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Please share your top interview tips with me. Panel interview on Thursday.

(10 Posts)
HorseStories Mon 08-Sep-08 08:18:04

I have an interview on Thursday after 4 years out of work.

It is a panel interview - a panel of 3.

I find 3 a bit daunting. I get nervous easily. I suffer from lack of recall in nervous situations.

How do you sound natural and confident in an interview.

When they say "Tell us about a time you dealt with a difficult client...." it sound so fake and false to launch into my readily prepared answer. How do I answer such questions confidently? Am I supposed to pretend I am thinking about it for a few seconds and pretend I am answering off the cuff? What sort of start out wording is appropriate to use? What is the interviewer looking for?

And what about when my readily prepared answers don't match their questions? Is there a deflection method I am not aware of? I'd rather not be left with "I'm sorry, I cannot think of anything at the moment"

DontCallMeBaby Mon 08-Sep-08 08:35:06

You don't necessarily HAVE to sound natural and confident. It would depend on the personality of the interviewers and the nature of the job, but visible nerves are not always bad. My boss (who knows the theory very well, gave me excellent coaching for an interview a couple of months back) was told after HIS last interview he was visibly shaking - but he got the job.

You also don't need to FEEL natural and confident. After two mock interviews characterised as 'too nervous' and 'too laidback' I settled on body language where I sat right forward on my chair in a characature of 'keen'. I felt like a twonk but apparently it came over well.

I wouldn't personally pretend to think about an answer, but I would do something like say 'Well ...' and then launch into the answer. It would feel a bit more natural to me, plus it gives the interviewers a bit of notice that you're about to start talking, get the pen ready!

I am shocking at remembering stuff in interviews - I passed my last one (also a panel of three) despite being unable to remember when I had ever made a decision! blush I just had to admit that, it was towards the end of an otherwise good interview and I think the panel were feeling forgiving (plus had ticked all the necessary boxes already and were just finishing up their list of questions).

I would say if you honestly haven't got an example, say so. I was advised to rehearse a 'difficult staff' question, but have never had one, so was advised just to say that. The interviewer will need to find another way to get the right information from you. Maybe you could look at your prepared answers and think about what other questions they're relevant to? Phrase it something like 'I've not been in that situation exactly, but there was a time when x happened/I did y, would that be of interest?' That way you make it clear you haven't just misunderstood the question, but still have the opportunity to use one of your example, if they say yes.

Most useful interview advice I've been given - answer the questioon and stop talking. I tend to whitter when nervous!

HorseStories Mon 08-Sep-08 09:53:57

Thank you so much DontCallMeBaby. That is exactly the sort of advice I need a few days prior to the interview. It gives me some focus.

SquiffyHock Mon 08-Sep-08 13:31:49

<<Hijack>> dontcallmebaby - please pop back to the thread about toasties and answer my egg queries!!!

HorseStories - Good luck! Just remember that if you are what they are looking for then they will see that so try to be yourself.
Ask yourself if you really believe that you can do this job -if the answer is yes then just go in with that belief and try to show them your best. V. good advice from Baby, esp re: not whittering!! I'm a demon for that. Also saying things like, 'does that answer your question or would you like me to elaborate?' rather than waffling on a tangent.

zwiggy Mon 08-Sep-08 13:36:29

deflection - I don't understand the question, could you please repeat it/

when the interview is so formal they are usually ticking boxes so don't worry about nerves. you can usually take notes in, and also jot down the question during interview to prepare your answer.

When they ask is there anything else you would like to add at the end of the interview, if there is anything you wish you said earlier say it then ie - ' yes going back to your earlier question about .... I would also like to mention that .......

Good luck smile

HorseStories Tue 09-Sep-08 08:16:13

when the interview is so formal they are usually ticking boxes so don't worry about nerves. you can usually take notes in, and also jot down the question during interview to prepare your answer.

Really? That's helpful to know.

Thank you everyone. I am feeling much more positive.

StealthPolarBear Tue 09-Sep-08 08:36:05

It is a panel interview - a panel of 3.
>>When answering, please naturally let your eye contact be with each from time to time.

I find 3 a bit daunting. I get nervous easily. I suffer from lack of recall in nervous situations.
>>IME so does everyone

How do you sound natural and confident in an interview.
>>Take a deep breath, think for a sec and start talking. When I interview visibly nervous people I always wish they knew how much I'm on their side! We know it's nerve wracking!

When they say "Tell us about a time you dealt with a difficult client...." it sound so fake and false to launch into my readily prepared answer. How do I answer such questions confidently? Am I supposed to pretend I am thinking about it for a few seconds and pretend I am answering off the cuff?
>>personally if you can think "off the cuff", wonderful. If you can't and have to prepare, like me, then that just shows how thorough you've been - it'll be obvious your answer is prepared but that's no bad thing. If you feel really awkward you could even say "I was expecting you to ask something like this... and then your answer"

What sort of start out wording is appropriate to use? What is the interviewer looking for?
>>someone who meets their criteria and can deal with people in general (specific depends on the exact job). I work in a geeky environment and we've had fantastic people who stare at the floor when answering. We've also interviewed a particular man who addressed all his answers to my male boss, even though I was asking the questions and would have been his line manager!

And what about when my readily prepared answers don't match their questions? Is there a deflection method I am not aware of?
>>You can say something like "I can't think of a time when I've dealt with a difficult group of customers, however I once had to deal with a difficult customer while still managing other things....etc. If it's completely different, don't try too hard

I'd rather not be left with "I'm sorry, I cannot think of anything at the moment"
>> It's inevitable I think that this is going yo happen. IME it's not a deal breaker unless you're doing it a lot. You obviously have most of the skills they're looking for or they woulddn't interview you. If you genuinely haven't had experience of...then they may just overlook that if you're the strongest candidate. Definitely say this instead of bullsh^tting. If appropriate you could say "I haven't had to deal with that situation but I would .... and ..., based on..."

What kind of job is it?

StealthPolarBear Tue 09-Sep-08 08:36:57

Sorry, the fantastic people (technically) who stared at the floor when answering did NOT get the job!

flowerybeanbag Tue 09-Sep-08 09:41:26

excellent advice from SPB.

They must think you could do this job otherwise you wouldn't be there.

They don't want you to fail, they want you to be a good candidate and come up with good answers, so if that means hesitating, having to think for a moment, having prepared answers or being a bit nervous, that's all fine.

good luck!

HorseStories Tue 09-Sep-08 19:43:38

Thank you thank you. I am feeling very positive about this interview now and I have to say it is all down to the words of wisdom shared here. I am preparing tonight for Thursday. The job is for a Project Coordinator for online training.

It will be good experience for me even if I do not get the job. But I will do my best.

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