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Preparation for Interviews Guidelines And Tips
The interview is a bilateral conversation between the candidate and the employer to see if there is a fit between the candidate and the organization.
Purpose of the Interview For the candidate:
• Sell your strengths, skills and experience; • Learn as much as you can about the position and employer to check if it meets your ca-
• Convince the recruiter that you should be the candidate accepted - you are a good fit
with the organization; For the interviewer:
• To confirm his/her impressions after reading the candidate’s CV and Cover Letter; • To assess the candidate’s profile in comparison with the job requirements; • To gather information in order to decide which candidate will be recruited;
What are the employers looking for? Employers are looking for critical skills and competencies, such as:
• • • • • • • •
Confidence (assertiveness; initiative; persistency; results’ orientation); Communication skills (written and verbal); Organizational skills (meeting goals; establishing priorities; leadership, multitasking); Analytical / Problem Solving skills; Team Player skills; Time management skills; Stress management skills; Drive / Motivation / Enthusiasm;
Use online search engines. Visit their website. skills.. • PRACTICE • Know the exact place and time of the interview.. Use online databases. • Refresh your memory about the facts and figures of your former work experience / internships.TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL INTERVIEW Preparing for the Interview The single biggest mistake candidates make is lack of adequate preparation. Advantages of preparing for an interview: To improve your argumentation ability. 3 . • Study carefully the job advertisement.Key players.Find out specific facts about the company — Where are its offices. • Stalk out the location beforehand and check the path and the time to get there. . Speak with current employees. To increase the probability of success.What are your accomplishments. goals. Use your network. the interviewer’s full name and his/ her title. regional headquarters? What are its products and services? Who are its main competitors? Where has its growth been? What are its major challenges? How to research: Read everything you can about the organization. experiences and courses attended that best match the organization's needs. • Anticipate likely questions and train your answers . Before the Interview. To be confident and control nervousness. • Prepare questions you will ask during the interview. You must have done your research and be able to articulate clearly what your skills are and how you can contribute to the interviewer’s organization. • Research the industry . • Research the organization . • Read your CV. The employer will try to determine through your questions the level of interest/motivation you have in his/her company and what your concerns about joining them are. you need to: • Research yourself . factories.You should promote you best selling points and talk about yourself in a positive way.
shave. Wear sober makeup and jewelry (women). Mirror the interviewer’s body language to the extent that you’re comfortable. • Pen and paper. Pay attention to the questions.Generally it takes most people two minutes • • • • • • • • to form their first impression. Answer in a genuine and honest manner. Be prepared for challenging or embarrassing questions that the interviewer may ask you to observe your response to stressful situations. Avoid signs of tension and nervousness. Pause and think before you answer. ask the interviewer to repeat or clarify it. Show self-confidence. • Remember first impression counts . Be in your “interview mode” as soon as you arrive and be nice to everyone. 4 . Be sure your shoes are polished and appropriate. Sit upright and talk with enthusiasm. Remember to bring: • Extra copies of your CV. Dress conservatively and professional . Be prepared and be yourself. Pay attention to your grooming — haircut and hairstyle.On the Interview Day • Arrive 10 minutes early and don’t get mad if they are behind schedule. Show a pleasant. Introduce yourself clearly. don’t rush to answer before the end of the question.Avoid bright colors. educated and natural appearance. Give concrete examples. greet the interviewer and establish good eye • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • contact during the introduction and throughout the interview. Avoid words or expressions meaning doubt or indecision. aftershave / perfume in moderation.Make sure that your good points get across to the interviewer. If you don’t understand a question. Proper knot tie (men). Listen for cues from the interviewer. shake hands firmly. Focus on your strengths . cleaned and cut nails. During the Interview Do’s • Smile. Turn off your mobile phone. • Copies of your transcript. • Calculator (especially for Finance or Consulting interviews). Be objective and answer with determination. It’s normal to be a little nervous.
After the Interview • • Follow up during the appropriate time frame if you have not heard from them. Always conduct yourself as if you are determined to get the job. Monosyllabic answers. • • • • • • • • • arrogant. • When leaving the interview room. bored or by enquiring about salary/holidays/bonuses at the initial interview. Don’t over-answer questions. Try to answer the questions as honestly and as briefly as possible. At the end of the Interview • Take the chance to clarify any aspect about yourself and your experience that you feel you didn’t explain well. and steer the conversation back to your skills and experience. Don’t sit down before you are invited to do so.e. • Confirm your interest in the job and make sure you know the next steps i. Don’t chew gun. 5 . Feel free to take notes — it shows your interest in the company. inform the interviewer. Don’t use jargon. Don’t lie. Don’t overuse clichés like “I am a workaholic”. when you should expect a decision. Don’t cut the interviewer’s speech. If you are not chosen for the next round of the recruitment process. • If you have any time restriction for the next steps of the recruitment process. how it will be communicated to you. thank the interviewer and give him/her a firm handshake. Don’t make negative comments about former companies you’ve worked with. Ask intelligent questions. • Don’t project an attitude of “what can you do for me?” by appearing aggressive. Remember to ask for the interviewer’s business card.• • • • • Keep your answers short. superior. ask for feedback (what you did right and what you should improve). Don’ts • Don't worry if you need some seconds to prepare your answer. The interviewer may steer the conversation into uncomfortable areas that are personal or political. etc.
varying pace and intonation when appropriate and make an extra effort to articulate. .Stay in the frame. .Speak slowly and project your voice clearly using short and structured statements with frequent pauses.Speak clearly. avoid exaggerated movements and look at the camera. • Group Interview . • Phone interview .traditional one-to-one interview.Keep notes in view. (practice leads to perfection!) 6 .Forms of Interview • Face-to-face . . An increasing number of companies are conducting interviews by telephone or videoconference.Prepare as you would for a face-to-face interview and dress for the interview as this will help you to be in the “interviewing mode”.Used by recruiters as a pre-screening exercise for decisions on invitations to first round of interviews. . You need to be just as well prepared as when you are physically meeting your interviewer and there are some additional points to bear in mind: • Video Conference .Always dress appropriately. .It can be with a panel of multiple interviewers asking questions or you could be answering questions with a group of candidates.
School of Business and Economics? • What led you to choose your Masters? • How has university prepared you for a career? • In which campus activities did you participate? • If you were to start over. • Give me an example of a time when you worked under deadline pressure.Key questions Always be ready to answer these key questions: PERSONAL • Tell me about yourself . • Tell me about a time that you had to manage a group of people. • Give me an example of a time when your leadership skills were the key for success. • Have you ever had any failures? What did you learn from them? • What can you offer us? • Why did you apply for this job? • Why should we hire you? EDUCATION • Why did you choose to attend Nova . what would you change about your education? • Do your grades accurately reflect your ability? Why or why not? • How do you think a professor who knows you well would describe you? EXPERIENCE • What do you know about our company? • Why are you interested in this field? • Tell me some of your accomplishments.Personal Pitch • What are your greatest strengths? • What are your weaknesses? (when answering discuss how you are working to overcome that weakness). 7 . • What have you done that is innovative? • And some technical questions from your field of studies or the job you are applying for. • What experiences have you had or skills have you developed that would help you in this job? • Describe a major problem you have encountered and how you have dealt with it.
It is the moment to gather more information.) Career Goals • Do you prefer to work in a team or on your own? • Where do you want to be in 5 years? In 10? • Can you work on several assignments at once? • How do you feel about the possibility of relocating? • Do you have any questions? Don’t pass the opportunity to ask questions at the end of the interview. to show your interest and to help the interviewer decide if you want the job.Key questions (cont. Questions you may ask the interviewer (if they were not answered during the interview) • What do you like best about working for this department/organization? • Can you describe a typical workday in the department? • How long have you been with the organization? • What would be my primary responsibilities? • What would I be expected to accomplish in the first six months on the job? In the first year? • What are the possibilities for professional growth? • What are some of the department’s ongoing and anticipated projects? • What type of orientation or training do new employees receive? 8 .
Describe the situation. • Case Interview: for specific industries like consulting and finance. the STARS framework can be helpful in structuring the answer: Situation . Result . It requires you to offer concrete. Skills assessed in the case Interview Can be divided into two categories: Analytical Skills • Quantitative skills • Logic • Attention to detail / organization • Focus • General awareness of business • • • • • Client & Team Skills Presentation / Communication Skills Energy Leadership Skills Maturity Composure practices 9 . “Give an example of …” For behavioral-type questions. the context. your role. Action . Summarize and conclude.What was the result / outcome. Task . • Behavioral: technique where the interviewer predicts future performance by how the candidate handled various situations in the past. specific examples / stories to reveal skills .Types of Interview • Traditional: requires you to relay factual information.“Tell me about a time when …”.What was your action.Describe the task.
For Consulting Types of case interviews: 1) Business Cases . 10 .the most common type. Definition A case interview is the analysis of a business question / scenario with the formulation of a recommendation at the end. Why should we hire you?.10 / 15 minutes for behavioral-type questions. like: Why do you want to be a Consultant. What the interviewer is looking for is a thought process that is both analytical and creative. . 2) Guesstimates. the cases are based on the interviewer’s professional experience. Generally. more likely. a mix of both. All of these qualities are required in consulting assignments.Do mock interviews with your peers of the Consulting Club. 1) Business Case To be successful it is crucial to practice . Why do you want to work for this company.5 minutes for Q & A. The interviewer describes a business situation and asks the candidate to work through a course of action out loud. (follow the guidelines given in the beginning of the booklet for general interviews) . It is an interactive process. The interviewer will present the case to the candidate either orally or in writing. 3) Brainteasers. Structure Lasts between 30 to 45 minutes: . and also assessing your ability to communicate and to synthesize. Your job is to ask logical questions that will allow you to make a detailed recommendation.15 / 20 minutes to solve the case. The interviewer can use just one case or two short ones.
How to approach the business case In addressing the case. talk through your thinking (but think before you speak!) It is crucial to show your interviewer how you are thinking every step of the way. Talk it through • From the clarifying stage to the final summing up. Be ready to listen and respond to any steering that your interviewer may give you in response to your proposed analysis . it is important that you take a logical. how you are going to approach it. Listening and Clarifying • • Make sure you fully understand the problem and its component parts. It will demonstrate to the interviewer that you have the logical thinking and analytical skills they seek. well-structured approach and reach a reasoned conclusion. Identify the factors or headings you are going to use to shape your analysis. • • State your approach • Once you are clear about the problem. Address the issues one at a time. It is very important that your response to the case is well structured and addresses the important issues. Ask for extra information or clarification to enlighten you and fill the gaps . • • 11 .Follow the clues given by the interviewer.Not asking questions is a fatal error in a case interview! Break the problem into a logical structure and briefly state your understanding of it in your own words. • Take notes • Take notes when the interviewer is presenting the case. Formulate hypotheses and continue to question until you are confident with the ones that will be more suitable. explain in a concise and clear way.
• 12 . Work through to your conclusion and summarize your solution • Synthesize your thoughts related to the terms of the problem.look beyond the numbers to the processes. long division and multiplication. Think creatively • • Think outside the box . estimates and working with large numbers. Be ready and willing to respond to further interviewer requests as you go along • Be ready to brainstorm ideas or to work through some numbers. so instead.Proceed with your analysis • • • • Work through it methodically and vocalize your thinking.be willing to be different. Do the important calculations and analyses the best you can. Follow the interviewer’s guidance . ratios.he/she is there to interact with you. people and politics behind them. so ask for assistance if you need it.talk about what the next steps should be and which ones are the most important. make use of any perspectives that you may have acquired from being either a user or a consumer of the products and services that are the subjects of the business case. Be happy with numbers • Make sure you are especially comfortable with percentages. Approach the problem from different directions . If you decide not to pursue a line of thinking – explain why. incorporate why you adopted the approach you did and the significant evidence you accumulated through your analysis. Deliver a recommendation . products. Use your common sense • You may not have any business experience in the areas that the business case covers.
Stay organized . This requires comfort with basic arithmetic and sometimes large quantities. Ask for additional information when you need it .Do’s • Maintain consistent eye contact and smile. tell the interviewer what and why. Use business judgment and common sense.Think of the interviewer as a teammate in a problemsolving process and the case as a real client problem that you need to explore and then solve. Be comfortable with numbers .If you have considered some alternatives and rejected them. Engage in a dialogue. You may also be asked to perform estimations. Think before you speak.remember why you are discussing the topic and where it fits into the overall problem. Relax and enjoy the process . Communicate your ideas and thoughts clearly and with confidence .You will almost always have to work with numbers in a case.listen to them carefully and follow their lead. 13 • • • • • • • • • • • • • .Summarize what you have learned and what the implications appear to be.Think of a few sub-questions that you need to answer before you can address the overall issue. Show enthusiasm. Begin by setting a structure . Listen to the problem and make sure you are answering the question that you have been asked.But make sure that the interviewer knows why you need the information. Step back periodically .Any information given to you by an interviewer is given to help you . Watch for cues from the interviewer .
It is much more important to demonstrate a logical thought process than to arrive at the solution. Final notes: If you reach the case interview then you probably have enough analytical skills to be successful.com • ⇒ Practice With the Consulting Club Members you can practice the Case Interviews.casequestions. Look at the companies’ websites .be sure to synthesize a point of view based on where you ended up.Whether it is a misunderstanding related to the overall problem or whether you are struggling with a specific analysis. Fail to synthesize a point of view . www. • • • • • • How to be better prepared ⇒ • • Use Online Resources Vault . Practice to be sure you will be able to show your talents in the interview.Don’ts • Misunderstand the question or answer the wrong question. The CMO team can practice with you the behavioral-type questions.not identifying the major issues that need to be examined or jumping from one issue to another without outlining your overall approach. Proceed in a haphazard fashion . 14 . be sure to ask for help when you need it. Not ask for help . Ask questions without explaining to the interviewer why you need the information. Fixate on "cracking the case" . Force a familiar business framework to every case question. in small groups.most consulting firms have business cases material and tips available.access available on the intranet . rather than simply using common sense.CMO area.
Put questions to the interviewer . Go through your reasoning out loud. Use pen and paper.if he/she refuses to answer you should make assumptions.the candidate has to do some mental calculations. e. Why are manhole covers round? General guidelines: ⇒ Don’t panic ⇒ Take a minute to think ⇒ Use the paper ⇒ Break apart the problem ⇒ Demonstrate an analytical approach. You are not expected to reach the exact number but you should come close. This can be part of a case interview or be separate.g. 3) Brainteasers . Take a minute to think. Don’ts • • Answer with a random guess. What is the radius of the sphere? • Without calculations e. Tips: ⇒ ⇒ ⇒ ⇒ ⇒ ⇒ Don’t panic or lose control.2) Guesstimates . as well as grace under pressure. The area and volume of a certain sphere are both 4-digit integers. A less common form of case interview. 15 .similar with logic puzzles or riddles that can be timed. Typically come in two forms: • With calculations (resembles a math problem) e. Use round numbers. How many Ping-Pong balls fit in a 747 airplane? Purpose: to evaluate the candidate’s poise and professionalism when facing a peculiar situation. Purpose: to test both analytical and out-of-the box thinking.g. Give up. You should analyze the question and form a conclusion by thinking out loud.g.
3. Mergers & Acquisitions Determining if a particular acquisition is advisable. a transcript. 4. Just remember that frameworks are just frameworks. Be consistent but not monotonous. After the case: Ask for feedback. • Bring with you: a pen.you just have to use it. Don’t panic if you get stuck . a watch and a calculator (just in case). 5. Common types of Business Cases 1. Case frameworks Classic models and business concepts can be useful in structuring your thinking. Where to locate a new facility Evaluating where a company should locate a new plant or other facility. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.ask for pointers. paper. Never discuss the case while you are still in the company's facilities. You don’t have to say the name .Opportunity cost . Entering a new market Analyzing whether a company should enter a new market or develop a new line of products or services. Entering a new geographic market Analyzing whether a company should expand into a new country or region. your CV.. Competitive response Recommending how your client should react to a move by its competitor. 8. New product introduction Recommending a strategy for introducing a new product. 16 . Repeat the case in your words. Examples of concepts: . Take notes when the interviewer is describing the case.Cost-benefit analysis .Internal vs external market factors . 6. Changes in government / regulatory environment Advising a client in case of a change in governmental or regulatory laws. Falling profits case Exploring the possible reasons behind a company’s drop in profits. • • • • • • • • During the case: Don’t ignore the importance of the chitchat. 7. • Dress appropriately.. • Take time to assess the office.Fixed vs variable costs .The Case Checklist Before the case: • Arrive on time. 2.
The interviewer will make behavioral questions and is looking to see if the candidate fits with the organization and the role. Show you are a team player .teamwork is a very important concept in the job market these days. When asking technical questions. Show you are a responsible person . He/she will assess your attitude toward work.in this line of business you need to be capable of delivering the analysis requested promptly and correctly. And almost every finance position requires working closely with others. • The technical part.give examples of how hard you have worked in the past. the interviewer wants to assess the analytical and technical skills of the candidate. You must show that you are competent to handle the job. Don’t lie and don’t pretend your goal in life is to work 20 hours a day. Think of examples to give about taking responsibility and being competent.the world of finance is largely about number crunching and analytical ability. so you need to have an analytical mind to succeed.For Finance In general the Investment Banking and Finance interviews have two parts: • The fit part. Think of examples where you show problem solving and analytical strengths. Think of examples where you have excelled in team situations and shown your team work abilities. You can be honest about disliking the long hours. • • • 17 . and interest in the industry and the job. just convince your interviewer that you are ready and able to cope well with that scenario. Show you have an analytical mind . How to approach the Finance Interview • Show you are a hard worker .
• • What are your weaknesses? Prepare questions for the interviewer. (you have more examples of questions at the beginning of this booklet page 7 / 8).uk/) If you want to work in Investment banking you should gather information about the industry and the position you are thinking of applying for. Practice It’s advisable to do mock interviews with your peers or the NIC Club members and to prepare your answers to likely question such as: • • • Why did you choose your university? Why are you interested in this industry? What are your strengths? The best candidate should be able to do their personal pitch . Talk with alumni working in this field or students that did internships. The CMO team can practice with you the behavioral-type questions in small groups. Talk and exchange information with other colleagues interested in the same industry / company.How to apply to the Investment Banking Industry. 18 .describe their background. • • • Go to the company’s presentation.Preparing for finance interviews Research the industry (http://www. Research specific companies • • • Visit the companies’ websites. Read carefully the NIC — Nova Investment Club booklet . Read industry-specific news. strengths and goals.co.efinancialcareers. Go to Vault and other online databases. career history.
Arrive on time. Be ready to talk about you. Dress and act professionally. just remember that most people are trying to know you and assessing if you can handle the job. GOOD LUCK! 19 . If you have done your research and practiced your answers you will be able to answer most of the questions if you take the time to think about what they are looking for. Overall. Remember why you want to go to that particular industry.Final Notes: There is a possibility of you encountering some tough interviewers. be confident.
GAP / CMO email@example.com + 351 21 380 1683/32/36 Room 151 20 .
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