job interviews

job interviews tips and techniques, sample interview questions and answers, sample interviews letters
Job interviews are easier for the interviewers and the interviewees if you plan and prepare questions and answers, and use proper interviewing techniques. On this page are job interviews tips, samples of tough interviews questions, and answers, for interviewers and interviewees. There's also an outline of the group selection recruitment method, the most effective way to recruit people for most jobs. Job interviews are critical to the quality of an organization's people. Good job interviews processes and methods increase the quality of people in an organization. Poor job interviews methods result in poor selection, which undermines organizational capabilities, wastes management time, and increases staff turnover. Here are some of the top interviews questions asked at interviews. Send your own tough interviews questions. (Tough interview questions should not place undue pressure on interviewees - the purpose of tough interview questions is to encourage interviewees to think about themselves and to give the interviewer clear and revealing information as to the interviewee's suitability for the job. The best tough interview questions are those which most help the interviewee to reveal their skills, knowledge, attitudes, and feelings to the interviewer.) See also: The article on exit interviews, including exit interviews questions samples. And the job promotion interviews tips below. Additional tips and techniques relating to salary negotiations at job interviews.

interviews tips - for interviewers
1. You must makes notes of the questions you intend to ask otherwise you'll forget. 2. Decide the essential things you need to learn and prepare questions to probe them. 3. Plan the environment - privacy, no interruptions, ensure the interviewee is looked after while they wait. 4. Arrange the seating in an informal relaxed way. Don't sit behind a desk directly facing the interviewee - sit around a coffee table or meeting room table. 5. Clear your desk, apart from what you need for the interview, so it shows you've prepared and are organised, which shows you respect the situation and the interviewee. 6. Put the interviewee at ease - it's stressful for them, so don't make it any worse. 7. Begin by explaining clearly and concisely the general details of the organisation and the role. 8. Ask open-ended questions - how, why, tell me, what, (and to a lesser extent where, when, which) to get the interviewee talking. 9. Make sure the interviewee does 90% of the talking. 10. Use 'Why?' often to probe reasons, thinking and to get to the real motives and feelings. 11. High pressure rarely exposes hidden issues - calm, relaxed, gentle, clever questions do. 12. Probe the cv/resume/application form to clarify any unclear points. 13. If possible, and particular for any position above first-line, use some form of psychometric test, or graphology, and have the results available for the interview, so you can discuss them with the interviewee. Always give people the results of their tests. Position the test as a helpful discussion point, not the deciding factor. Take care when giving the test to explain and reassure. Ensure the test is done on your premises - not sent in the post.

interviews tips - for interviewees
1. Research as much as you can about the company - products, services, markets, competitors, trends, current activities, priorities. 2. Prepare your answers for the type of questions you'll be asked, especially, be able to say why you want the job, what your strengths are, how you'd do the job, what your best achievements are.

3. Assemble hard evidence (make sure it's clear and concise) of how what you've achieved in the past - proof will put you ahead of those who merely talk about it. 4. Have at least one other interview lined up, or have a recent job offer, or the possibility of receiving one from a recent job interview, and make sure you mention it to the interviewer. 5. Make sure your resume/cv is up to date, looking very good and even if already supplied to the interviewer take three with you (one for the interviewer, one for you and a spare in case the interviewer brings a colleague in to the meeting). 6. Get hold of the following material and read it, and remember the relevant issues: the company's sales brochures and literature, a trade magazine covering the company's market sector, and a serious newspaper for the few days before the interview so you're informed about world and national news. Also worth getting hold of: company 'in-house' magazines or newsletters, competitor leaflets, local or national newspaper articles featuring the company. 7. Review your personal goals and be able to speak openly and honestly about them and how you plan to achieve them. 8. Ensure you have two or three really good reputable and relevant references, and check they'd each be happy to be contacted. 9. Get into an enthusiastic, alert, positive mind-set. 10. Try to get some experience of personality tests. Discover your personality strengths and weaknesses that would be indicated by a test, and be able to answer questions positively about the results. (Do not be intimidated by personality testing - expose yourself to it and learn about yourself.)

sample interviews questions and answers:
Question
(Any question that invites you to describe/explain/comm ent on a 'negative' situation, for example, "Why did you leave your last job?, if the

Ideal Answer
When asked a question which intentionally or unintentionally exposes a 'negative' situation or experience or reason

Purpose of question
The purpose of these questions may be unwitting, that is to say the interviewer has no idea what they might be uncovering. Or the question might be to

reason was that you were being bullied, or that you lost your temper at your boss and were fired)

(for example for having left your last job), you should provide a positive interpretation and reflection of the experience. This means objectively (without emotion or bias) demonstrating understanding of the behaviour (which was directed at you that caused you to leave, or your negative behaviour that caused you to leave). For instance if you were bullied say so, but do not be critical or bitter, and emphasise the positives from the experience (which not least would be that you thought it best to leave rather than continue in a situation that was not doing anyone any good). If you behaved badly then you should ideally explain what you did and why, and how you have learned from it and that you will not make the same mistake again. In general the approach is the same for most situations when

intentionally put pressure on the interviewee in an area of weakness, or vulnerability, or past failure or mistake. In any case, interviewers learn a lot about an interviewee's emotional maturity (increasingly a much sought-after attribute) when the interviewee is invited to explain, comment, and show their feelings about a past 'negative experience. Emotionally mature people are able to talk objectively and honestly about 'negative' experiences, and interpret them into positive experiences. A good interviewer can confidently form a good impression of any interviewee who displays good emotional maturity.

dealing with questions that expose weaknesses or failures or opportunities for bitterness: you can (and should) explain what happened (to lie or distort would be wrong) but do so without bitterness or recrimination, and demonstrate forgiveness, tolerance and selfdevelopment achieved from the experience. If you were the guilty party it helps to show that you had the courage to take some action to make amends, even for 'lost cause'. How would you respond Think before the if you were offered the interview and during job? the interview: How would you actually respond to this question? If you'd accept the job and you are really happy and free to do so, then say so. You have little to gain from being evasive. If you have other options or commitments that need proper and fair consideration before accepting the job This is not a actually great question to ask (if you are the interviewer) or to be asked (if you are the interviewee) because it suggests that the interviewer might not offer the job to someone who is not certain to accept it. This is not great indication of a good, confident grown-up highquality employer (or interviewer). If you are strong and

offer then say so (it does not put you in a very good light if you demonstrate that you are prepared to treat an existing employer or another potential employer badly). If you need more information (about package, expectations, responsibilities, etc) then say so. If the interviewer is being aggressive or provocative (as can happen in certain sales interviews particularly) you could say that actually the only way to find out for sure is to make the offer, ie., "...make me the offer and I'll tell you..." (the interviewer will not normally fall for that one of course but at least he/she will see that you can stand up for yourself, which most toughnuts will respect). What would you do if you had to deal with an angry customer? Look at the Transactional Analysis, NLP, and Empathy pages - a lot of what you need to know (and will differentiate you from other

mature you'll be able to deal with an employer who feels the need to ask this question, otherwise you might not find this type of employer mature enough for you.

This type of 'scenario' question is good because it enables an interviewee to demonstrate experience, technique, and awareness of why a certain behaviour is appropriate for a given

interviewees) is there, depending on your interview situation. Basically the answer is to empathise, understand, and as quickly as possible obtain the customer's trust in your promise to try to resolve the matter. And then set about finding the facts and resolving it, working within whatever policies and processes are in place for the particular problem. The important thing is to remember the difference between understanding and agreeing - you need to understand without necessarily agreeing or prejudging the outcome (unless of course you can actually resolve it an agree it there and then). And you need to apologise without pre-judging whatever investigation you need to do or arrange. Finally, take responsibility for seeing the issue through to the finish, when at the end of it hopefully the

real situation that can arise in the job. Demonstration of exactly the same experience is not necessary, what matters is the ability to adapt and apply technique and behaviour, which could come from different related experiences, for example dealing with difficult or upset people in any other situations. The interviewee must demonstrate knowledge and/or experience of appropriate technique, behavioural and emotional awareness and capability, and the ability to match a good technical emotional and constructive response to a particular emotional (and probably processbased) challenge.

customer is more delighted than they have ever been, (which is often what happens when you do things properly). What will you bring to the job/company if we employ you? This tough interview question is an opportunity for the interviewee to relate their strengths and capabilities to the priorities of the job function, and to the aims and priorities of the organization. The interviewee must therefore demonstrate an understanding of both sides of the question the needs of the employer, and how to apply their own skills, capabilities, experience, style and strengths to the situation. It's a good question, and also a great opportunity to show how good you are, and how you will add positively to the mood and attitude of people you'll work with. This question invites good specific solutions and suggestions in response to stated organizational requirements.

Imagine what your objectives will be if you were in the role, and orientate your answer towards meeting them, on time, on budget, and with style (especially to improve motivation and morale and to avoid unnecessary disruption and unhelpful sideeffects). Try to focus on the particular priorities and requirements of the role, the targets and aims, (which means you need to ask what they are if your are not told) and also if possible, focus on working style and behaviour attributes that fit the preferences of the interviewer, since most interviewers prefer people like themselves.

For example (assuming that the points illustrated are relevant): As such it will quickly "I can see clearly show up the candidates that quick results who understand what's are a priority - and needed in the role and that's something I'm how to make it happen. good at generating, because I have good Certain interviewers and abilities and situations will also be experience to seeking indications of the interpret situations, candidate's personal and then a strong style when working with focus on activities others - notably whether which will achieve the candidate will be an change and results asset to the team in in the necessary terms of motivation and areas." morale. "I'm diplomatic with people too, which means I can generally bring people along with me; if needs be though I can be firm and determined enough to convince people who need a bit of extra encouragement." Tell me about the culture at your last company/employer. If you are the interviewer make sure you explain earlier in the interview what the situation requires in terms of results, parameters and attitudinal factors.

If the past culture was good explain them how and why in terms that the interviewee is likely to identify with, for example:

The proper purpose of this tough question is to see how you interpret and explain culture, which provides an opportunity for you as the the interviewee to demonstrate how you feel about and react to whatever culture was in

"The culture encouraged people to develop, grow, take responsibility. People were coached and mentored towards quality and productive effort. All of this helped me a great deal because I identify with these values, and respond to these opportunities." A good answer, in referring to a nonsupportive culture would be to express the positive aspects (eg lots of freedom for me to take initiative, responsibility, find new ways to contribute, a free market allowing the good workers to naturally excel and develop reputation and internal working relationships, etc.) Tell me about your life at College or University (or even your time in your previous job). The question is an opportunity for you to demonstrate the qualities that the interviewer is seeking in for the job, so orientate your answer towards these expectations (without distorting the truth obviously).

place. It's a potential trap for interviewees who would be negative and critical and apportion blame, eg 'the culture was not supportive and so it didn't help me to perform' (not a good answer). The culture question also invites comments from the interviewee about management style, and again is a trap for negative respondents who criticise their past boss (bad answer), rather than accentuate the positives and demonstrate positive behaviour in negative situations, which is a highly desirable trait.

A big open question like this in an interviewer is a huge opportunity or huge trap. It can be a tough question if not approached properly. Interviewees should have the sense to refer to previous experiences that indicate capability and behaviour of the sort

In your answer, emphasise the positive behaviour, experience and achievements (ideally backed up with examples and evidence) which will impress the interviewer because of its relevance to the role requirements.

that the role requires.

It's a trap for interviewees who look The interviewer is regretfully or negatively looking for the same on past experiences, capabilities and criticise or attribute behaviour in your blame, or display college (or university 'someone else's fault' or previous job) life attitudes. that they want in the job. College and University are environments which Your emphasis provide lots of should be on your opportunity. Good achievements, applicants will be able to and how you demonstrate that they achieved them, have used the that are relevant to opportunity to learn and the job develop, whether their requirements. experiences were all positive and successful or Interviewers with not. special interest in behaviour and personality may also use a question like this to assess your self-awareness and maturity, in the way you consider your answer and relate it to your own experience and development.

What do you want to be It's not easy to doing in 2/5/10 years answer this in terms time? of job expectation no-one can Or: realistically predict what job will be Where do you want to required in 5-10 be in 2/5/10 years time? years, let alone whether they will be right to do it, so I'd avoid specific job aims or claims, unless you actually have a very clear plan, and are seeking a job and career which clearly offers predictable and structured progression. For most people and roles, which are largely unpredictable, this question is best and easiest answered in terms of the sort of situation you'd like to be in, which should reinforce all the other good things about yourself, for example: "Making a more significant contribution to whatever organisation I'm working for. To have developed new skills, abilities, maturity - perhaps a

This is a common tough interview question, and it commonly trips people up into making overambitious claims about their future potential and worth. It highlights feelings of delusion, and a need for security if they exist. The question encourages the interviewee to think and express their plans and aspirations, future direction, needs and wishes. Some people find it more difficult to answer than others, depending on their personality. Some people are able to plan and see clear steps along the way, which would be more commonly exhibited by people whose work involves this approach. Job roles which require a higher level of adaptability and flexibility are unlikely to attract candidates who are meticulous planners. The question is a powerful one because it prompts the interviewee to think and visualise about themselves and how they expect and want to change.

little wisdom even. To have become better qualified in whatever way suits the situation and opportunities I have. To be better regarded by my peers, and respected by my superiors as someone who can continue to increase the value and scale of what I do for the organisation." "I'd like more responsibility, because that's a result of personal growth and progression, and it's important for my personal satisfaction." "I have no set aspirations about money and reward if I contribute and add value to the organisation then generally increased reward follows - you get out what you put in." "Long term I want to make the most of my abilities - if possible to build a serious career, but in this day and age nothing is certain or guaranteed; things

can change. I'll do my best and believe that opportunities will arise which will enable me to keep contributing, increasing my worth, and developing my ability in a way that benefits the organisation and me." Employers will respond well if they see that you are mature, independent, selfmotivated; that you will make a positive and growing contribution, and that you understand that reward (financial, promotion, responsibility, etc) will always be based on the quality and value of your input. Give an example of when you had to settle a dispute between two individuals. This depends on your relationship to the two people, so seek clarification if this is not clear, but broadly the aim is to first take any heat out of the situation by calming the individuals. Then firmly arrange a three-way discussion later in the day or an early opportunity in The interviewer is using this tough question to test the interviewee's experience and ability to diffuse conflict, and also to step back and take an objective view, rather than getting involved and taking sides, which is the natural temptation. Objectivity and facilitation are important skills of a good manager, and this question will

the future, in a suitable environment (closed meeting room), at which you can facilitate a proper discussion of the issues, so as to arrive at an agreed positive way of going forward or compromise. It's important to understand each person's standpoint and feelings, without agreeing with them, unless the argument concerns a clear breach of policy or wrong behaviour, in which case the transgressor should be counselled separately, after which the three-way meeting can be held to mend relationships. Arguments come in all shapes and sizes - a more specific answer is possible in response to a more specific scenario. What is your ideal job? Mindful of the trap possibilities, the interviewee would always do well to qualify the question by asking for a timescale (at what point in my career?)

identify whether the interviewee possesses them. This question will also put pressure on the interviewee's ability to manage people, because it provides a tricky people-management scenario.

This is a good and tough interview question, and the answer would almost always trigger a more specific follow-up question, asking 'why?', and then probing the reasons for the choice.

before answering. This shows that some consideration is taking place rather than a kneejerk, and that the question is producing a serious response rather than a fanciful one. Aside from this, the best answer to the question, as for any interview question, is to use the opportunity to sell the strengths of the interviewee as a potential asset to the organisation. This would produce an answer that creates a picture of a loyal, resultsorientated person, making a significant contribution to the organisation (status and level would depend on timescale). If the answer is poor it will trigger a probing follow up that puts pressure on the interviewee to justify a daft response. If the answer is impressive there probably won't be a follow-up as there's nothing to probe and the interviewer can move on. Wrong answers would

From the interviewer's standpoint, the question is open and vague, which for certain purposes (see the next para re traps) is a good thing. If the question is intended to elicit meaningful information about the interviewee's career plans, then some timescale should be attached (ie 'what would be your ideal job in 3/5/10 years time?') The question exposes interviewees who seek only personal gratification ('outputs') from a role (money, status, esteem, excitement, glamour, security, etc) rather than seeking opportunities to make best possible use of their effort, skills and experience, in contributing to the performance/quality/resul ts of the organisation for which the role is performed ('inputs'). The question is a potential trap for people who are more concerned with what they get out of a job rather than what they put into it. Employers do not really want to recruit gratification-orientated people. These people are generally not self-starting nor self-motivating. The question also gives

include: 'boss of my own company' 'your job' 'the top salesman on half a mill a year' 'CEO of this company' (unless you can justify the claim) a pop star, a railway engine driver, a film star, etc Good answers would include: 'A manager or executive with this organisation in (function relative to experience and skill set) where I have the responsibility and accountability for using my skills and efforts to achieve great results, work alongside great people, and get a fair reward.' 'I'd like to become an expert in my field (state function if relevant), where I'm able to use my skills and abilities to make a real difference to the company's performance.' Why do you want this job? Reflect back the qualities required and job priorities as being the things you do best and enjoy. Say why you think the company is good, and that you

indications as to how realistically the interviewee sees themselves. Some people visualise highly fanciful and unrealistic jobs, which is a warning sign to a potential employer. Others visualise jobs that are clearly remote from the job being applied for, which indicates that some falsification or delusion is present.

Opportunity to sell yourself and show you understand what they're looking for in the role. Make sure you hit both of these hot buttons. It's a touch question if you've not

want to work for an organisation like it. Prepare a number of relevant examples and explain one (two or three if they're punchy and going down well). Make sure you feature as the instigator, or the factor that made the difference. Examples must lead to What did you achieve in significant your last job? organisational benefits; making money, saving money/time, improving quality, anticipating or creatively solving problems, winning/keeping customers, improving efficiency. How would you approach this job? How would you do it? Identify the two or three main issues and say how you'll deal with them, which shows you can focus on what's important. Likely to be planing and organising, ensuring all the communications and relationships are working well, reviewing and measuring activities and resources against outputs and improving where

prepared the answer.

Another tough question which will expose a lack of preparation or relevant experience. The question and answer show whether any achievements have been made, and what values are placed on work. Shows motive - whether process, results, accuracy, security, social, etc. Shows understanding of cause and effect, pro-active vs passive.

A tough question if the interviewee has not prepared. Shows if you've thought about what job requires and entails. Role and situation needs to have been explained well to enable a good response. Exposes people who can't actually do the job.

possible. Emphasise your personal strengths that are very relevant to the role requirements. Prepare three that are relevant to the requirements of the role. Be able to analyse why and how you are strong in those areas. Mix in some behaviours, knowledge and experience and well as skills, and show that you understand the difference. Style should be quite confidence rather than arrogant or over-confident. Start by saying that you don't believe you are actually 'weak' in any area. Acknowledge certain areas that you believe you can improve, (and then pick some relatively unimportant or irrelevant areas). If you must state a weakness these are the clever ones that are actually strengths: not suffering fools gladly; sometimes being impatient with other people's sloppy work; being

What are your strengths?

Shows whether candidate has self-awareness, and can identify what strengths are relevant to role. Shows if candidate has thought and planned. A glaring omission if not planned as this is such an obvious question that everyone should be prepared for. Strengths should obviously relate to the needs of the employer and the role.

What are your weaknesses?

A tough question if answered without proper thought. A trap for the unsuspecting or naive. Will show up those who've not prepared as this is another obvious question to expect. Will also prompt follow-up questions probing what the candidate is doing to improve the weakness, which is worth preparing for also.

too demanding; refusing to give in when you believe strongly about something; trying to do too much, etc, etc. What would your references say about you? Another opportunity to state relevant strengths, skills and behaviours. Say that you tend not to get tense or stressed because you plan and organise properly. Say you look after the other things that can cause stress health, fitness, diet, lifestyle, etc. Talk about channeling pressure positively thinking, planning, keeping a balanced approach. Be honest, as the interviewer might have read it too. There's no shame in admitting to lightweight reading material if that's what you like - put it in context, why you read it, and give a positive result, whatever it is. Be able to give an intelligent reaction to what you've read. Don't be too clever or try to impress as Potential trap to draw out weaknesses - don't fall for it.

How do you handle tension/stress?

Exposes people who can't deal with pressure or don't recognise that lifestyle issues are important for good working. Exposes the misguided macho approach that stress can be good. It ain't.

What was the last book you read and how did it affect you?

Will provide another perspective of the interviewee's personality that may not otherwise surface. Opportunity to demonstrate skills , aptitudes, special interests, selfdevelopment, analytical ability, self-awareness. May expose feelings or issues that can be probed further.

nobody likes a smartass. Tell the truth - be proud whatever he did. Don't be judgemental, ashamed or critical. Avoid anything deeply personal or seriously emotional unless you are in complete control of your feelings about it. Try to prepare an example that's workrelated and relevant to the role. Exposes the overprotective and insecure. Can expose emotional hang-ups or triggers if any exist, which can then be probed further. Can expose emotional raw nerves or sensitivities. Opportunity to show proof of being able to achieve results in the face of difficulty. Is this person actually experienced are they just saying they are. (Experto Credite - Trust one who has proved it)

What does/did your father do for a living?

Tell me about a big challenge or difficulty you've faced; how did you deal with it?

Don't get trapped into admitting to a temper or loss of control. Say you tend to get more annoyed with yourself than with Tell me about other people or something recently that other situations. really annoyed you. Annoyance isn't very productive, so you tend to try to understand and concentrate on finding a way around a problem or putting things straight. Give me some examples of how you have adapted your own communicating style to deal with different people and situations. Prepare this as one of your strengths, as there's not a single job that won't benefit from good adaptive

Exposes hang-ups and style of management and communication. Exposes anyone who believes it's okay or even good to get cross with other people. It ain't.

Exposes single-style nonadaptive communicators, who don't understand or adapt to different people and situations.

communication skills. Give examples of how you've been detailed and given written confirmation for people who need it. Give examples of how you verbally enthuse and inspire the people who respond to challenge and recognition. Think of other examples of adapting your style to suit the recipients. Give examples when you've had to be task-driven, process driven, peopledriven, and how you change your style accordingly. A chance for you to truly shine. Exposes people who are not comfortable about having their references checked, in which case probe. Exposes people who've not had the foresight to organise an important controllable aspect of their job search, which is a bad sign. Exposes hang-ups and prejudices. May prompt issues to probe, in which ask why.

Can we check your references?

Yes.

What type of people do you get on with most/least?

Say generally you get on with everyone. Say you respond most to genuine, positive, honest people. If

pressed as to people you don't get on with, say You may be hit with this if you're too contrived or clever, in which case give an example of something that didn't quite go so well, but make sure you present it positively and say what you learned from it. Don't try to stick to your guns and maintain that you're perfect - show a little human weakness.

Excellent answer - now can you give me an example that wasn't so good?

Will knock a lot of people off guard, and expose any tendencies to confront or argue.

Give me an example of when you've produced some poor work and how you've dealt with it.

Don't admit to having produced poor work ever. Say you've probably made one or two mistakes - everyone does - but that you A trap - don't fall in it. always do everything you can to put them straight, learn from them and made sure you'll not make the same mistake again. Pick a relatively irrelevant skill and say that you don't find it as easy as you'd like, so you're working on it (don't just make this up think about it and be truthful). Don't own Another trap to expose weaknesses, and an opportunity to show strengths instead if played properly.

What do you find difficult in work/life/relationships (etc)?

up to a weakness in an area that's important to the role. As with the weaknesses question, you can state certain difficulties because they are actually quite acceptable, even commendable, they'd include: suffering fools gladly, giving up an impossible task, tolerating unkind behaviour like bullying, having to accept I can't help certain big problems in the world, etc. How do you plan and organise your work? Planning and writing a plan is very important. I think how best to do things before I do them, if it's unknown territory I'd take advice, learn from previous examples why re-invent the wheel? I always prioritise, I manage my time, and I understand the difference between urgent and important. For very complex projects I'd produce quite a detailed schedule and plan review stages. I even plan time-slots for A great opportunity to shine and show management potential. Planning and organising is one of the keys to good work at any level so it's essential to acknowledge this. Exposes unreliable people who take pride in flying by the seat of their pants.

activities that aren't in themselves organised, like thinking time, and being creative, solving problems, etc. Exposes unrealistic people. An opportunity to demonstrate you Be honest about understand the basic How much are you what you've been principle that everyone earning?/do you want to earning and realistic needs to justify their earn? about what you want cost. Extra pay should be to earn. based on extra performance or productivity. How many hours a week do you work/prefer to work? It varies according to the situation. I plan and organise well, so unless there's a crisis or unusual demand I try to finish at a sensible time so as to have some time for my family/social life/outside interests. It's important to keep a good balance. I start earlier than most people - you can get a lot done before the phones start ringing. When the pressure's on though I'm happy to work as long as it takes to get the job done. It's not about the number of hours - it's the quality of the work that you Exposes the clockwatchers and those who attach some misplaced macho pride in burning the candle at both ends. Look for a sense of balance, with flexibility to go beyond the call of duty on occasions when really required.

do; how productive you are. Be honest. Yes of course on occasions, but I obviously try Do you make mistakes? not to, and I always try to correct them and learn from them. Anyone who says they don't make mistakes either isn't telling the truth, or never does anything at all. Whatever, a 'no' here is a big warning signal. (Ack. Linda Larkin) Shows whether the person can take responsibility and guidance. A mature, positive approach to learning from mistakes is a great characteristic. (Ack. LL)

(Follow above question with) - Can you share your mistakes with others?

Absolutely I can - I get the guidance I need, and it may help prevent others from making the same mistake.

By the results that I achieve, and that I achieve them in the How to do measure most positive way. If your own effectiveness? there isn't an existing measure of this I'll usually create one. How do you like to be Be truthful, but managed /not like to be express positively. managed? I'm generally very adaptable to most management styles. In the past I've helped my bosses get the best out of me by talking to them and developing a really good understanding. I work best when I'm given freedom and responsibility to take some of the load off

Exposes people who are not results orientated more concerned with process, relationships, airy-fairy intangibles.

Indicates ability to cooperate and manage upwards, also how management attention you'll need. Exposes potential awkwardness. Only the most experienced and capable managers will be seeking difficult dominant types, and only then for certain roles requiring a high level of independence and initiative.

my boss's shoulders - they have enough to deal with. Do not respond to the negative and give any example of how you do not like to be managed. Prepare for this - be able to state your personal and career goals - keep them reasonable, achievable and balanced. Explain how you see the steps to reaching your aims. An important part of achieving progress is planning how to do it. Be able to demonstrate that you've thought and planned, but also show that you are flexible and adaptable, because it's impossible to predict the future the important thing is to learn and develop, and take advantage of opportunities as they come along. Say balance is essential. All work and no play isn't good for anyone, but obviously work must come first if you want to do well and

What personal goals do you have and how are you going about achieving them?

Exposes those with little or no initiative. People who don't plan or take steps to achieve their own personal progress will not be pro-active at work either. People who don't think and plan how to progress will tend to be reactive and passive, which is fine if the role calls for no more, but roles increasingly call for planning and action rather than waiting for instructions.

How do you balance work and family/social commitments?

Can expose those with outside interests that may prevail over work commitments (keen sports-people, etc., who cannot put work first.) Indicates whether the

progress. Planning and organising my work well, and getting results, generally means that I have time for my outside interests and there's no conflict. Why should we appoint you? You have a choice here as to how to play this: you can either go for it strongly, re-stating your relevant strengths behaviour, experience and skills, or you can quietly confidently suggest: I don't know the other applicants, so it would be wrong for me to dismiss their claims. However, I am sure that I have all the main attributes the role requires, which, combined with determination and positive approach, should ensure that I'd be a very good choice. (If management progression/successi on is seen as a benefit then you must refer to your willingness to develop and take on greater

interviewee has balanced approach to life. Obsession with work to the exclusion of most else is not generally a good sign.

Pressure question opportunity for interviewee to clearly and confidently stake their claim. Look again for the interviewee to state relevant strengths in behaviour, experience and skills. Look also for good eye-contact when pledging hard work, loyalty, determination, etc.

responsibilities in the future.) I don't know the other applicants, but generally I excel at . . . (pick your strengths that most fit with what they're seeking). Introduce some behavioural and style strengths as well as skills, and show you know the difference between them. You must rehearse this one. Have ready a descriptions of yourself and why you're like it. Don't just spout a lot of standard adjectives, say why you are like you are. Don't ramble on and tail off. make a few clear statements and finish. Nothing really makes me mad - it's not a good way to deal with anything. Certain things disappoint or upset me - rudeness, arrogance, spitefulness (pick any obvious nasty traits or behaviours, particularly behaviours that you believe your interviewer will

What can you do for us that other people cannot?

Pressure question, and one that enables the stars to shine. Look for awareness in the interviewee that they know what their relevant, even special, strengths are, and can link them to benefits that they would bring to the role.

Tell me about yourself.

Will show whether applicant has selfawareness - a critical skill that not everyone possesses. Will also show if applicant can think and present a complex case clearly and to the point. Also shows confidence and security levels, and 'grown-upness'. Exposes poor self-control or unreasonable aversions, fears, and insecurities. Exposes lack of tolerance and emotional triggers. Clever interviewers may infer or encourage a feeling in the way they ask the question that it's okay to get mad. Don't fall for it.

What makes you mad?

personally dislike too.) Don't be critical. If possible be generous with praise and say why, giving positive reasons. If there was a conflict don't lie, but describe fairly and objectively without pointing blame. Probably save most of it, give some away, maybe a small treat for myself but nothing excessive. I could handle it I think because I'd always want to work, I'm quite sensible with money, maybe start my own business if I could be really sure to make a success of it.

What do you think of your last boss/employer?

Exposes back-biting, bitterness, grudges, inability to handle relationships. Exposes people who can't accept the company-line.

If you won a million on the lottery what would you do?

Exposes the foolhardy, the irresponsible and the dreamers. Opportunity to demonstrate levelheadedness, morality, work ethic, intelligence to know that money doesn't buy happiness.

If you have questions or suggestions please contact us.

stress and pressure interview questions
When dealing with questions that put pressure on you or create stress, be confident, credible and constructive (accentuate the positive) in your answers. And make sure you prepare. Stress and pressure questions come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Three commonly used types of pressure questions are those dealing with weakness and failure; blame; and evidence of ability or experience.

weakness and failure questions

"Tell me about your failures....", or "What are your greatest weaknesses......". are the interviewer's equivalent to "Are you still beating your wife?..". Don't be intimidated by these questions - you don't have to state a failing or a weakness just because the interviewer invites you to. "I don't generally fail", or "I really can't think of any", are perfectly acceptable answers. Short and sweet, and then wait smiling for the come-back - you'll have demonstrated that you are no mug and no pushover. If you are pressed (as you probably will be), here's your justification answer, or if you wish to appear a little more self-effacing use this as a first response: "I almost always succeed because plan and manage accordingly. If something's not going right I'll change it until it works. The important thing is to put the necessary checks and contingencies in place that enable me to see if things aren't going to plan, and to make changes when and if necessary....." or "There are some things I'm not so good at, but I'd never say these are weaknesses as such - a weakness is a vulnerability, and I don't consider myself vulnerable. If there's something I can't do or don't know, then I find someone who can do it or does know." Do you see the positive orientation? Turn it around into a positive every time.

blame questions
Watch out also for the invitation to rubbish your past job or manager, especially in the form of: "Why did you leave your last job?", or "Why have you had so many jobs?" The interviewer is not only satisfying curiosity.......... if you say your last boss was an idiot, or all your jobs have been rubbish, you'll be seen as someone who blames others and fails to take responsibility for your own actions and decisions. Employers want to employ people who take responsibility, have initiative and come up with answers, not problems. Employers do not want to employ people who blame others.

So always express positive reasons and answers when given an opportunity to express the negative. Never blame anyone or anything else. "I was ready for more challenge", or "Each job offered a better opportunity, which I took", or "I grow and learn quickly and I look for new opportunities", or "I wanted to get as much different experience as quickly as I could before looking for a serious career situation, which is why I'm here." I great technique for exploiting the blame question trap is to praise your past managers and employers. Generosity is a positive trait, so demonstrate it. Keep your praise and observations credible, realistic and relevant: try to mention attributes that your interviewer and prospective new employer will identify and agree with. This will build association and commonality between you and the interviewer, which is normally vital for successful interview outcomes. They need to see that you think like they do; that you'll fit in.

prove it questions
These can be the toughest of the lot. Good interviewers will press you for evidence if you make a claim. So the answer is - be prepared. Watch out for closed questions: "Can you do so-and-so?.." , "Have you any experience in such-and-such?..." These questions invite a yes or no answer and will be about a specific area. If you give a yes, be prepared to deal with the sucker punch: "Can you give me an example?........" The request for examples or evidence will stop you in your tracks if you've not prepared or can't back up your answer. The trick is before the interview to clearly understand the requirements of the job you're being interviewed for. Ask to see the job description, including local parameters if applicable, and any other details that explain the extent and nature of the role. Think about how you can cover each requirement with examples and evidence. Wherever possible use evidence that's quantified and relates to commercial or financial outputs.

Companies are interested in people who understand the notion of maximising return on investment, or return on effort. If your examples and evidence stand up as good cost-effective practice, they'll clock up even more points for you. Make sure you prepare examples of the relevant capabilities or experience required, so that you're ready for the 'prove it' questions. You can even take papers or evidence material with you to show -having hard evidence, and the fact that you've thought to prepare it, greatly impresses interviewers. If you don't have the evidence (or personal coverage of a particular requirement), then don't bluff it and say yes when you'd be better off saying, "No, however...." Use "No, however ..." (and then your solution or suggestion), if asked for something that you simply don't have. Give an example of where previously you've taken on a responsibility without previous experience or full capability, and made a success, by virtue of using other people's expertise, or fast-tracking your own development or knowledge or ability. On this point - good preparation should include researching your employer's business, their markets and their competitors. This will help you relate your own experience to theirs, and will show that you have bothered to do the research itself. In summary, to deal with pressure questions: Keep control. Take time to think for yourself - don't be intimidated or led anywhere you don't want to go. Express every answer in positive terms. And do your preparation. (This item about stress and pressure interview questions was written for the Sydney Morning Herald, extracts of which appeared in April 2004.)

competency-based and behaviour questions - 'how would you do this...?'
For interviewers these are powerful and effective questions. These questions make the interviewee tell you how they would approach,

handle, deal with, solve, etc., a particular situation, problem, project or challenge that is relevant to the job role in question. The situation could be from the interviewee's past experience, a hypothetical scenario, or a real situation from the interviewing organisation. As the interviewer you should judge the answers objectively. Avoid the temptation to project your own style and feelings into the assessment of whether the answer is good or bad. Look for thoughtfulness, structure, cause and effect rationale, pragmatism. The candidate may not approach the question like you do, but they may have a perfectly effective style and approach to the answer just the same. The answers will indicate the interviewee's approach, methodology, experience and competency in relation to the scenario, to how they get things done, and also the style by which they do it. From the interviewee's perspective, these questions commonly start with a scenario and a question as to how you as the interviewee would deal with it. Or the question might ask you to give an example of how you have handled a particular situation or challenge in the past. Or the interviewer might ask how you would approach a current situation in their own organisation. In these cases the interviewer will often judge your answers according to how much they agree with your behavioural approach. The questions may initially seem or be positioned as competency-based, but often the interviewer will be treating this really as a question of behaviour and style. And as ever, without going to unreasonable lengths your answers should reflect the style expected/preferred/practised by the interviewer/organization. People like people like them. For instance - a results-driven interviewer, certain high achieving dominant personalities, aspiring MD's, certain ruthless types, will warm to answers with a high results-based orientation (eg '....I focus on what needs to be done to achieve the task, to get the job done, to cut through the red tape and peripherals, ignoring the distractions, etc. Strong incentive, encouragement, clear firm expectations and timescales, deliverables, etc........' - the language of the achiever. Alternatively, if you find yourself being interviewed by a persuasive, friendly, influential, egocentric type, (lots of sales managers are like this) then frame your answers to mirror that style - '.....I use persuasion, inspiration, leading by example, helping, providing justification, reasons, empathising with the situation and people who are doing the job, motivating according to what works with different people, understanding what makes them tick...' - all that sort of stuff.

HR interviewers are often 'people-types' and will warm to answers that are sensitive, and take strong account of people's feelings, happiness, well-being, sense of fairness and ethics, honesty, integrity, process, accuracy, finishing what's been started, having a proper plan, steady, reliable, dependable, etc. - the language of the fair and the disciplined. Technical interviewers, eg., MD's who've come up through science, technical, finance disciplines, will warm to answers which demonstrate the use of accuracy, plans, monitoring, clearly stated and understood aims, methods, details, checking, measuring, reporting, analysing. These are generalisations of course, but generally relevant in most interview situations when you are asked 'How would you ...?' Obviously be true to yourself where you can. It's a matter of tint and orientation, not changing your colour altogether. Occasionally you might meet a really good interviewer who is truly objective, in which case mirroring is not so useful - whereas confidence, maturity, integrity, flexibility, compassion, tolerance, pragmatism are, and as such should be demonstrated in the way you answer questions of a balanced mature non-judgemental interviewer. Interviews can be a bit of a game, so when you see that it is, play it the more you see subjective judgement and single-track behaviour in the interviewer, then the more advantage there is in mirroring the interviewer's style in your answers. People like people like them. Which very definitely extends to assessing behaviour-based competency.

salary negotiation at interviews tips
The best time to negotiate salary is after receiving a job offer, and importantly before you accept a job offer - at the point when the employer clearly wants you for the job, and is keen to have your acceptance of the job offer. Your bargaining power in real terms, and psychologically, is far stronger if you have (or can say that you have) at least one other job offer or option (see the tips on negotiation). A strong stance at this stage is your best chance to provide the recruiting manager the justification to pay you something outside the employer's normal scale.

If there's a very big difference between what is being offered and what you want, say more than 20%, you should raise it as an issue during the interview for discussion later (rather than drop it as a bombshell suddenly when the job offer is made). Do not attempt to resolve a salary issue before receiving a job offer - there's no point. Defer the matter - say you'll need to discuss salary in due course, but that there's obviously no need to do so until and unless the company believes you are the right person for the job. "Let's cross that bridge when we come to it," should be the approach. A job and package comprise of many different things - unless the difference between what's offered and needed is enormous (in which case the role is simply not appropriate) both sides should look at all of the elements before deciding whether salary is actually an issue or not. The chances of renegotiating salary after accepting a new job, and certainly after starting a new job, are remote - once you accept the offer you've effectively made the contract, including salary, and thereafter you are subject to the organization's policies, process and natural inertia. A compromise agreement on salary, in the event that the employer cannot initially employ you at the rate you need, is to agree (in writing) a guaranteed raise, subject to completing a given period of service, say 3 or 6 months. In which case avoid the insertion of 'satisfactory' (describing the period of service) as this can never actually be measured and therefore fails to provide certainty that the raise will be given. If you are recruiting a person who needs or demands more money or better terms than you can offer, then deal with the matter properly before the candidate accepts the job - changing pay or terms after this is very much more difficult. If you encourage a person to accept pay and terms that are genuinely lower than they deserve or need, by giving a vague assurance of a review sometime in the future, you will raise expectations for something that will be very difficult to deliver, and therefore storing up a big problem for the future. Additional tips and techniques relating to salary negotiations at job interviews.

second interviews guidelines

At second interviews, unsuitable applicants should have been screened out by this stage. For certain jobs a decision will be made to offer the job after the second interviews; recruitments for senior positions may proceed to third interviews. Second interview questions should be deep and probing about the candidate and the candidate's approach to work. The questions should concern detailed and testing examples and scenarios specific to the particular job, asking how the candidate would deal with them. This is to discover as reliably as possible how the candidate would approach the job, and what type of person they are - the interviewer needs to be sure they will get on with the candidate you and that they will fit in well. The interviewer should also probe the type of management that the candidate responds to and doesn't, and how the candidate would work with other people and departments, giving specific examples and scenarios. Tests and practical exercises using actual work material or examples can be used, which enable a practical assessment of the candidate's real style, ability, knowledge and experience. The candidate can be asked to prepare and give a short presentation about themselves, or how they would approach the job or a particular challenge. This could involve the use of certain equipment and materials, particularly if such ability is to be required in the job. The interviewer should also try to get to know more about the candidate as a person - to be as sure as possible that this is the right person for the situation; the interview approach should be probing and gaining practical evidence, proof, of suitability. A good second interview should establish as reliably as possible the candidate's suitability and ability for the specific needs of the job, which includes the work, relationships, aspirations, and personal background. There is nothing wrong in the candidate asking the organisation prior to the interview what to plan and prepare for in the second interview interviewers should regard this as a positive sign, and it may help the candidate to give some clear information on what to expect and prepare for. Certain senior jobs recruitments will involve a lunch or dinner so that the interviewer and other senior managers or executives can see you

in relaxed mode. This is an excellent way to discover more about the personality of an applicant. Group selection (normally a half-day or even whole day) - see below - is a very good alternative to conventional one-to-one interviews after first interview stage. Group selection puts all the candidates together for a series of activities and tasks, which can then be observed by a panel of interviewers. Individuals can be asked to prepare and give presentations, and various other exercises relevant to the job. One-toone interviews follow later in the day when the group has been reduced in numbers. Group selection takes a lot longer than a conventional second interview and all candidates should be notified as to the process and outline agenda.

interview follow-up letter or email by interviewee
If you are particularly keen to be offered a job and wish to increase your profile and chances of receiving a job offer after attending interview, you can follow up an interview with a letter or email (and then a phone call) to reinforce your commitment and qualities for the job. The sooner the better. Often jobs are offered to the most passionate and determined applicants, so this should be the feeling that your follow-up should try to convey, without giving the impression of desperation or crawling. You should seek to focus your follow-up letter or email on the key performance aspects in the role that the interviewer believes are required for the successful applicant. This type of follow-up enables you to show that you have considered and developed your thinking after the interview (a desirable attribute), and also enables you to re-emphasise your claim to the opportunity, bringing your name to the front of the interviewer's mind again. A good follow-up letter or email also enables you to demonstrate that you are persistent, professional, interested, possess relevant capabilities, recognise what the requirements and priorities are, are keen, and can sell yourself in a determined manner, that probably the other applicants will not do.

Interviewers also respond well to applicants who really like the company, especially if your reasons coincide with the reasons that the interviewer likes the company too, so it can help if your follow-up 'resonates' with the feelings of the interviewer about what is required for the role. From the interviewer's perspective - if you are an interviewer or decision-maker who receives a good follow-up letter from an enthusiastic interviewee - I recommend you give the applicant extra credit and consideration. They are demonstrating many of the most relevant qualities that you are seeking.

sample follow-up letter from interviewee after interview
Use and adapt this template example to create your own interview follow-up letter or email. Dear ........ You interviewed me on (date) for the (role) position. I really want this job, so I'm taking the liberty of re-stating why I think you should choose me: (then list 3-5 short points which relate your skills, knowledge, experience, achievements, character, attitude, to the results and effects they'll be seeking from the person appointed. It is very important that these points demonstrate that you have clearly understood and can deliver - specific measurable things if possible what they need for the role, for example:)

You need someone who can produce new profitable business - a minimum (stated target level) a year. My track record proves I can do this. I know already how I will do this for you. Moreover I'll help others around me to do it too. You need someone who is very adaptable. Again my recent career history shows how I'm able to adapt to fast-changing situations - to identify and achieve new aims quickly. Put me anywhere - I'll adapt and create a new plan, and achieve it.

You need someone who can hit the ground running - I can do this - I have commitments from personal customers who have promised me business equating to (amount) by (when) should I take on this new role.

You might have seen better qualified applicants, or people with more relevant experience, but when it comes down to it, it's the person with the most passion and determination who is able to make a real difference. I'd urge you to give me the chance to prove I am that person. Yours etc. You could also follow up the letter/email with a phone call to ask what the interviewer thinks, and if there's anything else that you can do or provide to help the interviewer decide. Persistence often pays off, especially in roles which require someone who can get results by making things happen, which applies to most roles in business and organisations these days, and certainly all management roles. When you follow-up your own job interview with passion, determination and expertise, the interviewer sees real evidence of how you can perform in the job itself. The interview follow-up letter, email and phone call is therefore a great opportunity for you to demonstrate many of your attributes for real, in a way that will raise your profile, re-state your credentials and understanding of the role's requirements, and thereby create a clear separation between you and the other job candidates.

group selection recruitment method
The Group Selection recruitment method offers several advantages over conventional one-to-one interviewing, which is a very difficult method of recruiting the right person. Group Selection recruitment enables a number of people from the organisation to observe a number of job candidates, as they go through a series of specially designed activities. Group Selection also offers the recruiting organisation an excellent opportunity to present the company and the job in a very professional way, thus appealing to and attracting the best candidates.

Also, the unsuccessful candidates leave the process with a very positive impression of the organisation and the experience as a whole. Group Selection also enables the the best people to show themselves to be the best, often working on real job-related scenarios, which removes much of the guesswork about people's true abilities. One-toone interviews always favour the 'professional interviewee' types, who present very well, but then often actually fail to deliver - 'all mouth and trousers' as the expression has it. Screening interviews are useful in short-listing candidates for group selections. For a senior job group selection, screening interviews and psychometric assessments are recommended to shortlist candidates. Group selection activities are by far the most reliable way to see what people are really like, provided the process is carefully planned, managed and facilitated. If you'd like advice about Group Selection methods or designing a Group Selection day please get in touch. Here's an outline of the process: 1. Create/confirm job specification, job description, skill-set, and person-profile. 2. Plan recruitment and induction schedule. 3. Create and place advert. 4. Shortlist applicants from written applications or CV's. 5. Write to candidates explaining selection process, venue, date and time. 6. Plan the Group Selection day or half-day, to include: presentation to them by senior managers about the company and the role; psychometric tests; activities, tasks and games for candidates to do, including team and syndicate work, and individual presentations; lunch; culminating in one-to-one interviews (usually three or four) involving final shortlisted candidates with senior managers on rotation. See the team building games section for ideas of group selection exercises, notably the postbag group selection recruitment exercise. 7. Management review and decision. (Candidates can be asked to leave and hear later or wait, depending on situation.) 8. Job offers, acceptance, reference checks, induction. For sales, sales management, and sales training vacancies, the Sales Activator® system is an excellent resource for interviews, recruitment and selection, and group selection methods.

samples of job interviews thank you letters or rejection letters
From the interviewer's standpoint when writing to unsuccessful interviewees, it's essential that you do not write anything that could carry a liability for claims of discrimination, libel or defamation of character. If you are the interviewing manager or have the responsibility for sending interviews rejection letters and have any doubt about local policies and laws concerning interviews rejection letters, consult with your HR department before writing and sending job interviews letters to unsuccessful candidates. Generally the safest kindest way to write an interview rejection letter is to simply say thank you, and to state that the reason for the interviewee not being successful is due to there being better qualified candidates. Below is a sample thank you rejection letter. See the notes below also relating to more complex and positive rejections of job applications, notably for additional guidance about giving constructive feedback to unsuccessful applicants.

basic sample job interviews rejection letter
Name and address of candidate. Date Dear (Mr/Ms/Mrs/Miss Surname) Thank you for attending the interview (or group selection event) with us on (date) at (location) for the position of (position). While you presented yourself extremely well and impressed us very much, I regret that we are not on this occasion able to offer you the position, due to there being other better qualified (or more suitably qualified) candidates. I thank you for the interest and enthusiasm you have shown and wish you all the best for the future. Best wishes, etc

sample job interviews 'holding' letter
Here's a job interviews 'holding' letter, to be used when the selection decision is delayed for some reason, when it is important to acknowledge and thank the interviewee and keep them informed (and interested) in the position: Name and address of candidate. Date Dear (Mr/Ms/Mrs/Miss Surname) Thank you for attending the interview (or group selection event) with us on (date) at (location) for the position of (position). You presented yourself extremely well and impressed us very much, and the interview process is still ongoing. We will be in touch as soon as possible to inform you whether we can offer you the position or not (or when and if we will need to see you again). I thank you for the interest and enthusiasm you have shown thus far. Should you have any questions meanwhile please let me know. Best wishes, etc

other notes and examples for sensitive and constructive job application rejection letters
Here are some further ideas for job applications rejections, sample letters, and especially how to deal with unsuccessful applicants more sympathetically and constructively. Use or adapt these examples and ideas when informing job applicants that they have been unsuccessful in applying for job interviews, or after unsuccessfully attending job interviews (if you are a pioneering manager working outside of the HR department you should agree things first with your HR department).

This is a challenging area that many employers will not be able, or desire, to explore. Which is fine. You'll get around to it when you are good and ready... First of all, you are not obliged to give a reason for the rejection. It is not a good thing to concoct a reason, not least because people aren't stupid (think back to your own experiences when you've been given a flimsy excuse or reason), and obviously you should avoid writing anything to a job applicant that could be regarded as discriminatory or insulting. However, you should try to add a positive aspect to rejection letters if you can. It's good to do so, especially when someone has clearly tried their best. It's a wicked world - why not try to make it little kinder. People remember when they have been treated well; they tell their friends, and they'll remember when and if you meet them again one day. What goes around comes around, as they say. Employers routinely reject people without a care for the rejected person's sensitivities; it's an assumption passed down from manager to successor. "We've always done it that way - why waste time bothering about people?...". However, a little consideration can help a lot to reduce the demoralising effect of receiving a rejection letter... If the application or interview is a good one, but not quite good enough to succeed, it often makes sense to keep the person's details for possible future reference. If you plan to do this then tell the person. It's a positive aspect, albeit within a rejection letter. Having said this, don't just say it for the sake of it. Particularly forward-thinking employers (and able managers) can offer to give applicants constructive feedback on their unsuccessful applications (and failed interviews too), and this again is an option that you can choose or not, in which case be mindful as ever about potential discrimination and defamatory risks. Postal or telephone feedback is possible, each of which of course have implications for time and control, and costs, for the employer - it's your choice. If you offer feedback ensure it is fair and that you establish a process for identifying a few constructive points, giving them, and recording them, which can quite easily be incorporated into the normal recruitment process and documentation. You will after all have made the rejection on specific grounds, rather than on a whim, in which case, it's a logical step to then communicate these points back to the applicant. One can easily argue that it's only fair to do so. A simple way to do this is to

create a simple list of the most common reasons for rejecting people, and to indicate on the list the reason(s) applicable to each person failing to progress. Giving positive feedback verbally or in writing, outside of a controlled list of reasons, requires a certain level of skill, so that the feedback is not perceived as a criticism, and so that the discussion or communication (whether verbal or a written response) remains adultto-adult. Written feedback is safer, but verbal feedback is better, if handled well. The risk is that the feedback leads to defence or argument from the recipient, so it's important to accentuate the positive and be objective and factual, for example: "Clearer presentation of your qualifications would have enabled us to make a fuller assessment," or "The application would have stood a better chance if it had been more neatly presented," or "We needed to see more evidence that you understood the communications and relationships requirements of the role." Here's an example of a feedback template which can be used by managers who perhaps do not possess sufficient ability to work without one.

feedback template example - for use after job application rejection
NB - These are examples of feedback points - amend and add to them to suit your situation. Unsuccessful job applications can be upsetting, so we try to be as helpful as we can in giving a bit of feedback to all unsuccessful applicants. Below we've indicated the main reason(s) why you didn't succeed on this occasion, and we hope that this will help you to take something positive from the experience, and to be successful in the future. In return please feel free to give us your comments about how we conducted the recruitment. It's a difficult process relevant reason(s) indicated with a tick

for all concerned and we welcome your views. Your application letter and/or CV could have been presented more professionally and neatly. Your experience was required to be more relevant to the job vacancy. We needed to see a clearer understanding of the job's priorities. We were seeking, or managed to find, an applicant who had better formal qualifications. You were actually over-qualified and too capable for the job. We were seeking, or managed to find, an applicant whose current commitments or location or earnings requirements were more suited to the vacancy. Please give us your feedback about the way we conducted the recruitment by completing and returning the attached sheet in the envelope provided.

applicant feedback template example for use after job application or interview rejection
NB - These are examples of feedback points - amend and add to them to suit your situation. Please help us to answer please give your comments

improve our recruitment processes by giving us your feedback about the way we conducted the recruitment. Could we improve the way the job was explained in the advert? Could we have explained better the sort of person we were seeking? Were all of our communications to you clear and professional and polite? Were the recruitment arrangements and processes all explained clearly enough? Is the opportunity to receive and give feedback helpful to you? Would you apply for a job with us again?

Yes or No

Do you have any other comments or suggestions?

Giving (one or a few) points of feedback like this keeps the feedback factual, constructive, and provides the person with some helpful pointers for improving applications that they'll make in the future. Receiving feedback enables you to improve your recruitment and interviews processes. Also, allowing the other person to give some feedback helps them to feel better about their experience, and also leaves them with a much more positive impression about you, instead of remembering you simply as the employer who rejected them. Giving verbal feedback also provides an excellent opportunity to ask for feedback from the candidate concerning the candidate's experience and feelings about the organisation's recruitment process. Like any feedback about organisational performance this is valuable stuff, so seek it out. It will also lead to a more balanced feedback discussion, allowing the unsuccessful candidate to make some of their own points, which most folk find quite an uplifting and pleasing experience. In order to offer and give constructive feedback a lot depends on the scale and the size of the business, the people handling the recruitment, the type of jobs being advertised, the type of people applying, the market or trade sector, the employer's attitude towards PR, and not least, how you feel about trying to do good and helping people wherever possible. Aside from simply being a good thing to do for people, a lot of goodwill and positive reactions result from offering and giving good constructive feedback. Unlike most aspects of the recruitment process, you're giving a little bit back, not just taking, rejecting, and leaving people feeling bereft, which is the common application rejection experience. The employment and recruitment world is a cruel one, so it's good to make it a little happier and more helpful if you can. Giving constructive feedback to unsuccessful applicants and interviewees is also particularly good to do when dealing with candidates who are already employed within the organisation. This is for obvious reasons, not least: they'll be more likely to stay motivated and feel positive about the organisation; they'll be more likely to present their next application in a better way; and they'll better understand why they didn't succeed on this occasion and hopefully be less likely to blame others for not having succeeded.

See Transactional Analysis - it's a communications and behaviour model that is enormously helpful to handling potentially emotional discussions. See also exit interviews - it's a different subject and process obviously, but rooted in a similar philosophy: trying to help people where you can.

sample rejection letter for unsuccessful job interview or job applications
Dear .... (job title) vacancy Thank you for applying for the vacancy (above/for ....). (Or - Thank you or attending the interview for the vacancy [above/for ....] on [date].) I am sorry that on this occasion you have not been successful, (despite presenting yourself very well). (If you have no objection we will keep your details on file for possible future reference.) (When we receive a particularly good application that is not successful - as yours is - we offer to give the applicant some constructive feedback about their application, and we would like to make this offer to you. If you'd like this to happen please let us know by (phoning/writing/emailing - as appropriate) and we will be in touch. I wish you all the best for the future. Yours sincerely, etc.

See also the guide to exit interviews, with sample exit interviews questions, and tips for interviewers and interviewees.

job promotion interviews tips
For interviewers and interviewees, much of the information above in the main job interviews article is relevant to job promotion interviews. These tips chiefly focus on interviews rather than group selections. Attending group selections for job promotion is a different matter, which I'll comment on briefly now: Group selection enables the employer's selection panel to observe behaviour and interaction in a group situation. Job promotion candidates in these situations should therefore behave in a way that will impress the selection panel, in areas which the employer logically expects the group selection process or exercise to highlight. Here are the sorts of behaviours that impress when demonstrated by group selection candidates: responsibility, integrity, leadership, maturity, enthusiasm, organisation, planning, creativity, noticing and involving quiet members of the group, calmness under pressure, and particularly discovering and using other people's abilities in order for the team to achieve given tasks. The remainder of this item concerns job promotion interview situations. For interviewees, the same principles apply as in new employer job interviews. Interviewers commonly assess interviewees according to their own personal style and approach - people like people like them. For example: friendly people like friendly people; results-driven people like results-driven people; dependable reliable passive people like dependable reliable passive people; and detailed correct people like detailed correct people. As an interviewer, when interviewing try to see the interviewee according to their own frame of reference not your own - you will make a fairer assessment. As an interviewee be aware that even the most objective interviewer even if aided by psychometric job profiles and applicant test results will always tend to be more attracted to applicants who are like them, rather than applicants who are unlike them; it's human nature. When as an interviewee you attend promotion interviews, your answers should be orientated to match the style preferences of the interviewer. Try to see things in the way they see them, and express

your answers and ideas in language and terms that they will relate to and understand. Don't distort the truth or make claims you cannot substantiate or deliver - show that you understand how your boss and/or the interviewer sees the situation, and how they see that the job needs to be done successfully. Rebels and mould-breakers are rarely promoted because they are seen as a threat or liability, so if you have rebellious tendencies it's a good idea to tone them down a little for the promotion interview. In the rare case that a distinctly mould-breaking individual is required for the role, such a requirement will be stated, then by all means go for it, all guns blazing. At promotion interviews, interviewers particularly expect to hear the applicant's practical and cost effective ideas and plans for the new job. Be able to demonstrate how well you understand the business and the organization. If appropriate, your ideas can be fresh and innovative (especially if the interviewer is innovative and creative themselves), but you must above all be able to demonstrate a clear grasp of 'cause and effect', and the importance of achieving a suitable return on investment or effort. Promotion almost always involves having responsibility for making decisions about the use of time and resources. Interviewers need to be convinced that you understand how to handle this responsibility - to identify priorities, to focus effort in the right direction, to manage efforts productively - as if you were using your own money. Demonstrating clear knowledge and interpretation of policies, processes, rules, standards, and a firm and diplomatic style when supervising others, is crucial for promotion into most first-line management or supervisory roles. Demonstrating an ability to plan, organise and achieve effective implementation (of plans, changes and objectives) is crucial for promotion into most middle-management positions. Demonstrating an ability to initiate and optimise strategic activities, giving strong return on investment is be crucial for promotion into most senior positions. Demonstrating huge personal commitment and enthusiasm, together with complete and utter loyalty to your boss and the organization, are always essential factors for successful promotion interviews. Loyalty

and commitment are essential. The interviewer must be able to trust you to the extent that they will stake their own reputation on your commitment and ability. The ability to adapt and be flexible as priorities and circumstances change around you, is also essential for promotion into most supervisory and management roles. Interviewers will not promote children or people with baggage or issues - interviewers promote mature grown-up people. People who will lighten the management burden, not add to it. It is important to convey convincingly that regardless of the challenges that occur on the way, you will always strive relentlessly to achieve your aims and objectives - and that you will never, ever, ever, let your boss down. If you really believe it and feel it, look the interviewer in the eye and say: "Give me this opportunity, and I will repay your faith in me to succeed in this job."

references and checking references
As an interviewee it's good to prepare your references in advance, and give the interviewer a list of your referees with names, positions, employers details, and all possible contact details. Try to identify (and agree cooperation in advance from) referees who will be happy to give you a positive reference, and in so doing, who will support your personality, skills, performance and job history claims. Provide as many referees as you need to cover the important aspects of your performance and employment history, plus any specific critical requirements of the new job (accreditation, record, training, vetting, etc). A healthy list of referees would normally be between three and five people. It seems a lot, but it's more impressive than just a couple; it shows you've thought about it beforehand, and it builds in a bit of leeway for when people cannot be contacted or fail to respond quickly for any reason. Generally the more senior and credible your referees the better. It's perfectly acceptable to list one or two referees from your private life rather than work, especially if they have a job or status that carries important responsibility (councillors, police, etc)

If you know that a particularly significant and favourable referee might be difficult to contact, ask them to provide you with a 'to whom it may concern' open reference letter as to your character and history, signed by them, on letterhead - and preferably use and keep hold of the original copy - ask the interviewer to take a photocopy and give you back the original. As an employer - employers should always follow up and check successful job interview candidates' references. Not to do so is irresponsible, especially if recruiting for jobs which carry serious responsibilities, such as working with children, disabled people, sensitive data, money, valuables, etc. You must inform or ask permission from the candidate prior to checking their references. The extent and depth to which references should be checked depend on the situation and the referees given by the job applicant. Certainly make job offers conditional to satisfactory checking of references, and if as an employer you are not happy about the referees provided then ask for others. Checking references can be a very sensitive area, so care needs to be used. Many referees will not be comfortable providing personal information about a person, not least due to fear of defaming someone and the liabilities concerned. Postal reference checking is an alternative to telephoning, although many referees feel less comfortable effectively making a written record of negative comments, and may be more forthcoming in a telephone conversation. Refusal by a referee to provide a reference about someone is obviously not a helpful sign, and considerable positive feedback from reliable alternative referees would normally be required to proceed with a job offer following such a response. Bear in mind also that the referee may have their own agenda. Take care to interpret carefully any personal comments which might stem from personality clash. Try to concentrate on facts with evidenced examples rather than opinions. References should definitely be checked concerning job-critical areas (relevant to the new job for which serious liabilities might exist if candidate is not telling the truth), as should any areas of suspicion or doubt that cannot be resolved/proven for sure at interview. And for everyone, irrespective of satisfaction with interview answers, it is important to check some basic facts with past employers to ensure that the candidate has not been telling a pack of lies.

Possible areas to check (a sort of checklist - not a fixed agenda):
• • • • • •

CV/career history, dates, salaries. Qualifications and training. Personal details, age, etc. Claims about achievements and performance in past jobs. Personality and relationships at work. Domestic situation, financial situation.

Seek local qualified advice from your HR department or advisor if in doubt, and also if you want to use a postal reference checking method, since most HR departments will already have a standard approved document for this purpose.