interview tips part 2: at the interview

interview tips part 2: at the interview
It’s the day of your big interview and you want everything to run smoothly. Get a refresh on your interview technique by reading these all-important “on the day” tips. 

There are some important things to remember on the day of your interview to ensure you take care of all of the little things, so the big things fall into place. 

Not only do you need to prepare for the day itself, but you also need to arm yourself with an organised approach to your answers, particularly behavioural-based questions. 

Here’s how:

turn up on time
Make sure you arrive at the interview either on time or a little bit early. However, never arrive too early – five minutes before is perfect.

calm your nerves
Take a few deep breaths and relax while you wait for your interview. It’s inevitable that you will be nervous, so try to breathe deeply and stay calm beforehand. 

turn off your mobile phone 
Don’t risk it and switch your phone to silent, make sure your phone is completely switched off to avoid an unprofessional and embarrassing moment. 

sit down comfortably
When you are waiting for the interviewer to appear make sure you are sitting comfortably in a seat that you know you will be able to get up from without any fumbling or awkwardness. If you only have a few minutes to wait for the interviewer then it might be a good idea to stand up while you wait and avoid the pressure of standing up altogether.

find a topic to discuss

While you wait to meet your interviewer think about what you might be able to read or find in your surroundings that would start up a good first conversation, such as a leaflet from reception about the company. 

manage your first impression
Did you know that the interviewer will make their first impression of you in the first seven seconds of meeting you, so make those first moments count. 

smile and be professional
Your demeanour makes a huge difference, and a smile can really go a long way. Make sure when you greet your interviewer for the first time you look them in the eyes, smile and shake their hand professionally. 

during the interview:

Avoid speaking negatively about past employers – it doesn’t make for a good impression.

Don’t be too witty, aggressive or clever with your interviewer, and never interrupt them. If you do accidentally interrupt be sure to apologise straight away.

Answer questions confidently and try to use specific examples of experiences you’ve had and ways in which you were successful in a difficult situation. See below for tips on how to answer a behavioural-based question. 

It’s fine to take notes, but only when necessary and make sure you ask them if they are OK with that before you start. It’s not a good idea to write down everything they are saying.

Ask questions – or at least one question – when you get a chance. By asking a question or two it shows your interest in the job and organisation. It’s a good idea to do some research beforehand (see our article about planning for an interview). 

Invite them to contact you anytime – if they have any further questions – at the end of the interview. This shows your interest in the job and flexibility to answer questions. If possible, it’s also a good idea to thank the interviewer by email a few hours after the interview. 

the low-down on “behavioural-based” questions

Behavioural interviewing is a technique that is used to measure how you will perform on the job. It is based on the belief that past behaviour is a good indicator of future behaviour. 

Behavioural interviews can include questions about how you handled specific situations in the past that are relevant to this job. It will touch on how you responded and handled those situations and may be more in-depth that other questions in the interview. 

It’s important to answer these questions with lots of detail about your feelings about the situation and your observations. Remember, this information will be used to assess your proficiency at handling these job-related areas and your ability to problem solve, act as a leader and adapt to the situation. 

These questions usually do not form the entire interview and are often “dropped” into a normal interview. The indication that it’s a behavioural question could be the intro or lead in to the question, which might be something like: “Tell me about a time when… “ or “Can you describe a situation where…”.

how to answer these questions

You should try to use the STAR rule when answering these questions. 

Start with the situation basics, explain what the task at hand was, detail the action you took and why and finally tell them about the result of this.
Here are the most common behavioural-based questions you should be prepared for:

Describe a time when you had a number of conflicting tasks, or a large amount of work and how you worked through this.
Describe a time when you had a customer complaint or a difficult work colleague and how you handled this.
Tell me about a time when you felt unmotivated at work, and what you did to improve the way you felt.
Can you give me an example of a time where you put others needs before yourself?
Can you tell me about a time you feel you may have compromised your integrity?
Describe a time when you have felt the most successful and how did you know you were successful?

Posted: Wednesday, 19 April 2017 - 9:00 AM