In London, a job interview is part of the application process. During a job interview the employer can assess your ability, experience, attitude and how you would react in certain situations. The best way to win over your assessor is to be prepared and confident.
To build up an answer one of the best ways is the STAR technique.
Situation – Description of the situation. What you did with whom, where and when.
Task – Details of the task. What was the challenge of the task.
Action – How did you respond to the challenge, how did you solve it, what would it have been if you decided otherwise?
Result – Describe what impact it did have on others or on business.
Get your strengths in line
Communication – the ability to get on with a wide range of people
Team working – the ability to be an effective team leader or team member
Good attitude – hard worker, honest, polite,
Problem solving – using your initiative to suggest solutions
Quick learner – so you can take on new tasks
Determination – shows you are focused on achieving goals
Flexibility – doing a variety of tasks to achieve a common goal.
Example: ”I am highly organised and am able to take account of the smaller details while also seeing the bigger picture. A good example of this is when I was handed a new project and had to manage this from initial conception through to completion.”
What about your weakness?
Only mention one or two weaknesses, which are not necessary for the job and are insignificant, suggest that you are working on it.
Example: ‘I find it difficult to delegate. I like knowing every aspect of a project and often find it difficult to give up control to others who may not complete work in the way I would wish. I have learnt to manage this by having regular discussions with others involved in a project so that I can be sure we are all working together.’
Common interview questions
Why do you want to work here? What do you know about our company?
Look up the company, how many people they are employing, where their networks are, when they were established, what they specialised in, what training opportunities they offer, etc. Why do you want to work there? How can you contribute to the company’s level of quality?
‘I have always been impressed by the quality of the company’s work and I would love to be a part of it. I always strive for the highest quality in my own work and feel I would flourish here. I am always looking to improve myself and as such I am very interested in your training and development plans.’
What are your goals? Where do you see yourself in five years time?
Here present your ambitions, do not be too big a dreamer ‘I want to become managing director in three years’ also do not sound too uncertain ‘I’m not sure – I’ll see how it goes’, find an answer in the middle. Start with short-term plans, and then continue with the long term ones.
‘At this point in my career I feel I need a good basis of understanding of the job and some hands-on experience. Therefore I would like to initially begin as a trainee chef, before completing NVQs level 2 and 3 to become a qualified chef.’
Why did you leave your previous job? How was an average day at work? What experience did you get there?
Just be positive! Do not raise any misunderstanding with your colleagues, bosses or criticise them or the company. Focus on what experience you have gained.
Example answer: ‘I have enjoyed my time at my current role, where I have developed vital skills such as customer service, including dealing with complaints, team and project management. I am looking to leave my current role so that I can continue to progress and learn new skills.’
What do you know about our products / services? Can you think of any improvements to our products / services?
Make small changes, do not reshape the whole company.
‘I have heard a lot about the customer service focus of the company, and am impressed by the ratings that the industry give you as a whole for the service you provide. My suggestion for change would be a more formalised process when something goes wrong. This will reassure the customer that they are being listened to, as well as streamlining the process so it is dealt with more quickly.’
What makes a good team member?
For anyone who works alone or with others, communication and flexibility are the two important aspect.
‘Being part of a team means that you others are able to rely on your help at busy or stressful times. You must be able to collaborate with others and lend support so that no one individual is having to do more than the rest.’
How do you characterise yourself?
Do not be too critical of yourself, also do not present yourself as perfect. Find the middle ground.
What do you do in your free time?
List any sports, activities and events you like to do or go to. e.g.: gym, running, tennis, reading, going to cinema, movies, etc.