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eGraduate's The Interview Chalisa (http://egraduate.blogspot.com) Nerves before an interview is normal, but thorough preparation can minimise this.

%ontents
#. 9ast minute %hec!list '. Preparation in - points ). :andling the ;uestions a. Biographical ;uestions b. %ompetency ;uestions i. .*2$ strategy c. %ase,.tudy ;uestions d. .trength based 7nterviews e. *echnical ;uestions f. %ommercial 2wareness Handling the Questions
(.ummary)

Last Minute Checklist :


Be certain of date, time and location. Plan travel, aiming to arrive early. Plan outfit usually business dress. Prepare compulsory documents (hall tic!et, roll number etc.). "ind out all you can: interview length and format, interviewers.

Preparation in 4 steps :

#. $evisit your application/%&. '. $evisit the (ob/person specification. ). $esearch the employer and sector. *his isn+t a memory test of facts and figures , critically research. $eflect, relate what you discover to yourself and form opinions. -. Practice and prepare mentally. *hin! about the impact nerves have on you and anything you are li!ely to find particularly difficult. .ee! support, practice with friends.

Biographical /uestions : $evise %& and thin! about yourself in relation to the (ob. %ompetency /uestions : $eply with a .ituation as an e0ample, assigned tas!, your action 1
result obtained(.*2$). /uestions.

%ase study interviews : 3our ability to analyse the problem, identify the !ey issues 1 as! right .trength based interviews : 3ou body language 1 personality should reflect your attitude
towards the (ob.

*echnical /uestions : $evise your pro(ects. 2nd at least ' sub(ects preferably related to your

pro(ect (or of specific interest). 4emonstrate genuine interest 1 understanding, if from different field. %ommercial 2wareness : 2 !nowledge about company+s position in the mar!et 1 !nowledge of your sector. 5otivational /uestions : Be specific of your li!ings of that (ob 1 your enthusiasm about that organi6ation. (7n 4etail)

iographical !uestions

*he /uestions will be based on the information you provided in your application, such as choices you+ve made and wor! e0perience you have. 8very interview is li!ely to have some biographical /uestions, so always read through your application form or %& beforehand to predict /uestions that might arise from it. Be prepared to give information about yourself in more depth and try to remember at all times to thin! about yourself in relation to the (ob function and the employer. "or e0ample, if as!ed about your interests, emphasise those which give a positive indication of your suitability for the (ob, highlighting relevant s!ills or personal /ualities. *hin! in advance

about any relevant content li!e university pro(ects and also your most significant e0periences and achievements.

Co"petenc# !uestions
5any employers use /uestions to assess your s!ills (or competencies), based on past behaviour. *he employer has a list o$ co"petencies (read the advertised (ob description carefully<), usually between si0 and eight. "or e0ample, if one of the competencies is =the candidate should be innovative+, the related /uestions might be: *ell us about a time when you have ta!en a different approach or tried something new> ? @hat was the situation> ? :ow was your approach different> ? @hat was the outcome> ? 2nything you+d do differently ne0t time> "or any interview it is important to be aware of how you can use your e0periences to illustrate your s!ills, but in a competency,based interview it is vital that you have thought about your e0amples very thoroughly and in depth. 3ou will need one e0ample, or preferably two (from different aspects of your life and preferably ta!en from the last three years), to demonstrate each s!ill or competency, and your e0amples must stand up to detailed challenging /uestions. Bse the acronym .*2$ to structure your answer % ' %ituation Briefly give bac!ground to the situation T ' Task @hat was your (and team+s) purpose, tas! or responsibility ( ' (ction @hat did 3CB do and how did you do it> :ow did you identify and respond to problems or changes ) ' )esult @hat was the outcome: real facts and figures can be very persuasive. @hat were the reasons for your success and what did you learn> @ould you do it differently ne0t time> *he ability to reflect on the e0perience can ma!e the difference between a good answer and an e0cellent answer some /uestions as! for the reflection but it can be a good idea to add it anyway if the e0ample is appropriate. $eflection is usually about what you learned from an e0perience and how that changed your approach, behaviour or ideas afterwards.

Case stud# interviews

%ase studies are a series of /uestions centred on a hypothetical business problem or scenario and are used largely by consulting firms. "or e0ample: 7f interviewer as!s you to write a AwholeA pro(ect, obviously it can+t be done. .o actually your approach to the problem is being chec!ed. 5ost do not have a single right answer and the interviewer is more interested in your ability to analyse the problem, identify the !ey issues, and thin! through the conse/uences. *hey will also note whether you as! the right /uestions so do as! for further information, clarify and summarise as you go.

%trength &ased interviews


*he basis is that it everyone has natural strengths and it+s about identifying those strengths and matching to a role. =.trengths+ could be a little misleading as that sounds very much li!e competencies, =preferences+ might be a more useful word. *he theory is that wor!ing to those strengths means en(oying the role more and performing better. "or the recruiter, spotting strengths doesn+t come from the candidate tal!ing about e0amples of their past behaviour. 7nstead it comes from seeing the energy and enthusiasm of a candidate. 5ore conscious reading of body language, tone etc. although those have always had a huge impact. 3ou+re li!ely to have a broader range of /uestions at a faster pace. .ome personal reflection perhaps aided by personality tools might help.

Technical !uestions
9i!ely to be conducted by a manager from the function you+re applying to. *he /uestions will be specific to that area of wor!/(ob applied. 7f you cannot prepare whole of your engineering, then you should do at least ' ma(or sub(ects very thoroughly. *hey should generally &e related to the ones #ou did #our pro*ects in. 2lso sometimes su&*ects o$ general interest are mandatory. 9i!e a %. guy should !now at least one programming language + :owever, the term =technical+ is now used to cover any function and may not be related to your degree discipline. .o imagine you are applying for a 7* role in an %. company and you are an 8%8 graduate. 2 technical interview with that employer will be /uestions mostly relating to 7*, and not 8%8. 4on+t panicD if you didn+t need a %. degree to apply then they won+t e0pect you to be a %omputer scientist in the interview. @hat they will e0pect your answers to demonstrate is genuine interest, understanding and opinions.

Co""ercial awareness
&irtually all employers will e0pect you to demonstrate an understanding of and interest in their world. 2 common area candidates fall down on is commercial awarenessD it ta!es significant wor! , particularly if your degree is unrelated. 8ssentially this means !nowing a co"pan#,s position in the "arket place , having an insight into what is happening in the sector and the impact this could have on the organisation. "or public and charity sectors you will need to understand how those organisations run how they+re funded and what factors may impact on their operations.

The wider picture


3ou may be as!ed /uestions on a range of current affairs so be prepared to tal! about your opinions on a range of issues, particularly in relation to the impact on your chosen sector. 3ou may well be as!ed to defend a point of view, or be challenged on a particular issue. 4o not be afraid to disagree with the interviewer, or defend your view in a discussion. Having an opinion #ou can de$end is "ore i"pressive than agreeing &ut not &eing a&le to sa# wh#.

Motivation !uestions
2s well as the s!ills, e0perience and personal /ualities for the (ob, you will be (udged on your motivation for the (ob and the organisation. 5uch of an interview is about deciding i$ #ou would $it into the organisation+ 80pect to be as!ed about wh# #ou want the *o& and why you are applying to that particular organisation. :ere you should try to focus on showing a good match between what motivates you/ what you+re good at and what the organisation does, show that you have ideas about what you want to achieve and are !een to get started. 3our hopes and ambitions being a good match to what the employer hopes from you is much more convincing than simply reciting a catalogue of the employerAs virtues. ( little $latter#- with evidence that #ou have researched the co"pan#- never goes a"iss+ But be specificD don+t (ust say =because you+re the biggest+ without being able to e0plain why that is important to you. 4on+t be afraid to show your enthusiasm and to let the employer get to !now you. *al! about what you+ve found you+re good at, what you+ve found rewarding/ fascinating/ fun and how that relates to them. 7f you sound convinced of the match so will the interviewer, they will find the interview less tedious and they+ll imagine getting more from you because you really want to be there.

How #ou sa# it


%ommunicating persuasively has never been all about the facts you convey or even the e0act words you use. 7f you transcribed interviews it probably wouldn+t be the most articulate, fluent interviewee on paper who got through. 2ppearance, body language and voice all play a huge part is conveying your intelligence, confidence, passion and personality. 7n fact the first impressions are even before you spea!: how you enter the room, your smile, appropriate eye contact and a firm positive greeting. Cnce it+s made, maintaining the first impression is easier than changing it. *hroughout the interview (indeed whole visit if given a tour) spea! clearly, listen attentively maintaining good eye contact, and do not be afraid to as! for clarification if you do not understand the point the interviewer is ma!ing. 4on+t give one,word answersD ma!e the interview a conversation not an interrogation. 4o not hesitate to volunteer information if you feel it is relevant. Cn the other hand, don+t tal! non,stop. 7f you feel you have made your point wait for the interviewer to ma!e the ne0t move. :ave the confidence to as! =does that answer your /uestion+ if you+ve forgotten what the /uestion was or suspect you+ve wandered off topic.

%o"e t#pical !uestions


*ell me about yourself: ? @hat are your strengths/ wea!nesses> ? @hat e0perience has most influenced your development as an individual> ? @hat aspects of your course have you li!ed/disli!ed the most> ? @hat ma(or problems or disappointments have you encountered and how did you deal with them> ;uestions about your pro(ects, wor! e0perience, other activities: ? @hat did you learn from these> ? @hat did you contribute to them> ? @hat do you get out of them> %ompetencies: ? *ell me about a useful relationship you have built. ? *ell me about a problem you solved. 5otivation: ? @hy do you want to (oin this organisation> ? @hat would you be able to contribute to this organisation/type of wor!> ? where will you be in E years time> %ommercial/ current affairs: ? :ow do you thin! the merger with....will affect our high street image> ? @hat do you thin! the Bnited Nations should do about the situation in....> ? Pic! a company who have recently grown. @hat have they done well/ badly> @hat could our company do for them> Cther topics: ? ;uestions about geographical mobility 1 relocation. ? ;uestions about pay. ? ;uestions relating to another activity forming part of the day. "or e0ample, they may as! you opinion of the whole interview process. 3ou are usually as!ed if you have any /uestions at the end of the interview so it+s a good idea to have some prepared beforehand. Beware , it is usually easy for the employer to tell when someone has /uestions they don+t really need the answer to or aren+t interested in. "or that reason better /uestions may arise from what you+ve pic!ed up during the interview and

presentation/introductions. 7t shows you are ta!ing in new information and developing your interest, !nowledge and opinions. .ome typical /uestions you might as!: ? ;uestions about training and career patterns of recent graduate entrants. ? @hat the interviewer li!es about wor!ing in this organisation. 7f all your /uestions are answered during the interview, donAt be afraid to say so. *ell them that you had a particular /uestion in the starting but the answer was revealed in so and so way.

Tips $or telephone interviews


7t could be a short screening interview, chec!ing some facts from your application and your reasons for applying. Cr it could be as in,depth as a first face to face interview, so prepare as above. ? 3ou can have prompts of your competency e0amples to hand. ? Bias relating to physical appearance is removed, although some people still find it helps to dress smartly. ? 7n the absence of facial e0pression and body language you may have to wor! harder to convey interest and enthusiasm. ? 4on+t be thrown by lac! of feedbac! and encouragement, it can happen in any interview but is more noticeable on the telephone. ? &isual cues can tell you if your answers are on the right trac! so you+ll need to pause now and then to give the interviewer chance to interrupt. Cn the other hand if you are thin!ing about an answer you may need to let the interviewer !now you are still there< ? 4on+t eat or smo!e you wouldn+t in a face,to,face interview and telephones can amplify noise. ? 2lthough not seen, a smile and comfortable posture will impact on your an0iety levels, breathing and therefore your voice.