By Steve Raw. Helping you on your leadership journey

My personal top 20 interview tips

My top 20 interview tips

My top 20 interview tips

Over the weekend I was asked by someone for some tips on interviews and I wanted to share them with you. Here are my top 20 personal tips that have worked for me:

  1. Dress to communicate – what is your message? And from the Army: ‘Look the Part Feel the Part’ and’ Look Good Feel Good’.  For me clothes are a form of communication, it is saying you have taken the time to prepare, you respect the importance of the interview and you take personal pride.  I also think it demonstrates to people who are interviewing you that you will be a good ambassador for your role.
  2. When you walk in the room. It is true what they say – the first 20 seconds when you walk through the door is when you make your biggest impression.
  3. Avoid obstacles. You will be nervous, as we all are, so the last thing you want to do is trip over your bag or brief case.  When you sit down put it to either the left or right never between your feet.
  4. Visualise – how you want your interview to pan out. What I did before a race is exactly the same as that before an interview.  Find a quiet place 20 minutes before the interview and close your eyes and visualise of how you will see a winning interview happen for you.  How you imagine is how it will happen
  5. I am always pleasantly surprised that so many of my competitors don’t prepare for some reason.  Have everything ready the day before – check it off (your notes, presentations, hand-outs, any media you need – check if they have what you need at the venue – phone the PA)
  6. Added value. What do you bring that is extra to your organisation that is not in the Job Description?  It could be that you are a trainer or speaker on a related subject, you are a member of a forum – best of all you do voluntary work.
  7. Competencies – examples for each question. If the interview is done correctly the questions should come from the Job Competencies or Job Description. So be prepared to give examples of your experience of each competency.  I find that if I type these out they stick in my mind.
  8. Star – maximise your score. Again if the interview is done in a fair way you will be scored on each question – you want to get the top score! ‘STAR’ is something I use when I am giving an example for an answer to one of the panel questions.  Situation (what you were involved in) Target (what was your aim) Actions (what did you do) Results (what were the effects)  When I am doing interviews if someone gives me this with a real example then they get top points, if they haven’t experienced this question then following this method may still get them good points
  9. Play to your audience. Research your panel – find out who they are and find out what is important to them or what motivates them.  I have been interviewed by my current boss three or four times now, and for her it is all about people taking control of their lives; finding out what people want not what we think they want, and also my understanding of the aims and objectives of our organisation.  Google their names, find out if they have written papers on subjects that are important to them, also find out what concerns them because you need to be their solution.
  10. Know the business plan. Know the business plan inside out and be prepared to quote elements in your responses, it shows you are on message and that you have showed respect by doing your research
  11. Pretend you don’t know the people who are interviewing you (if you do know them). Don’t be over-familiar even if you recognise or have known people on the panel for some considerable time.
  12. Recce the venue. Check out where you are going days before the interview, know exactly where it is and how long it takes to get there.  Turn up 20–30 minutes before you need to on the day so you can relax
  13. Anticipate questions. If you were on the panel what questions would you ask?  Be prepared for the tricky questions – the old chestnuts: ‘What are your weaknesses?’ ‘Give me an example of where something went wrong or you made a mistake?’ Be honest but also demonstrate how you turned it around
  14. Eye contact and remember to smile Be confident and the best way to show how confident you are is to smile and give eye contact
  15. Ensure you are responding to their questions not what you would like their questions to be. This is easily done especially when you are nervous.  Repeat the question back if you have to.  It might be that there are 2 questions in there so break it down, but before you get the second part confirm again what the question is.
  16. Rehearse rehearse. Your interview and your presentation.  Do it with a critical friend
  17. Presentations? Don’t just use one media and have a backup e.g. A3 sheets of your presentation if the projector doesn’t work; have an extension lead in your car if they don’t have one and your projector lead and laptop don’t reach the plug.
  18. Remember you are going for the new job not the one you are doing right now. Respond to the questions as if you are already in that position.  The panel need to have confidence that you can do the job so paint a picture for them that you are already doing it – it will inspire confidence in them and also in you.
  19. What is your vision? What would be your vision statement be?  So many people don’t have a vision – paint a picture of what can be and capture their imagination.  What would be your vision statement?  (try and have one in 3 or 4 words that sums up your vision –they are then likely to remember it)
  20. Closing the interview. Sense when they want to bring it to an end and help them.  Stand up, shake hands and thank each panel member for their time.

What are your top interview tips? Please share them below or tweet me @DoshLtd.

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Contact me

steve.raw@dosh.org
@DoshLtd

Join me at 7am everyday for inspirational tweets about leadership