point etc the day before, arriving early, make sure I have my watch to keep an eye on time, etc.

Tortu Tue 02-Aug-11 10:30:43

Ok, I've recently interviewed a fair few people. Good things that people did:

1. Wear smart clothes and makeup. AMAZING how many people don't
2. One person had an 'evidence portfolio' containing examples of her work. I've never come across it before and, although she didn't get the job, I was in awe of her preparation and organisation
3. Talk yourself up. Seriously, women find this particularly difficult to do. I'm not interested in your modesty (yawn), tell me what you're good at!
4. When I ask the 'are you a good team player' question, drop casually in something that suggests you'd be a lovely person to work with. Although there will be a list of criteria that you'll be assessed against, I'll still have to work with you and will want to know that you'll fit in.


Definitely have examples of 'strengths and weaknesses' prepared, as I have never interviewed when we didn't ask a similar question

The 'team player' question is also a good idea

The 'where do you see yourself' in a few years time question is good

'What can you bring to this company/ job?'

Andie20521 Tue 02-Aug-11 10:33:28

Its great that you are preparing examples, and I agree that saying them out loud really helps (Even if its just to yourself!) a footballer for example wouldn't just think about a penalty, he would physically practice it.

How have you structured your responses? A simple way is STAR

Situation: A quick overview of the background (10% of answer)
Task: What you had to do/goal/aim (10% of answer)
Action: How you did it in specific terms (70% of answer)
Result: The outcome, preferably with measurable achievements.(10% of answer)

This enables you to focus on the important bits that give you credit.

If its a different department, make sure that you avoid jargon, or check their understanding. What might seem everyday for you may not be for them.

A glass of water is a great prop. You can buy yourself a few precious seconds reaching for it, as you gather your thoughts, and it seems completely natural. Also if you hold the water under your tongue it sends calming signals to the brain (Which is why you see athletes swigging it before they sprint on track!)

I ran assessment centres for a Bank for a number of years, so I have little bit of insight into this.

Is there anything specific you need help with?

FreeButtonBee Tue 02-Aug-11 11:07:13

Best interview question I've ever heard (and used - I got the job) is "What would be your concerns with hiring someone like me for this role?" Allows you to address their possible concerns there and then.

vegetariandumpling Tue 02-Aug-11 11:31:20

Tell them you're prepared to work for less money? Although it's a bit risky as it may look like you're under-selling yourself. I recently did this and got the job.

wearenotinkansas Tue 02-Aug-11 12:37:01

Agree with Tortu about talking yourself up. Keep it within the realm of possibility of course - and if you say you are brilliant at something be able to give concrete examples - but remember - if you've got to interview there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn't get the job.

Be enthusiastic and answer the questions. Even if you find yourself going off on a tangent while you are answering try to think if you've actually responded to what they've asked you before you wind up the answer.

And one excellent piece of advice someone gave me - is to try and appear logical. Ok, so it might seem odd but there is nothing wrong with, if you have a tricky question, thinking of the elements of your answer as a list- eg. "Tell me about your management experience" - " Well, first I would say..... and secondly.... and lastly...... It helps order your thoughts and leads the interviewer through your thinking".

And relationships are key to most roles now - so spend some time thinking about how they are relevant to this job - and especially how you handle tricky ones

wearenotinkansas Tue 02-Aug-11 12:38:15

second " - above in the wrong place of course... !

nocake Tue 02-Aug-11 12:44:08

This should give you some ideas of what sort of thing you should prepare for grin

deliciousdevilwoman Tue 02-Aug-11 12:53:38

My best interview tip......walk into that room like you are already in the role. Many applicants make the mistake of not projecting themselves for the role they want, but rather, the one they are already in.

My other tip would be to psychologically "big yourself up" before walking in and facing that panel. You will make them warm to you, like you, see you in the role. That has worked for me on a number of occasions-even where, I have been punching above my weight.

buggerlugs82 Tue 02-Aug-11 13:05:10

My only advice is to be calm, listen to their questions and ask them to repeat if you need to.

They'll no doubt have standard questions that you can probably second guess.

Shake hands when you enter and say pleased to meet you - I always find manners good.

Take as long as you need and don't waffle. Also, tell them what you have done, not what your team / service has done.

RevoltingPeasant Tue 02-Aug-11 13:47:02

Having recently interviewed, would agree with Tortu and buggerlugs.

One thing I think cannot be overestimated is: a lot of whether you get a job or not is whether the interview panel likes you. This is not illegitimate, either -they might be working with you for the next 20 years. If you smile, make a small, mild joke, listen carefully to questions and respond in a flexible but confident manner, you will look like a good colleague.

Also, it's worth saying that emphasising things like collegiality can help: we went through the general requirements of the job with each candidate and then asked, 'Do you think there is anything else important to this role?' The successful candidate was the one who said, 'Well, just pulling your weight and being prepared to step in if something unexpected happens'.

Finally, whilst confidence is good, super-prepped answers and overconfidence can look hard and arrogant. Be careful not to come across as defensive. If you don't understand a question, ask for it to be rephrased, but remember - this is a conversation with future colleagues, not a test where you outwit the interviewer.

Good luck!!

HuntForGalaxyHazelnut Tue 02-Aug-11 13:52:12

There are lots of good tips on here <makes notes>

I would be careful about using the glass of water as a prop if you're prone to nerves though. I had a job interview once where they offered me a glass of water, i accepted but my hand was shaking so much i spilled the water all over myself and the floor. It was very embarrassing, and, needless to say, i didn't get the job.

Good luck!

upahill Tue 02-Aug-11 13:56:21

Thanks for the tips everyone, some very good ones.

I'll have a good look through tonight when I get time and do somemore preparing.

The job is a combination of all things I have done before but not at the same time and not in this way!!

OhWesternWind Wed 03-Aug-11 08:05:26

Really useful thread! Does anyone have any tips about questions to ask them at the end?

MrsSchadenfreude Wed 03-Aug-11 08:16:39

Ask them what the three main issues are that they would like the new jobholder to get to grips with in the first few months. This is a good question to ask, as it shows your interest, and sorts out the "men from the boys" with the interviewers, who have thought through what this job involves and what the key priorities are. I've asked this one and have had a really well thought through reply (and acknowledgement that this was a tough question, and well done for coming up with it) and have had some utter guff, which essentially told me that I didn't want to work for these people - eg for a senior manager's job, I was told "Well just to get on well with the others in the team really."

I have had a lot of interviews and do a lot of interviewing and we always do a competence based interview (the STAR one that someone mentioned earlier). Questions about strengths and weaknesses went out in the 1970s, I thought!
And yes, one of the things we consider is how well someone will fit in with the team.

LadyFlumpalot Wed 03-Aug-11 08:18:33

Apologies if it has already been said - my dad once gave me a really useful tip. When they ask that dreaded question "What do you consider your weakness?" Make it a domestic weakness but business positive. For example - My children always get annoyed by how I organise them around the place and I have a tendency to always be early for things and it drives my family nuts!

I haven't given very good examples above but it is very early and my brain isn't working!

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