Enhancing Interviewing Skills – Training Manual

Northern Regional Committee The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. PRE-INTERVIEW PREPARATION............................................................................................. 4 MY BIGGEST PERSONAL CAREER GOAL DEVELOPMENT EXERCISE ....................................... 4 MY 30 SECOND RESUME........................................................................................................ 5 EMPLOYER & INDUSTRY APPRAISAL QUESTIONNAIRE.......................................................... 7 30 COMMON INTERVIEW QUESTIONS AND HOW TO ANSWER THEM................................. 8 QUESTIONS TO ASK THE INTERVIEWER............................................................................... 13 KEY ECONOMIC DATA SOURCES.......................................................................................... 14 HELPFUL WEBSITES.............................................................................................................. 15 GUIDE TO PROPER INTERVIEW ATTIRE................................................................................ 16 CHECK LIST FOR THE NIGHT BEFORE THE INTERVIEW ........................................................ 17 TEST...................................................................................................................................... 18 B. DURING THE INTERVIEW..................................................................................................... 19 INTERVIEW DO’S AND DON’TS ............................................................................................ 19 IN-INTERVIEW BODY LANGUAGE GUIDE ............................................................................. 20 C. CASE STUDIES ...................................................................................................................... 21 PREPARATION FOR AN INTERVIEW ..................................................................................... 21 AVAILABILITY FOR AN INTERVIEW....................................................................................... 21 D. ARTICLES ............................................................................................................................. 22 ACING THE BEHAVIORAL INTERVIEW .................................................................................. 22 10 TIPS TO BOOST YOUR INTERVIEW SKILLS ....................................................................... 25 INTERVIEW COMEDIAN CANDIDATES ................................................................................. 27

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PRE-INTERVIEW PREPARATION MY BIGGEST PERSONAL CAREER GOAL DEVELOPMENT EXERCISE A career is a journey to a destination. dates.” “I will become the Chairman of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Pakistan by 2030. numbers and percentages] “I will become the first Pakistani CFO of ABC Multinational Company by the age of 45 and will ensure that it has a 10% edge in profitability over its competitors in all countries of operation.” “I will start my accountancy firm in Singapore and will build it to in excess of USD 1.000 in revenues per year. Examples are given below.” “I will become a Vice President at ABCD Consulting within fifteen years and I will receive an Employee of the Year award there. I will… _____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ Examples: [Note the use of specifics such as job titles. People who know where they are going in life tend to be more focused.000. clear in their planning and precise in their execution.A. They are also more satisfied and attractive for an employer. 4 . durations. Start by writing a clear and specific goal stating the highest point you wish to achieve in your career.” Today’s Date: Sign Here: The above is your promise to yourself.

My achievements include _______ [unique. A _______ by education. An ACA by education. ________ [unique. Here are templates you can use. relevant strength #2] and _______ [unique. confident and convincing. Think of it as your personal advertisement. relevant achievement #3]. relevant strength #1]. relevant achievement #2] and _________ [unique. my career goal is to help ABC Company increase its profitability in Pakistan by 10% through the implementation of cost control measures based on zero based budgeting. There are many ways in which you can structure them. Remember to practice your 30-second resume with friends and others so that you sound natural. 30-second resumes are powerful tools for networking. I am thus looking for an Accounts Executive position at ABC. relevant achievement #1]. my career goal is to ________________________ [fit with employer based on your research]. Example 1 My name is Saira. I offer your organization my _____ [unique. my distinctions in Finance and Accounting and my A+ rating received from my supervisor while working at XYZ Consultants. My achievements include my two terms as the President of the Finance Club at my college. Within half a minute you are to describe what you can do for an employer and why they should hire you. I am thus looking for a _________________ [job title] position at your organization. Happy personal selling! Template 1 My name is _______.MY 30 SECOND RESUME A thirty-second resume is also known as an elevator pitch. excellent grasp over Peachtree and unmatched teamwork abilities. ______ [unique. 5 . I offer ABC Company my strong zero based budgeting skills. relevant strength #3]. personal branding and for use in preparing resumes as well as for performing well in interviews.

With _______ [title of last relevant degree] and __________ [certifications if any] I am looking to serve your organization in a _________________ [job title] capacity.Template 2 My name is _______. my publications in the LCCI newsletter on Cost Budgeting and my blog for aspiring Accounting and Finance professionals. My achievements include _______ [unique. relevant achievement #3]. I can help ABYZ Textiles save up to 15% in annual inventory costs using my cost budgeting skills. relevant achievement #2] and _________ [unique. 6 . ______ [unique. relevant strength #2] and _______ [unique. My achievements include my passing the ACA exams in the first attempt. With an ACA and SAP certifications I am looking to serve your organization in a Junior Finance Manager capacity. relevant strength #1]. relevant strength #3]. Example 2 My name is Arshad Kamal. prior shop floor costing work experience at ZXC Textiles and my strong forecasting abilities. relevant achievement #1]. ________ [unique. I can __________________________ [value you can add at the organization] using my _____ [unique.

In fact many employers will be impressed if you take the time to ask them. You also save yourself many troubles later on by avoiding those employers who do not match your needs. How much autonomy is given to employees in terms of decision-making ability? 15. What physical facilities and environment does the organization offer to its employees? 11. How are performance evaluations carried out? 16. What will you get to learn from your work at the organization? 25. By doing your research & being selective you demonstrate to the employer that you are a serious candidate. What professional etiquette do the current employees display? 18. 7 . You should assess every potential employer before you choose one. job descriptions and roles/responsibilities assigned to employees in the career path you wish to pursue? 4. What is a typical workweek like? 29. What is the culture of the organization like? 9. What is the average turnover rate and what are the reasons behind it? 14. What career paths does the organization offer in the area of your interest? 3. Here are some questions to think about and ask before you apply: 1. What is the history of the organization? 7. What training and development opportunities are available to employees? 12. Are there any discrimination issues or cases of unfair management practices? 23. How does the organization demonstrate that it values its employees? 26. What does it take to succeed and grow in the organization? 10. What are the salary scales. Who are the key individuals working for the organization? What are their qualifications and competencies? 6. How secure do current employees feel in their jobs? 13. How much paid vacation time is given to employees? 19. What is the dress code in the organization? 17. What are the mission.EMPLOYER & INDUSTRY APPRAISAL QUESTIONNAIRE Not every company or employer is the right one for you. What happens when employees make mistakes? 28. What are the working hours of current employees? 20. Do employees demonstrate teamwork? 21. Are employees recognized for their performance? How? 24. Why do employees work for the organization? Remember there is no one stopping you from asking these questions before you apply. vision and core values of the organization? 2. What are the job titles. What is the outlook for the industry the organization operates in? 8. benefits and incentives offered by the organization? 5. How is the organization informally divided into groups? 22. What are the unspoken rules? 27.

” 4. Do you believe that you have achieved success / how would you know that you are successful? Review the job description and state measures of success given therein. my publications in the LCCI newsletter on Cost Budgeting and my blog for aspiring Accounting and Finance professionals. My achievements include my clearing the ACA exams in the first attempt. “My name is Arshad Kamal. “My career goal is to become the lead cost budgeting specialist in the country. Please tell us about yourself.” 2. My strengths in cost budgeting and forecasting will give ABYZ the opportunity to save 15% in inventory costs while allowing me to use my abilities to the maximum. With an ACA and SAP certifications I am looking to serve your organization in a Junior Finance Manager capacity. “ABYZ Textiles has a need to streamline its inventory management processes and derive cost savings.” 5. my articles completed at SFDD Firm and my passion for making ABYZ Textiles the most profitable textile mill in Pakistan qualify me for this position. prior shop floor costing work experience at ZXC Textiles and my strong forecasting abilities. What are your career goals? Use the career goal you have developed in the exercise given in this manual. Why have you applied for this job? Talk about what you aim to do for the employer and how that fits into your career goal. I can help ABYZ Textiles save up to 15% in annual inventory costs using my cost budgeting skills.30 COMMON INTERVIEW QUESTIONS AND HOW TO ANSWER THEM 1.” 3. “My ACA. Demonstrate your passion to work for the organization in question in the role for which you are applying.” 8 . “I will consider myself successful when ABYZ Textiles saves 15% or more in annual inventory costs due to my efforts. What qualifies you for this position? State relevant academic background and achievements. Use your 30-second resume here.

cash flow analysis all of which will be extremely helpful in helping ABYZ save inventory costs.” 11. “I know that ABYZ is the leader in the bed-sheets category. 10. Where do you see yourself in 5. courses and projects. which match the most pressing needs of the employer. that you find most appealing. strategic in thinking and that my IT skills are excellent. Since the production of bedsheets is heavily dependent on large inventory stockpiles ABYZ has for the last three years now been trying to improve its inventory financing methods and models. What are you looking for in an employer? Answer with the strengths of the employer. 20 years? Instead of talking about job titles state the value you wish to be adding to an organization and to the finance/accounting community. I am here to help move these efforts in a new direction and achieve 15% or more cost savings. What do people who know you say about you? Find keywords from the job description that match you.” 9 . “I am looking for an employer who has a strong brand reputation in the local and international markets and who is looking to increase revenues through better inventory management like ABYZ Textiles. “I chose it because I have excellent quantitative skills and forecasting abilities and this career allows me to use my strengths for the benefits of my country’s industry.6. Why did you choose this career? Passionately answer about the reasons for your choice. “People who know me say that I am good with numbers.” 7. 15. where you are being interviewed. “I learned cost budgeting. talk about their problems and goals which are the bases for this vacancy and how you can fill their gaps. inventory management. What do you know about this job or about our organization? Demonstrate that you have done your research.” 9. What did you learn from your last degree? Talk about the topics.” 10.” 8. “I see myself helping lead Pakistani textile sector’s global cost competitiveness through better cost management.

12. extra curricular activities. Your employer appraisal will also help you in understanding the work culture of the organization. community projects and travels if any. Tell them what is unique about you and how that strength can help them fix their problems or achieve their goals.” 14. Where else have you applied and why? Mention a maximum of two other names. and participation in seminars. I regularly attend career development workshops offered by ICAP and I manage my personal Finance blog. What have you done to improve yourself within the last two years? Talk about your studies.” 16. you trust the employer to give you a market competitive package and that you are interested more in learning and in making a positive contribution to the employer. What salary are you looking for? Say that you are flexible. Why should we hire you? In a couple of sentences give them your unique selling proposition.” 17. if applicable. which are relevant to the job. Use your 30-second resume for guidance. workshops. past relevant work projects. How long do you plan on working for our organization? Say you have no current intention to switch because you have done your research and your assessment of the employer is positive. “I have no current intentions to leave as I have researched ABYZ well and I have selected it carefully. What is your approach towards work? Find keywords from the job description. Make sure you mention only those. deadline conscious and I work well in a diverse team. “The opportunity to improve global competitiveness for ABYZ is more important than money but at the same time I trust ABYZ will live up to its market reputation and offer me a market competitive package.” 13. “I have volunteered for managing the finances at my local community club. “I have applied at Nibr Industries and Trans-textiles but ABYZ is my first priority because of its match with my expertise and due to its strong commitment towards cost management for global export leadership. but quickly revert to the employer where you are being interviewed and talk about their strengths and your passion for working with them.” 15. “I am meticulous. “Because better budgeting for inventory management is a potential area of improvement for ABYZ and my unique combination of strong academics background and prior work 10 .

My excellent academic record demonstrates my knowledge and skills which will help me save 15% costs for ABYZ. What kind of people do you enjoy working with? Use your employer appraisal to answer this question. which demonstrates my ability to make strategic financial decisions. What motivates you? Be clear and specific about what does. I can help ABYZ save 15% of annual inventory costs or roughly more than 10 million rupees in the first two years alone.” 25.” 19. don’t badmouth other people.experience in the area make me the best candidate for this position.” 23.” 21. “I received a distinction in Cost Accounting. “The opportunity to add to organizational knowledge.” 24. 11 . Who was the worst boss you have ever had? How did you deal with him/her? Never badmouth anyone in an interview.” 20. “I was the treasurer of the Student Drama Club. “This is my dream job as it will allow me to utilize my strengths in Cost Accounting.” 18. What are your strengths and weaknesses? Mention relevant strengths and irrelevant weaknesses.” 22. the chance to help team members learn and trust in my abilities which encourages me to innovate. What are/were your extracurricular activities? State your relevant achievements and highlight the strengths they demonstrate. What irritates you about other people? Again. “I enjoy working with all kinds of people. “My strengths are my strong cost budgeting skills and my weakness has always been History. What is your dream job or what are you looking for in a job? The job that you are applying for should be [to the employer] your dream job. “I have fortunately always had the best superiors who have mentored me for success. To the employer you must love working with the kind of people who work at the organization where you are applying. What are your achievements and why do you value them? State your relevant achievements and relate them to the needs of the employer.

Good questions to ask are given in the section below. “Yes but only 50% of the time.” 29.” 26.000. Use the SOARA [situation.“I know that ABYZ hires only dedicated and innovative people. Behavior Based Questions such as: What has been your biggest failure and what did you learn from it? What have been your biggest responsibilities and how did you deal with them? What are the most difficult decisions you have made so far and why? Have an incident ready from your past. 5 million. 12 .750.” 28. “Although my work is my best reference I do know the Chief Marketing Officer at ABYZ and she can vouch for my abilities. Can you give anybody’s reference? Be careful in terms of giving references. Our objective was to save 10% in inventory costs. “Some one who guides me and gives me the opportunity to learn by doing. Also keep in mind whether your referee is well liked or not.” 27. action. objectives. Would you be willing to relocate or travel? Be honest. others don’t. Do you have any questions for us? Definitely ask questions. Behavior based questions often flow from keywords given in the job description. Know your limitations. “My biggest responsibility was managing the production budget for ZXC Textile which was to the tune of Rs. aftermath] approach for answering them. As a result the company gained over Rs. results.” 30. What qualities do you look for in a boss? Your boss is your portal for learning. Those are the kind of individuals I love to work with. Some organizations like them. I eliminated budget redundancies and saved 12% in the first year.

Here are some good questions you can ask your interviewer at the end of an interview when given the opportunity. 2. 7. 4. 2. 3. 3.QUESTIONS TO ASK THE INTERVIEWER Asking questions demonstrates that you can think. 7. 5. 5. How is exceptional performance rewarded at your organization? What learning and development opportunities will I get? What will be my three biggest goals for the first year? How can I help my immediate supervisor achieve his or her goals? What is the biggest headache I can take away from my supervisor? What is the culture at your organization like? Why do you enjoy working here? Bad Ones 1. 4. Good Ones 1. that you are serious about your career and wise in making decisions. What perks will I get? How many leaves will I get? Will I have to come in at 9 am every single day? What does your company do? Will I have to dress up formally? I hope the workload here is not too much. 6. is it? When was your organization started? 13 . 6.

KEY ECONOMIC DATA SOURCES Updated information is available at the following sites. fiscal and monetary policies as well as sector studies. Please check them when preparing for your interviews. 3.gov. Government of Pakistan http://www.org.html Read year by year annual plans which include goals for the years along with details of timelines and financial and other resources.gov. 1.finance. population welfare and prices amongst many others.gov. 14 . Planning Commission. Annual Plan 2011-12. economic and social indicators and much more. Pakistan Economic Survey 2009-10.pk/reports/annual/index. national accounts. growth and investment.html Find detailed information on the state of the economy. Annual Report 2010-11 [State of the Economy]. State Bank of Pakistan http://www. the labor force. 2.pc.pbs.htm Go through year by year annual reports which look at aggregrate data such as supply.pk/survey_0910. demand. Ministry of Finance http://www. Pakistan Bureau of Statistics http://www. 4.pk/Annual%20Plans.sbp. inflation.pk This houses extensive sets of statistics on foreign trade. social and living standards.

http://www. http://jobs. http://jobs.pk 7.secp.co.usnews. http://www.efinancialcareers-gulf. http://www. http://www.htm 13.monster.hays.gulfjobsmarket. http://www.gov.pk/ 9.aspx 6.com/money/careers 3. http://my.org.uk/jobs/finance-and-accounting/middle-east/ 15.html 11.HELPFUL WEBSITES 1.com/Career-Management/Landing.com/ 10.com/accountant-jobs.uk/job/accountancy-finance-jobs/index.com/Accounting_Finance/Middle_East_&_Africa.com 4.html 14.com/careers/ 5.rozee.ae/enhance-your-career/accountancy-finance-jobs/index.pk 8.linkedin. http://www.icap.com/en/pakistan/ 12.co.efinancialcareers.gulftalent.bayt. http://www.hays.htm 2. http://www.com/home/jobs-in-Accounting-Audit-1. http://money.htm 15 . http://www. http://www.guardian. http://www.about.

Avoid colors like pink. Remove all forms of jewelry 14. Choose conservative nail polish colors 11. 9. You should not make noise when you walk. Below are some good rules to play by: Men Women 1. Clean your accessories with a wipe 15. Wear a watch which is not flashy 14. which matches the color of your shoes. peach & green 4. Remove excess facial hair. How you look is an important part in your selection process. Put on dark socks 8. Make sure your hair is not a distraction for you or for your interviewer 8. Wear a conservative watch 1. 12. if needed 6. Match it with your shoes. Avoid excessive make up 4. Choose conservative colors in the blue. A black leather belt with a conservative buckle is best. grey family. Wear a white or light blue full sleeves shirt 7. Cut down on the jewelry. give you height and which match your clothes 7. Make sure your clothes. Shave well. Keep yourself warm in the winter.GUIDE TO PROPER INTERVIEW ATTIRE Some people believe that the first 15 seconds in an interview seal your fate. 3. Find a pair of shoes which are comfortable. Wear a belt. Smell nice. 10. Choose makeup colors which are conservative 5. Choose a medium width silk tie with small patterns 11. 13. especially cotton clothes are well pressed 3. Make sure all clothes are clean 5. Your nails should be clean and of medium to short length 10. Wear a two piece suit 2. Get a professional haircut. Choose the right conservative fit for your clothes 13. choose clothes appropriately 16 . Wear black comfortable shoes with laces 9. Wear a shalwar kameez in conservative colors which match the weather 2. Carry a small purse if you need to. but do not apply too much cologne 15. Press your clothes so that they have one crease only. Do not wear excess perfume 6. 12.

resume and I know my unique selling proposition I have been through mock interviews I have packed all my relevant original transcripts I have set multiple alarms for the morning I believe I can do this! 17 .CHECK LIST FOR THE NIGHT BEFORE THE INTERVIEW I have thoroughly researched the organization and industry My resume and covering letter are updated and neatly printed out My clothes are ready and pressed I know the directions to the place of the interview I have practiced my 30 sec.

What are the mission. Has the organization been in the news recently? For what? 8. What are the major trends in the industry / sector in which the organization operates? 7. What does the organization do for its customers? 3. What are the ten most important keywords from the job ad or job description? 6. Why are they hiring for this position? 5. vision and core values of the organization? 2. What is the organization’s unique competitive advantage? 4.TEST To test your preparation for the interview answer the following questions: 1. What can you do for them to help the organization make or save money or provide an internal or external service? 18 .

Be unsure about which position you are interested in 14. be confident and offer firm handshakes 5. Slouch or fiddle 16. Do accept tea. Act professionally 17. Write a thank you letter the same day 16. Listen carefully 6. Bring up sensitive topics like politics or religion 19. coffee or juice if offered 11. Smile. Chew gum 8. Pause and think before you answer 19. Be nice to everyone at the organization 4. Maintain good eye contact with all interviewers 14. Bring along spare copies of your resume 20. Be negative 5. Use ‘ahhh’ and ‘umm’s 20. DURING THE INTERVIEW INTERVIEW DO’S AND DON’TS Do’s Don’ts 1. Arrive 20 minutes early 3. Sit up. Take friends and family with you 7. Treat the interview or interviewer as if they are not important 2. Use flattery 19 . Demonstrate that you have a clear career plan 18. Be arrogant 9. Crack rude or vulgar jokes 18. Sell yourself with complete faith 1. Talk about your personal life and problems 17. Seem desperate 4.B. Be likeable 12. Remember the interviewer’s name and use it 13. Give excuses for pas t failures 12. Observe the workplace for cues 9. Ask the interviewer to repeat a question if you don’t understand it 15. Be thoroughly prepared 2. Come across as greedy 3. Talk endlessly without understanding what is being asked 10. Take calls during the interview or keep your phone on loud 6. Lie 13. Be passionate about your career 10. Drop names 11. maintain stable and correct posture 7. Smoke before or during the interview 15. State the truth and be yourself 8.

Don’t touch your face Pictures Sources: http://sanjeevnanda.com/category/career/interview/ http://www. Don’t cross your arms or legs 6. Plant both feet solidly on the ground 3.IN-INTERVIEW BODY LANGUAGE GUIDE Remember these simple tips which will give you confidence and leave a good impression: 1.com/?p=11778 http://www. Maintain good eye contact 5.wordpress.net/cast/matt-little 20 . Sit with your lower back straight and firmly fixed with the chair 2.karatebyjesse.thankyourobot. Keep your chin up & shoulders back 4.

The next question was about her strengths and weaknesses. Their department badly needed interns to cope with the seasonal boom in work. She was immediately showed in. Maybe she was having a bad day.” Arsalan felt happy that now he could enjoy the wedding without having to worry about the interview. Yasin and Abid listened patiently. CASE STUDIES PREPARATION FOR AN INTERVIEW Yasin and Abid were conducting interviews for an internship position. Ten candidates were scheduled to come in at 12 noon. Right after his exams he had gone to Kaghan with his friends for a much needed break.45 am to make sure that everything was set up. as on paper she seemed to be a bright girl. She asked.” The interviewers asked her if she had any questions for them. Did Arsalan do the right thing? Do you think the HR Manager will call back? 21 . moving on to her family and ended 7 minutes later with her pet cats. He decided to reply to the email and tell the company that he would be available for an interview the following week because he had his cousin’s wedding coming up. which he had left behind. Both made their way to the conference room at 11. When he checked his email after a week he saw an interview call from his dream employer. His cell phone. also had several missed calls from a new number.30 pm the first candidate showed up. “It did something in the oil and gas sector”.C. “Will I have to do a lot of work here?” What mistakes did the candidate make? Do you think she got hired? AVAILABILITY FOR AN INTERVIEW The last week had been fun for Arsalan. The HR manager said that “That they would get back to him. She said that her weakness was that “She could not concentrate for very long and that her strength was that she liked sleeping a lot. When they asked her what she knew about the company she said. At 12. When asked to tell the interviewers about herself she started with her troubled childhood.

"Tell me about a time when . and it can be a challenging experience. an interviewer might ask candidates to recount past experiences where they explained new plans that brought a team together." or "Describe a situation in which . By Jeanne Knight. you could lose out if you can't validate them with relevant anecdotes." While your skills and experiences could be a perfect match for the position." This statement is the premise behind behavioral interviewing. " or "Give me an example of .. For example.. 22 ." "What are your strengths and weaknesses?" "Why do you want to work for this company?" By contrast. an interviewing technique created in the 1970s by industrial psychologists. Source: The Ladders.D. if a job requires strong communication and team-building skills.. This style of interview is becoming popular with employers.. You're likely to face the technique on job interviews and you should be prepared to confront it the right way.. Traditional interviewing calls upon the candidate to state opinions: "Tell me about yourself. ARTICLES ACING THE BEHAVIORAL INTERVIEW Have a story for every skill.. behavioral interviewing requires job candidates to relate stories about how they handled challenges related to the skill sets the company requires for the position.com "The most accurate predictor of future performance is past performance in a similar situation. Behavioral interview questions often start with phrases like.

• Give me an example of a time when you had to be quick in coming to a decision. • Describe a time you had to use written communication to convey an important argument or idea. Decision Making and Problem Solving • Describe a situation in which you used good judgment and logic to solve a problem. Leadership • Have you ever had trouble getting others to agree with your ideas? How did you deal with the situation. what the result was and how you managed it. Interpersonal Skills • Give me examples of what you've done in the past to nurture teamwork. Your stories should be detailed yet succinct. and were you successful? • Describe the most challenging group from which you've had to gain cooperation. • Give me an example of a situation in which you positively influenced the actions of others. look back on your past experiences and develop stories to answer those questions. Motivation • Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond the call of duty. Here are a few examples of skill sets and some behaviorally focused interview questions aimed at surfacing them. what method do you use to decide which items are priorities? • Describe how you've handled a sudden interruption to your schedule. and they should always include the following three elements: 23 . think about the sorts of behavioral questions an interviewer might ask to determine those skills. Planning and Organization • When scheduling your time. Communication • Describe a situation in which you were able to communicate with another individual who did not personally like you (or vice versa). take the time to review thoroughly the job description and research the company and its culture. you'll want to put yourself in the shoes of the employer and imagine what the ideal candidate for the position would answer from the interviewer's perspective. Then. Once you've determined which behavioral-based questions you might be asked during an interview. • Give an example of an unpopular decision you've made. Look for cues about skills necessary for the job and valued by the organization.So how do you prepare for a behavioral interview? First. Next.

3. I researched alternatives to the effective. and decreased costs by 50 percent. and tell me how you achieved it. A summary of the results of those actions. real-life situation or challenge you encountered. As program director. (Try to quantify these results whenever possible. to 80.1.000 residents of our service region. which was produced and distributed biannually to about 60. we faced the daunting goal of drastically reducing our promotional budget without sacrificing our media presence in the community. I was able to negotiate with two local newspapers to produce and distribute a new course brochure that increased distribution by 33 percent. course brochure.000 residents.) Here is a sample answer to a behavioral interview question that incorporates each of these elements. yet costly. Question: Give an example of a goal you reached. A description of the specific tasks and actions you took to overcome that challenge. 24 . Answer: Due to cuts in funding to our adult continuing education program. Familiarizing yourself with the behavioral interview style. 2. crafting and practicing your stories and doing some homework on the position you seek will ensure that you won't be caught off guard should you encounter a behavioral interview. A description of a specific.

25 . Your level of familiarity should mimic the interviewer's demeanor. and match that style and pace. but do not overstep your place as a candidate looking for a job.10 TIPS TO BOOST YOUR INTERVIEW SKILLS By Carole Martin. your interviewer is giving you information. It is important to know what to wear to an interview and to be well groomed. Why. Good communication skills include listening and letting the person know you heard what was said. This is not about making a new friend. So study these 10 strategies to enhance your interview skills. Practice Good Nonverbal Communication It's about demonstrating confidence: standing straight. If you are not hearing it. Listen From the very beginning of the interview. matching your skills with the position's requirements and relating only that information. you ask? Interviewing is a learned skill. you may ramble when answering interview questions.to your interview. sometimes talking yourself right out of the job. making eye contact and connecting with a good. call to find out about the company dress code before the interview. Dress for the Job or Company Today's casual dress codes do not give you permission to dress as "they" do when you interview. That first nonverbal impression can be a great beginning -. Don't Be Too Familiar The interview is a professional meeting to talk business. It is important to bring energy and enthusiasm to the interview and to ask questions. Whether you wear a suit or something less formal depends on the company culture and the position you are seeking. firm handshake. Prepare for the interview by reading through the job posting. Observe your interviewer. and there are no second chances to make a great first impression. you are missing a major opportunity. either directly or indirectly.or quick ending -. Don't Talk Too Much Telling the interviewer more than he needs to know could be a fatal mistake. When you have not prepared ahead of time. If possible.com Even the smartest and most qualified job seekers need to prepare for job interviews. Monster Contributing Writer Source: Monster.

they are asking behavioral interview questions. which are designed to elicit a sample of your past behavior. Maintain the three Cs during the interview: cool." Wrong answer. politics or sexual orientation -these topics could send you out the door very quickly. Don't Be Cocky Attitude plays a key role in your interview success. as being too reserved. You know you can do the job. if not worse.Use Appropriate Language It's a given that you should use professional language during the interview. The best questions come from listening to what you're asked during the interview and asking for additional information. Ask Questions When asked if they have any questions. overconfidence is as bad. most candidates answer. Be aware of any inappropriate slang words or references to age. calm and confident. Part of knowing how to interview is being ready to ask questions that demonstrate an interest in what goes on in the company. professionalism and modesty. you not only don't answer the question. but you also miss an opportunity to prove your ability and talk about your skills. Even if you're putting on a performance to demonstrate your ability. If you fail to relate a specific example. too. 26 . Don't Appear Desperate When you interview with the "please. make sure the interviewer believes you can. Take Care to Answer the Questions When interviewers ask for an example of a time when you did something. race. religion. There is a fine balance between confidence. "No. please hire me" approach. Asking questions also gives you the opportunity to find out if this is the right place for you. you appear desperate and less confident.

He replied. I had a guy look at answer. I drove myself. he didn't get hired. I guess you could say he was recycling metal from along the highway." Next! Quite the Rap Sheet In reference to the employment application question. "Using scissors and glue. "If I study real hard. He called me back 10 minutes later and said. can I come back in two weeks and take the test again?" Do You Mean That Literally? One of the questions we ask when interviewing someone is. and said. here are some unexpected (and amusing) answers given by candidates during the interview process. He turned over the application to see if there was more room to write on the back. Well. Technically. the interviewee was arrested for stealing tractors. "What brought you to our company?" By this we mean motivation. We were trying to gauge his knowledge of the software. please state the circumstances. Needless to say. Putting the Right Spin on Experience Interview question: "Have you had any jobs since high school?" Answer: "I recycle metal I find along the highway. I asked her what she thought her qualifications were for this position. Monster Contributing Writer Source: Monster. "Have you ever been convicted of a felony? If so." That's Not the Kind of Material We Mean A little old lady came in one time to apply for an ad we had run for a material handler." Two days later. She responded that she had been sewing for 40 years! Ever Heard of a Computer? We recently asked an applicant to give us an example of how he would cut and paste something in MS Word. We couldn't have made these up if we tried. 27 . "You only want the felonies?" This was for a banking position. and me "Oh." an applicant looked puzzled.INTERVIEW COMEDIAN CANDIDATES Amusing Anecdotes from the Field By Roberta Chinsky Matuson. Good Student I recently needed to call an applicant to inform him he was not eligible for employment with us because his drug test was positive.com You say you've heard it all.

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