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Interview Preparation Handout

To arrange a practice interview please contact Caroline Kennedy Careers & Opportunities Officer Email: ckennedy@ncirl.ie Telephone: 4498526

Introduction:
You either get the job or you dont. There is only one winner when job hunting. Interview preparation is the differentiator between high calibre candidates the one who is best prepared gets the job. Research: Find out everything you can about the organisation, the sector and the job. In order to research these areas thoroughly you will need to: Search the companys website. Search sector relevant websites e.g. www.checkout.ie for FMCG or retail companies. Monitor press articles and look at the press release section of the companys website Read the Chairmans statement in the companys annual report to gain a broad overview. Examine the job and person specification, identify the skills they are looking for and prepare examples for how you demonstrate them (see the competency interview guide for more information).

Planning: Plan to answer questions they are likely to ask. (There is complete list of possible questions and links to websites later in this guide). Typically questions will examine your strengths and weaknesses, your reasons for wanting this opportunity and investigate your past experiences to determine if you are suitable. Identify the skills, characteristics and experiences you have that match what they are looking for and be able to speak clearly and persuasively about them. Rehearse the interview: It is crucial that you practice answering the interview questions. This will prevent you from rambling in the interview and help you to see if you are selling yourself adequately. Dressing for Intervfiews: First impressions are critical. It is usually best to wear a dark-colored, conservative suit. Keep jewellery to a minimum, make sure nails are groomed (clear varnish) and avoid too much make up. First Impressions: What do you need to do in the first few minutes to make a positive impression on the interviewer? Arrive a few minutes early. Have a topic of conversation ready as an ice breaker. Smile - come across as friendly and enthusiastic. Give a strong confident handshake. Dont smoke just before you go into your interview Make regular eye contact although dont stare and hold it for too long. Never close the door on an opportunity, always act as if you are determined to get the job. Know your CV inside out and be able to answer any questions in relation to it. Thank the interviewer for meeting you.

DONT Interrupt the interviewer Criticise your current or past employers or institutions Suggest personality clashes

Dont fidget Be too laid back or casual Breach confidentiality. Don't answer with a simple "yes" or "no." Don't lie. Don't inquire about salary, holidays etc Dont waffle

Sample Interview Questions


This section contains lists of sample interview questions. They are broken down into the following categories: Background College/School Career & Motivation Research & Company Information Strengths/Weaknesses/Self Awareness Drive & Ambition Situation and Behavioural Questions Brain Teasers Hobbies & Activities Questions to ask the Interviewer

Background Tell me about yourself/ How would you describe yourself Talk me through your CV Why are you leaving xx employer? What are your long term career plans? How will you achieve them? College/School Why did you choose to study at National College of Ireland? What sort of degree do you hope to get? / Are you happy with your results to date/ How do you feel about your results to date? Why did you pick your course of study? Why did you pick your leaving certificate subjects? Tell me about your school/ College? Describe what you see as the main benefits of a College education. /What have you gained from your studies? If you could improve anything about your school or college, what would it be? How will the degree you have studied benefit your career? Which subjects did you like best? Why? (and least) Do you think that your grades are an indication of your potential? What did you like/dislike about College/School? What are your plans for postgraduate study?

Career and Motivation How do you see your career developing in five/ten years' time? How are you preparing yourself to achieve this goal? What other careers are you considering/have you considered? What other firms are you applying to? What influenced you to choose this career? What do you think it takes to be successful in this career? What are your career goals for the next five years? What steps have you taken to achieve them? In what areas do you lack qualifications? What are you doing about this? How does your current job relate to your career goals? What do you see as the most likely rewards of this job? How does this opportunity meet your career goals?

What alternative careers have you considered? What people or events have been the most important in your own self development? How do you keep informed about important changes in your field? What are your expectations of your next role and employer? What do you contribute your career success achieved to point and what is it that will drive you to achieve and succeed further? Do you have the characteristics necessary for success in this career? How do you feel about working long hours? What qualifies you for this job? How long do you think it would take you before you could contribute to this role? What parts of this job do you find most/least attractive? What motivates you? Why have you applied for this position and this organisation? What achievement has given you the greatest sense of achievement? What will you be looking for in a new role?/ How would you describe your ideal job? What three things will be most important to you in a new role What attributes do you believe an effective manager should possess? How does this position fit in with your future career plans? What do you feel will be the most challenging aspect of this role? How do you respond to change?

Current Role: Why are you looking to leave your current role? What do you like about your current role? If you like your current role why are you leaving? What were your two most important achievements in your current job? What do you like most/least about your current job? What are your thoughts on your current employer? How does your current role fit in with your career plans? What is a good example of a pressurised situation for you? What types of criticisms are directed at you most often? How do you feel your subordinates would describe you as a manager and supervisor? Give me an example of a time when you were able to complete a project without immediate supervision. Was this normal? What would your supervisor say about your abilities to complete tasks as assigned? Do you prefer working alone, or with others? In examining you for this opportunity, in what areas do you feel you would be a particularly strong performer? Why? Describe your 3 greatest strengths and explain how you used them to bring about improvements in your current or most recent position. Weaknesses (Answer these with how youve improved or what youve learned from them) In what kind of work environment are you most productive? In what areas could you improve your overall performance? Describe a time when you were frustrated with your employer. How did you handle it? Why have you changed jobs so often? How long have you been looking for a new role? Are you actively interviewing at the moment? For what type of opportunities? What could your current employer do to make you stay? What is your current salary?

Research & Company Information. Tell me what you know about our company. What do you know about what we do? Why did you decide to seek a position in this company? What suggestions do you have for our company? As you consider your overall qualifications for this position, what do you see as some of your development needs? Where else are you interviewing? Why do you want to work for us and not for our competitor? Who do you think are our major competitors? What or who do you think is the main threat to our business? What do you think of our product/service? What do you think are the main issues for our business over the next few years? What are the current challenges facing this industry? What do you see as the main priorities for someone in this position? We have a very different culture to your current organization how do you feel you will adapt? How long do you think it would take you to make a contribution to the team? What value will you add to this business?

NB: Need to have looked at company websites, annual report, articles etc. Strengths/Weaknesses/ Self Awareness What qualities do you have that will make you a success in this career? What has been your greatest achievement? Biggest disappointment? Tell me about the biggest mistake you have made? Give your top five strengths/weaknesses How would someone who dislikes you describe you? Why should we recruit you over everyone else we spoke to today? What would your manager/friends/lecturer say about you? What has been said about you in appraisals? How do you evaluate success? Give me an example of one of your accomplishments. How would you describe yourself? If you could start again what would you do differently? How do you handle pressure/stress? In what kind of work environment are you most comfortable? How would you describe yourself in terms of your ability to work as part of a team? What plans do you have for self-development in the next 12 months?

Extracurricular activities What are your main extracurricular activities? What is your major achievement to date? Please tell me about your achievements in extracurricular activities. Describe your most rewarding college experience. During your college activities, what positions of responsibility did you hold? What did you like best/least about these positions? What campus activities did you become involved with? What did you gain from them?

Did you have an opportunity to work as a member of a team in College? Please give examples. What problems did you encounter? What have you gained from your membership of xx? Tell me about the positions of responsibility you have had. How do you organise your time? What has your role as XXX involved? What have you learned from your extracurricular activities?

Questions to ask the interviewer: What would the person do in a typical day/week? What activities would I get involved with in the first three months? What would you like this person to achieve in the first 12 months for you to consider them a success? What makes a graduate successful in your program? Where do graduates of your program typically work? What paths have most of your recent graduates taken following completion of their training? What are you looking for in a candidate? What major changes are anticipated in the department, and in what direction is the program headed? What would a normal working day be like? How much contact is there with management? How soon could I expect to be advanced to the next level in the career path? How did the role become available (growth/someone leaving)? (Will I have a handover with the person I am replacing?) How is the department structured? What are the backgrounds of the people in the team?

What is a competency based interview?


"Take cautiously what people say about themselves in hiring interviews. While nearly always well intentioned and honest, people often lack self-awareness. Instead, look at what theyve done in the past. Thats the overwhelming predictor of what theyll do in the future. Look for indications of real accomplishment in anything: sports, art, student government, starting a club or small business as a kid. Look for achievement and a pattern of high productivity. While you can nurture it, hiring someone who is achievement oriented is much easier than trying to force-feed that mentality." -- Jack Zenger, Making 2+2=5 Competency and behavioral interviews are based on the belief that past actions are a strong indicator of future performance. They focus on the specific skills required to succeed in a particular role e.g. communication, negotiation, drive etc. The interviewer is looking for a specific example that demonstrates that you possess the competency required. In order to prepare for a competency interview you must analyse the job, pick out the skills and traits they are looking for and then identify the specific experiences you have had that highlight these skills and traits. You will be questioned in detail about each competency so use a solid example where you can remember a lot of detail. You may use examples from Work, College or extra curricular activities. Be specific in your examples, dont generalise Have a number of specific examples ready dont keep using the same one, The best way to answer the question is to use the three-step STAR process

Situation or Task - Describe the situation you were in or the task you had been assigned Action -Describe the action YOU took, the suggestions YOU made, the obstacles YOU overcame Result - Highlight the positive result that was achieved as a result of your actions. For example, you could explain about a specific time when communication broke down within your project group (situation). To resolve the problem, you scheduled informal meetings for people to discuss relevant issues (action). Morale then improved, as did the lines of communication and you came in the Top 5 in the class (result).

Competencies
Ability to learn Ability to assimilate and apply new job-related information promptly Possible Questions What did you have to learn to be become effective in your current role? How long did it take you to get up to speed? Have you ever felt that you were over your head on a project? Why? What did you do? What happened? Have you ever needed to learn new information about changing products, markets etc ? Tell me about one of these situations and how you learned the new information. In your current role what pieces di you pick up quickly and what pieces took longer to learn? Describe a time when you had difficulty learning something. What did you do?

Adaptability/Flexibility Open to doing things a new or different way. Stays positive when in the face of change. Assists co-workers when necessary. Takes on new tasks. Accepts change even when ambiguity exists. Prioritises actions to respond to numerous demands. Manages emotions during times of change or stress. Can shift focus and activities in response to changing priorities. Possible Questions Tell me about a time when you changed your priorities to meet demands. Describe a time when you received new information that impacted on a decision that you had made. Tell me about a time when you changed your behaviour to fit a situation. Tell me about a time when you had to change your plans as a result of new information or changing priorities. Please give an example showing how you adapt to different situations / environments/ people Tell me about a decision you made while under a lot of pressure. Tell me about a time you had to handle multiple responsibilities. How did you organise the work you needed to do? Describe a time when you were given tasks to accomplish without advance notice. How did you respond? Tell me about a time you were given a task that was outside of your responsibilities? What action did you take? What did you accomplish? What didnt you accomplish? What did you learn? Attention to Detail: Assesses information, quality orientation, speed and accuracy Possible Questions Have you ever worked in a role that required accuracy? What activities required accuracy? What would your manager say in relation to your accuracy? What would they suggest that you improve on? Give me an example of the work you did on a day-to-day basis that required accuracy? Are you strongest on accuracy or speed? In some positions it is very easy to make errors. What do you do to control errors? Can you example of a time when you found errors in your work? What were the causes? Give an example of a time when you knew that things were not going well with a process/ function. How could you tell?

Client/Customer Focus Committed to providing excellence in customer care and service Goes above and beyond expectations Instills in others a desire to provide a quality customer service. Recognises client satisfaction as a critical factor in the success of a business. Possible Questions: Give an example of how you exceeded customer expectations. Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a customer service issue. Describe a situation in which you promoted a customers needs within your organisation, did you have to overcome any resistance? Describe a time when your relationship with a customer was difficult and what you did about it. Describe a situation in which a customer had an unusual business need, and you were responsible for finding a way to meet the need. Give an example of a time when you had to deal with an angry customer. What was the problem and what was the outcome? How would you assess your role in dealing with the situation? Give me an example of when you initiated a change in a process in response to customer feedback. What do you dislike about dealing with people or customers? Have you received criticism relating to a service that you have delivered? Give me a specific example of a time when you were unable to satisfy a customer? What did you do? What was the result? Describe for me a time when you were working with an irate customer. What was the situation? How did you handle the situation? What do you dislike most about dealing with people or customers? Has there ever been a time that you have been criticised relating to a service that you have delivered? Have you been praised for the levels of service that you have delivered? Think of a time when you had to deal with a customer who had unreasonable demands. What did you do? What skills do you believe are important for dealing effectively with customers? Give an example of a time when you displayed these. What lesson(s) have you learned about keeping the customer satisfied? How did you learn them? Give me an example of how you have used that lesson? Tell me about a time when handled a complaint ineffectively. What did you learn from this? How do you know if your customers are satisfied? Give examples Commitment: Dedicated, dependable, Takes prompt action to deliver results Responds resourcefully to opportunities and challenges Possible Questions: Describe a job you have worked on where you demonstrated your dedication to the client. Describe a time when you faced challenges on a particular job, which you had to over come and work at to achieve positive outcome.

Communication: Presents information, written or verbal, in a clear/ fluent/concise/compelling manner. Ability to communicate their position or point of view clearly. Is an active listener. Establishes and maintains effective lines of communication. Effective two-way communicator. Explains complex issues in straightforward manner. Questions others effectively and checks understanding on both sides. Possible Questions:

Describe a situation you were involved in that required a multi-dimensional communication strategy. Give an example of a difficult or sensitive situation that required extensive communication. Describe a time when you got crucial information from another person. Describe how you approached this. Describe a time when someone misunderstood what you were trying to communicate. Tell me about a time when you worked with people from a different culture. What did you do to overcome barriers to communication Tell me about a time when you used tact and diplomacy when communicating with someone Tell me about a presentation you have given recently? How did you prepare? Who did you deliver the presentation to? What was their reaction? Give me an example of a time when you had to work with a group of people you had not met before. How did you deal with this? Describe a time when you have had to communicate an idea or opinion to a group of people Give an example of a time when you communicated a complicated idea to someone. How did you approach this? What was your strategy to ensure they understood? How did you check that they understood? Give an example of where you used your written communication skills to get a point across Describe a time when you successfully communicated with someone you did not like. Describe a situation that demonstrates the quality of your listening skills/ Give me a specific example of a time when you demonstrated to others that you were listening. When you have started new jobs, how have you established good relationships with your new coworkers? With management? Describe for me the most complex piece of technical information you recently had to explain to someone. Walk me through your explanation. What is the worst communication problem you have experienced

Continuous Learning/Self Evaluation Continuously identifies areas that need improvement. Maintains awareness of internal and external trends. Addresses learning requirements by: keeping abreast of new directions, reading, seeking appropriate experiences, training, course work etc Self-assesses and seeks feedback from others to identify strengths and weaknesses and ways of improving. Possible Questions Tell me about a job that you had which required you to learn new things. Describe a decision you made that you would change if you had to do it over again. When you have discovered an issue with your work performance, what did you do about it? Tell me about a time when your manager gave you feedback about your work performance. What did you learn about yourself? What have you done to further your own professional development in the last XX years? Discuss the highlights of your most recent educational experience. Did you accomplish any special achievements? What were your most difficult challenges? Describe a situation where you had to request assistance on a project. How did you find the transition from school to college? Did you face any particular problems? Tell me about a time when you were dissatisfied with your performance. What did you do about it? Creativity: Identifies fresh approaches Willing to question traditional assumptions Possible Questions: Tell me about a time when you developed a new idea for your organisation. What was innovative about this idea? What resistance, if any, did you encounter as you attempted to sell your idea to your colleagues or customers, and how did you overcome it?

Describe the most significant or creative presentation/idea that you developed/implemented. Can you give me an example of how you have been creative in completing your responsibilities? Please give an example of when innovation was required at work? What did you do in this situation? Describe something you have done that was new and different for your organisation, that improved performance and/or productivity. Tell me about a time when you identified a new, unusual or different approach for addressing a problem or task. Tell me about a recent problem in which old solutions wouldn't work. How did you solve the problem?

Cross Functional Collaboration: Establishes working relationships across functions. Proactively engages with parts of the business to achieve mutual success. Proactively builds cooperative relationships across the company. Works effectively with co-workers and colleagues from different departments and disciplines. Possible Questions How have you helped cross functional teams work together? Drive: Sets and achieves challenging goals. Exhibits energy and enthusiasm while always remaining focused on results. Plans work in a structured fashion and finishes tasks within deadlines and to a high standard. Outs themselves forward for positions of responsibility Drives themselves to exceed goals. Record of consistently achieving success. Brings energy and enthusiasm to their role and is capable of working on own initiative Seeks to better themselves through feedback. Gets results and finishes tasks where others may not. Learns from disappointments and setbacks. Possible Questions How will you approach studying for your final exams? Tell me about a situation where you had to persist to complete a major task whilst under pressure or in the face of setbacks. What have you done that shows initiative and willingness to work? What are your three major accomplishments? What is your greatest achievement? What was challenging about what you did? Tell me about a time when you have incorporated other ideas to improve your own performance Tell me about a time from work when you encountered a problem and your manager was not available. What was the nature of the problem? How did you handle that situation? How did that make you feel? What positions of responsibility have you held? What did you enjoy most and least about these? Describe a goal you set yourself that you didnt achieve. What did you do about it? Tell me about a time when you had a heavy workload. How did you deal with this? Tell me about the most challenging aspects of one of the positions of responsibility you have had? Tell me about a situation where you have had to use your initiative. What was the outcome? Give an example of when you have exceeded someones expectations. Tell me about a situation where you have been criticised. How did you react? Tell me about a time when you worked hard to ensure a positive relationship with a co-worker. Can you talk about a project you worked on which did not go as well as planned Describe a time when you removed and obstacle in order to achieve a specific objective Describe a time when you set yourself a goal. How did you go about achieving it?

Impact and Influence: Ability to gain support from and motivate others Builds relationships Able to positively influence others

Listens, understands, and responds well to others Possible Questions Describe a recent situation in which you convinced an individual or a group to do something. Describe a time when you went through a series of steps to influence an individual or a group on an important issue. Describe a situation in which you needed to influence different people with differing perspectives. Tell me about a new idea you suggested to your manager recently. What happened? Leadership Able and willing to take on leadership roles Builds highly effective teams with a shared vision Sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of other team members. Transforms the vision into meaningful objectives that others can relate Possible Questions: Tell me about a time when you had to lead a group towards a goal. Describe a situation where you inspired others to meet a common goal. Tell me about a time when you influenced the outcome of a project by taking a leadership role What leadership qualities do you think are important? How have you demonstrated these qualities? Describe a situation in which you were able to persuade someone to approach things your way. How did you do this? Describe a leadership situation that you would handle differently if you had it to do over again. What have you done to develop the skills of your staff? Tell me about a time when you sought additional responsibility. What have you done in your present/previous job that goes beyond what was required? How would you motivate an employee who was performing poorly? Give a specific example that best illustrates your ability to deal with an uncooperative person. Describe a situation which best illustrates your leadership ability. Tell me about a time when you inspired someone to work hard or extend themselves. How effective were you? Do you typically prefer to be a driving force in a project or do you prefer to offer support to others who lead? What do you like/dislike about being that driving force? Give a specific example of a time that you motivated an unmotivated person to do something. Describe a time when you took a leadership role in a group situation. Describe a time when you used power and authority to complete a crucial project? What steps did you take? Was the outcome positive Describe a time when you had difficulty getting people to work together in solving a problem or completing an assignment. What did you do? What was the result? Management Is aware of the impact of actions and words on others and uses a range of interaction styles Deals openly and constructively with performance issues in relation to agreed goals. Uses empowering strategies to produce effective teams and boost productivity Anticipates potential sources of conflict between individuals and groups and negotiates solutions that meet the end goals of the organization. Sharing knowledge, giving constructive feedback and coaching or mentoring others Possible Questions: Describe a time when you had a team member who was setting low goals for themselves. How did you work with and motivate them to raise their standards? What was the result? What experience have you had that makes you feel you would be a good manager? Give me an example of an employee you were successful in motivating. What steps did you take? Give me an example of an employee you tried to motivate but could not. How far did you go with the employee? When did you decide your efforts were just not working?

Describe a time when an employees attitude was affecting the productivity of your work environment. What did you do to address this with the employee? Did they change their attitude? What do you do to encourage professional development and training with your employees? Do they take advantage of it? How has it benefited your organization?

Negotiation/Persuading Ability to effectively promote a product/idea. Recognises the needs of the other party. Ability to present a logical case or argument and via an understanding of the needs of the other person or party, pick those features and benefits most suited to the occasion. Possible Questions Please give an example of a time that you have sold an idea/ product by identifying a need of the person you are selling to? Describe the most recent time you presented a persuasive argument to another person Please describe the last sales call that you made? Give an example of when you adapted your sales approach to suit the person you were selling to? Please describe an issue you have negotiated in which the parties had a difficult time coming to agreement. Describe the nature of the disagreement, how you helped the parties work through the problems, and the end result. Describe a time when you "sold" a new idea to your Manager. Tell me about a time when you could not convert someone to your point of view? Tell me about the most difficult sales situation that you have ever encountered? Describe a time when you had to persuade someone to do something they did not want to do Organisational Awareness Desires to make an impact by using their understanding of the structures and culture of their environment. Working with formal and informal structures to achieve and exceed goals and targets. Possible Questions Describe the culture of your organisation and give an example of how you work within this culture to achieve a goal. Describe the things you consider and the steps you take in assessing the viability of a new idea or initiative. Tell me about a time when you used your knowledge of the organisation to get what you needed.

Organisational Commitment: Commitment to act in ways that promotes and supports the needs and goals of the organisation. Respects what the organisation defines as important. Makes choices and sets priorities to meet the needs of the organisation. Explains to clients etc the reason for departmental actions. Moves outside the boundaries of the job description if necessary to meet organisational and client needs. Willing to sacrifice departments short term good for the long term good of the organization Possible Questions: Describe a situation in which you identified a controversial issue within your organisation? How did you handle the situation? Tell me about a time when you had to defend an unpopular organizational situation. How did you handle it? Describe a time when you had to sacrifice your departments short term good for the longer term good of your organisation. How did you handle it?

Prioritisation/Planning:

Organise multiple assignments, sometimes of a complex nature or involving competing priorities, to produce work products that are accurate, thorough, and on time. Possible Questions: It is normal to have simultaneous work requests placed on you. Please describe a situation of this type that you have faced. Be specific about the nature and number of the requests, and how you prioritized them. Tell me about a situation where you had to face multiple demands or where priorities kept changing. How did you deal with that? Give an example of a time when you did not meet a deadline. How did you handle it? Are you better at working on many things at a time, or are you better at working on and getting results on a few specific things? Name one of your best accomplishments, including where the assignment came from, your plans in carrying it out, how you eventually did carry it out, and any obstacles you overcame. When was the last time that you had to take on extra work at short notice? How do you manage your own time and objectives? When was the last time that you had to work to a particularly tight deadline? How do you determine your priorities? How do you monitor the progress of projects or tasks? Tell me about a time when you had to do a number of things at the same time. How did you handle it? What was the result? How do you keep track of multiple projects? How do you track your progress to ensure you meet deadlines?

Problem Solving / Judgment Critical Analysis: Possesses analytical abilities, curiosity, creativity, business judgment, tolerance for ambiguity, and quantitative facility. Analyses problems. Considers all available information and anticipates wider impact of the outcome. Understands and interprets information quickly and accurately. Critically analyses issues and breaks them down into their component parts. Generates solutions or new ways of doing things in response to identified problems. Ability to rapidly assimilate information and differentiate between relevant and irrelevant information. Ability to acquire and manage complex information and to make decisions based on the effective analysis of the data. Challenges information, evaluates the consequences of different approaches. Possible questions: Tell me about a time when you had to identify the underlying cause of a problem. Describe a time when you saw an issue in a different way to someone else. Describe a time when you had to analyse a problem and generate a solution. Tell me about a situation where you had to solve a problem or make a decision that required careful thought. What did you do? Describe a situation in which you recognised a problem and then devised a solution to it. Explain the nature of the problem, the solution you devised, the most difficult obstacle to overcome in the process, and what you did to ensure the successful implementation of the solution. Describe a difficult problem that you had to solve. Describe a situation where you had to make a decision even though you did not have all of the important information. Describe the most complex problem or issue you have dealt with on the job. How did you arrive at the solution? Talk me through a time when you transferred learning from one situation to another in order to be more effective. How do you go about solving problems at work? Tell me about a specific time when you eliminated or avoided a potential problem before it happened.

Give me an example of an idea that you had for improving an existing process. What was your idea? How did you persuade others to implement it? What were the benefits? Give me a specific example of a time when you came up with an innovative solution to a challenge your company/class/organisation was facing. What was the challenge? What role did others play? How do you ensure that you are attuned to potential problems? Give examples. What sources of information do you use to keep aware of problems within your department?

Relationship Building/ Management Able to establish and maintain relationships with people at all levels. Builds effective working relationships both internally and externally, co-operates with others and gains their respect. Diplomatic handling of disagreements and potential conflict. Proactive in developing and maintaining positive relationships/partnerships with both external customers and colleagues. Builds credibility quickly Manages multiple working relationships Possible Questions Describe a situation in which you developed an effective win/win relationship with a client. How did you go about building the relationship? Tell me about a time when you relied on a contact in your network to help you with a work-related task or problem. Give me an example of a time when you deliberately attempted to build rapport with a co-worker or customer. Tell me about a time when youve worked on a project that required you to develop a positive working relationship with someone. Using examples, show me that you can adapt to a wide variety of situations, people and environments. Describe a time when you had to work with someone who had a negative opinion of you. How did you overcome this?

Resilience: Works to a consistently high standard when under pressure. Maintains effective work performance in the face of pressure, uncertainty and change. Ability to manage projects and to consistently deliver on agreed deadlines and standards. Overcomes obstacles or setbacks, which arise. Is flexible in accommodating unforeseen circumstances. Maintains consistent performance regardless of setbacks. Develops strategies for dealing with periods of increased activity and pressure. Maintains effective work performance in the face of pressure, uncertainty and change. Remains upbeat and calm. Can remain detached when making tough interpersonal decisions. Shows enthusiasm and energy. Possible Questions: Tell me about a time when your work or an idea was criticised. Tell me about a time when you felt under pressure. / Describe a situation where you were under a great deal of pressure. How did you handle it? Tell me about a time when you felt frustrated by your work. How do you motivate yourself? How do you manage uninteresting tasks? How do you pick yourself up after a bad experience? What flusters you when a deadline is approaching? How would you react if an extremely angry client or candidate phoned you demanding an answer to a problem that had been passed throughout the organisation for a number of weeks? What advice would you give to a colleague in a stressful situation? Can you describe a situation where you faced overwhelming odds yet succeeded? What odds did you face? How and why did you succeed?

Give an example of a situation where you knew you were right, but were being asked to abandon your position. What was the issue and the nature of the resistance? How did you attempt to overcome this resistance? What was the final outcome? Tell me about a time you had difficulty with a supervisor or instructor? How did you resolve it ? Describe a situation where you had to think on your feet to remove yourself from a difficult situation. Describe a time when you were faced with a problem that tested your coping skills. Tell me about a time where you conformed to a policy with which you did not agree. Tell me about a difficult situation you were in where you maintained a positive attitude. Constant pressure can affect everyone. Describe an incident where you did not handle pressure well. Does your current positions have cyclical periods when you are very busy and then quiet? How long do they last? What was it like during both periods of time? What would your manager say about your ability to handle pressure? What would they suggest you improve on? Describe a decision you made that was initially unpopular? How did you handle it?/ Describe a situation where you have had to defend a decision you made, even though it was unpopular Describe a time that illustrates your ability to "stick things out" in a difficult situation. Give me an example of a time when you were affected by organisational politics. How did you react?

Results Orientation: Translates strategy into meaningful objectives that demonstrate a clear understanding of what is required and that others can relate to. Rolls out strategies to maximise employee performance Co-ordinates resources and manages activities to achieve high standards Champions measurement on delivery of results Willing to take personal responsibility to initiate activities and drive objectives through to a conclusion. Possible Questions: Tell me about a time when you set and achieved a goal. Tell me about a time when you improved the way things were done on the job. Describe something you have done to improve the performance of your team. Describe a situation in your career in which a goal or objective was under threat. What was the specific goal? What were the obstacles in your path, and what specifically did you do to overcome them? Occasionally we are confronted by someone who wastes our time at work. Tell me about a situation like this.

Strategic Thinking: Takes a broad scale, long term view, assessing options and implications Comprehends basic goals and strategies developed by others and aligns own work accordingly Makes decisions, sets priorities or develops goals on the basis of future potential Possible Questions Describe a challenge or opportunity you identified based on your industry knowledge, and how you developed a strategy to respond to it. Describe a time you created a strategy to achieve a longer term business objective. Describe a time when you used your business knowledge to understand a specific business situation. Teamwork: Works collaboratively with others to achieve a common goal Seeks input from team members and listens to their viewpoints. Recognises when a compromise is needed for the greater good of the team Suggests methods for maximising the involvement of team members. Possible Questions Tell me about a time when you worked successfully as a member of a team. Describe a situation where you were successful in getting people to work together effectively.

Describe a situation in which you were a member (not a leader) of a team, and a conflict arose within the team. What did you do? Tell me about a time when you approached someone about their unacceptable behaviour? How did you tackle this? Please describe a situation in which you built a team. Explain the groups with which you worked, your common goal, the specific role you played in bringing everything together, and the outcome. Tell me how you guided a group of individuals with different agendas towards a common goal Tell me about a time when you coached someone to help them improve their performance. Give me an example of a time when you recognized that a member of your team had a performance difficulty? What did you do? Tell me about a time when you worked with someone who was difficult to get along with. Why were they difficult? How did you handle them? What tends to be your approach in working with a group? Tell me about a time when you persuaded others to follow your lead but in hindsight would have done things differently. What is your favourite role in a team? Tell me about a time you had to reach a compromise or guide others to a compromise. Getting team members to co-operate/take action can be difficult. Give an example of when you had to do that and what challenges you faced. What was the outcome? What was the long-term impact on your ability to work with this person? Tell me about a time when you were a member of a successful team. What were the characteristics of that team? What did you contribute? What factors do you think are important for the successful functioning of a team you have been a part of? Tell me about a situation where a team you belonged to did not work well? What did you do to try to improve the situation? Describe a time when you changed the way you were doing something due to someone elses suggestions. Give me an example of a situation in which you had to motivate others to achieve a goal. What do you see as the advantages and disadvantages of teamwork? Tell me about a time when you have convinced team members that they could achieve something more than they thought themselves capable of. Tell me about a time when you encouraged people within your team to improve their performance. How did you approach this? Describe a time when your team mates on a project disagreed with your ideas/suggestions. What did you do? Describe a time when someone you worked with was not doing their share. Who, if anyone, did you tell about it? Did the person you told take any steps to correct the person? Did you agree or disagree with the manager's actions? In a team leader role, have you ever had to approach someone about their behaviour? What steps did you take? How did that make you feel? How did you prepare yourself? Describe a time when you participated in an unsuccessful group, one that did not meet its objectives. What, if anything, could you have done differently? Describe a situation when you needed to brainstorm conflicting ideas in order to reach agreement. What did you do? What was the result? It can be difficult to get necessary information from other people. Tell me about a time when this has happened to you and what you did. Other peoples work priorities can conflict with ours. Describe a time when this happened to you? How did you approach the situation and what did you do? Working with others usually involves compromise. Describe a time when you reached a compromise with a team member.

Links to Information on Competency Interviews Alberta Government- Competencies- Developing competence in http://www.financialcareers.gov.ab.ca/competencies/ Alberta Public Service Competency Model http://www.pao.gov.ab.ca/learning/competencies/apscomp/aps-competencies.htm BC Assessment- Sample Question and Answer Competency Interview http://www.bcassessment.bc.ca/pdf/about/careers/selection_june_2005/how_to_prepare_for_interview.pdf Carnegie Mellon Human Resources http://hr.web.cmu.edu/forms/manags/InterviewQuestionsBehavioral.pdf Extrastaff: Comprehensive List of Competencies and Questions http://www.extrastaff.com.au/index.php?pid=12 Illinois Leadership- Emotional Competency Development Guidelineshttp://www.illinoisleadership.uiuc.edu/eci-u/cluster/cluster4.asp Kent University Sample Questions and Answers http://www.kent.ac.uk/careers/interviews/competencyinterviews.htm#MARKETING KPMG Competencies http://www.kpmg.co.uk/careers/eh/sa/kc.cfm Lloyds TSB- Comepetencies http://www.lloydstsbjobs.com/competencies.asp Michigan State University Competencies http://www.hr.msu.edu/CMShrsite/Templates/ContentPage.aspx?NRMODE=Published&NRORIGINALURL=%2fHRsite %2fHiringPostings%2fStaff%2fHiring%2fQuestions%2fInterview%2bQuestions%2ehtm&NRNODEGUID=%7bE571D34 5-6FDE-4F4A-95FD-8B94AB83807C%7d&NRCACHEHINT=NoModifyGuest#1 Microsoft Competencies http://1.1.1.1/263629452/262627312T060726115557.txt.binXMysM0dapplication/pdfXsysM0dhttp://www.itiep.org/Repo rts/MicrosoftCompetencies.pdf Monster- Competency Interviewing Positive and Negative Indicators in your answers http://content.legal.monster.co.uk/1341_en-GB_pf.asp Morgan Spencer Competency Based Interview Questions http://www.morganspencer.co.uk/shell/interview-questions.aspx Net-Temps.com : Sample Answer: Team Competency Question http://www.net-temps.com/careerdev/crossroads/index.htm?op=view&id=1831&newsletter_id=402&archive=1 New Zealand Public Service Chief Executives' Competencies http://www.ssc.govt.nz/display/document.asp?docid=4168&pageno=6 Public Works and Government Services Canada Behavioural Competency Dictionary http://www.solutions.gc.ca/oro-bgc/behav-comp/behav-comptb_e.asp

Top Employers Interview Questions and Answers http://www.topemployers.co.uk/downloads/TOPEMPLOYERS_INTERVIEW_QUESTIONS.pdf University of Melbourne Competency definitions http://www.hr.unimelb.edu.au/competencydefinitions05/ University of Michigan http://www.umich.edu/~hraa/empserv/deptinfo/basiccomp.htm University of Wellington- Competency Questions http://www.vuw.ac.nz/st_services/careers/job_hunting/behavioural_competency_interviews.html

Sample Interview Questions and Answers Ace the Interview Sample Questions and Answers http://www.acetheinterview.com/cgi-bin/qanda.cgi?action=topics&number=1 AC People: Interview Questions and Answers http://www.acpeople.com.au/interview/advice.asp Alpha Epsilon Pi Interview Questions and Answers http://www.aepi.org/resources/career/interview.html Boise State University: Sample Questions and questions to ask the interviewer. http://career.boisestate.edu/PracticeInterview-GraduateSchoolQuestions.htm Brain Teaser Questions and Answers: http://www.fastcompany.com/online/01/jobint.html College Grad: Sample Questions and Answers http://www.collegegrad.com/jobsearch/16-14.shtml Ferris State University: 50 sample questions you may be asked in an interview http://www.ferris.edu/HTMLS/OTHERSRV/Placement/recruiters.htm International Executive Search Questions and Answers http://www.international-executive-search.com/typical_interview_tips_questions.htm Interviewing Questions and Answers: http://www.interviewquestionsandanswers.com/job-interview-questions.php Interviews: Turn Your Weaknesses into Strengths: Doubt-resolving questions help interviewers determine whether you're right for the job. By Wetfeet http://www.wetfeet.com/asp/article.asp?aid=55&atype=Interviewing

Job Web- Interviewers' Favorite Questions...and Answers - By Barbara Mulligan http://www.jobweb.com/resources/library/Interviews/Interviewers_92_01.htm Monster.com Sample Interview http://interview.monster.com/virtualinterview/campus/ Mississippi State University has a list of hypothetical questions with tips and advice.

http://www.msstate.edu/dept/Coop/interview/favq.html OSU Careers Service Sample Questions and Answers http://www.hireosugrads.com/upload/cd_rr_g5.pdf Quintessential Careers: 109 sample interview questions and answers http://www.quintcareers.com/interview_question_database/interview_questions_database.html TechEngine.com Interview Questions and Answers http://www.tech-engine.com/candidates/careerguide_interviews/page07.asp http://www.uwm.edu/~ceil/career/jobs/interviewingquestions.html Tiscalijobs.com Interview Questions and Answers http://www.tiscali.co.uk/jobs/djinterview/2 Western State College of Colorado: Practice interview and sample answers. http://www.western.edu/career/Interview_virtual/Virtual_interview.htm

Web Guide to Interview Assistance Ten Executives Discuss What Theyre Looking for When They Interview Candidates. By Sherrie Gong Taguchi, WetFeet http://www.wetfeet.com/asp/article.asp?aid=509&atype=Interviewing Nine Things You Should Never Say in an Interview: By Jennifer Rae Atkins, WetFeet. http://www.wetfeet.com/asp/article.asp?aid=331&atype=Interviewing American Management Association: Five Traditional Interview Questions and Their Interpretations http://www.amanet.org/books/catalog/081447909X_ch.htm# Questions to ask the Interviewer Ace the Interview: Question the interviewer http://www.acetheinterview.com/qanda/quesforinterviewer.html Sample Interviews for specific Jobs Job Interview.Net Range of jobs covered- eg Accountancy, IT, Teaching etc http://www.job-interview.net/Bank/JobInterviewQuestions.htm