Job interview tips AIBU (shamelessly posting for traffic!!)(7 Posts)
Please could I ask you all for your tips for general job interviews and competency-based job interviews?
I’ve got a job interview coming up soon (it’s part of several potential rounds of interviews) for a role which I really, really want.
Although I’ve had a few job interviews now for different roles, I almost never get the job (this is for entry-level roles in a few different sectors).
I always ask for feedback and do my best to learn it. Often the feedback will say something generic (but helpful) like ‘other candidates were more qualified for the role’, ‘other candidates were more passionate about X element of the role’ or just that there were stronger candidates.
But the specific feedback that I’ve had has been either that I don’t have enough related experience for a role or, otherwise, it’s been feedback related to my performance in competency-based interviews.
In feedback after competency-based interviews, I’ve been advised to make my answers clearer and more concise (I’ve really tried to work on this) and also to suggest different outcomes/results for the STAR format that’s often suggested to frame answers for competency-based interviews.
I’ve got a competency-based interview coming up, so please could I ask you all for your tips on how to do well in a competency-based interview?
I’m also thinking of filming myself and recording myself to prepare myself for the interview and to see how I come across. Does that sound like a good idea?
Thanks so much
Hi. Firstly good luck!! It sounds like you are doing everything right. STAR is a great way to frame answers, just make sure you are specific, mention numbers, timescales, budget, etc. Think of all the likely questions and take time to match your previous experience to the role, even if not I the same field. The usual suspects... time you implemented change, dealt with a tricky colleague/ client, tried something that didn't work.
Look at the job spec and pull out their key words and try to include them in your answers. It makes you look more in tune with their values.
Another technique I use is the ripple effect. How does your skill/ experience impact on you, the task/ project, the wider company, externally? Eg 'you used your meticulous budgeting skills to conclude project x under budget by utilising y, which saved company z £££ and helped consolidate you relationship with client A but also brought in further interest from client B, leading to winning project 2.'
Filming yourself is also a good idea. Cut out any ums and ahs. Watch body language.
I failed a ton of competency interviews and someone said to me that the answer should be in three sections. 1. Acknowledge what they've asked 2. Explain when you've done it 3. Summarise why what you've told them demonstrated what they asked. It is difficult to sound natural but the structure helps. There are loads of lists of standard competency questions online so you can have answers ready for those. Big yourself up. I hate doing it so I pretend I'm on a soap opera as a character. I know I can do the job, its just talking the talk to get there.
I did some interview prep recently and was amazed at how much waffle I could cut from my STAR examples by letting go of how 'essential' I thought the context was. I had a good two paragraphs of rambling about 'high levels of scrutiny' and who the other key stakeholder was, and replaced it all with 'high profile policy area' and kicked straight into 'task', which I also slashed to a v v simple sentence. That whole background-setting bit is where you lose the interviewers' attention, and they honestly don't need it - they're listening out for when you met each of the criteria of the competency so they can tick it off their checklist, and none of that is in your background spiel. The relevant bits of context come through naturally in the main body of your answer.
Talk more slowly. Take a moment before you start your answer, to order your thoughts and make sure you're happy that the example you're about to give is the most applicable one you have ready. Make a note of key terms in the question.
Is there anyone who can do a practice interview with you? Super cringey at the time, but if they have the right knowledge/experience they're going to be much more valuable than watching yourself back on video (I think for me personally, also less demoralising, but ymmv!).
Practice, practice, practice. Get a friend to ask you sample questions. It doesn’t matter if they don’t work in the same industry.
You want to sound calm, enthusiastic and competent.
Try to talk in the interview as if you already have the job. I don’t mean be terribly arrogant, but try to exude an air of confidence (after all why wouldn’t they hire you!)
Pay attention to your body language, and tone of voice when you are practicing.
There’s a bit of research somewhere that says interviewers decide whether they want you in the first two minutes and spend the other 58 looking for evidence to support their initial decision.
Do your best to make that first impression awesome and them help give them lots excuses to follow through on that first connection.
Show huge enthusiasm to work for the company!
Bring makes an excellent point, it’s always through doing research about the company/competitors etc in advance. Often it helps you ask an interesting question at the end of the interview.
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