For many job-seekers, it’s a nerve-wracking time and especially for school leavers and young graduates. For guidance on how to reach this stage read my article, Handling Your First Interview
Remember, getting to this point is a great achievement – They like you already.
There is only so much you can pick up from a piece of paper. There are some people who, conventionally, tick every box – they have good grades, great experience, are fully qualified – but as soon as they walk through the door, they are as dull as dishwater. You can be average in school grades, qualifications, experience and STILL convince the interviewer and get the job. It’s about how you present yourself, about your communication skills.
James Caan CBE, from Dragon’s Den, wrote in a recent article:
“If I listed the things that stood out about every person I have ever hired, personality and the ability to communicate would rank the highest.”
With that in mind, Lets look at 3 key areas:
Breaking The Ice
It is always good to connect with the interviewer on a personal level, this will not only show your communication skills, it will humanise you both. Looking at your surroundings, you might see a family photograph or an award certificate. Now you can say, “I notice you won X award, that’s a great achievement. Who were you up against?”
Engaging in conversational dialogue is an essential skill and your interviewer will be impressed.
Once the conversation has started to flow, it’s time to engage with the interviewer and apply the research you’ve conducted about the business and the role in question. Most interviewers will always ask a candidate what they have learnt about the business. Doing a quick Google or Wikipedia search, will not always work. Discover what makes the company “tick” – their goal, their drive, their competition. Identify who the company’s competition is and any interesting news shared recently (websites will normally have this in a “News” or, “pressroom” tab. Now, that tells an interviewer you’re serious about the job on offer. Here is your opportunity to ask as many questions about the role as you can, ready to match your experience with the required skillset and prove you’re more than competent.
The pinnacle of the interview process is illustrating how you can add value to the role and become the missing part of the puzzle in the interviewers’ eyes. This is where STAR comes into play.
Start by giving a backstory and setting the scene – the who, what, where and when. Introduce a challenge you faced by giving your interviewer a little context.
For example: “With both parents having successful careers within the Engineering sector, they expected me to follow in their footsteps. However, I have other drams and aspirations.”
Secondly, you explain what was required of you, what did you have to achieve? Share your thought process and how you intended on accomplishing the task.
For example: “I had to find a way of starting out on my own and find an alternative route that would help convince my parents I was able to create my own career path”
What did you actually do to make it happen? How proactive were you in ensuring the completion of the task? You can highlight any personal attributes that were tested, always referring back to your desired role.
For example: “I decided to break with tradition and started writing for a magazine. I was continually challenged throughout my journey and like many other writers, I questioned whether the long hours were worth it.”
What did you learn and how have you effectively applied this? Explain what your actions achieved and whether or not you met your objectives.
For example: “I managed to identify a need in the market and used every bit of passion, drive and dedication I had to make it happen, whilst continually developing essential soft skills such as communication, teamwork and decision making.”
If you have follow this process, you’ll be in a very good place. You will instinctively know whether the interview has gone well or not but leading the interview like this shows you are eager yet respectful and sure to make a lasting impression.
Then it’s time to play the waiting game being positive and motivated. 6 Techniques To Keep You Motivated
Share your interview experience with us.
Do you have something valuable to add? We can share it with other jobseekers.