Being Successful at Interviews Part 8
Prepare for, and practice answering, the interview questions: think about questions that you are likely to be asked. Brainstorm this with a colleague, friend, or partner, and practice answering. Practice using the interview questions to strengthen your argument that you are the best person for the job. For example, you will be almost certainly be asked about your experience and qualifications, even though this will be shown in your CV. Your response should be phrased in such a way that you relate your experience, knowledge, and qualifications, to the role and responsibilities of the new post, showing how these existing attributes will give you the confidence and skills to successfully handle the tasks that lie ahead. With luck you will not be asked questions such as – What do you think are the main benefits that you could bring to this job, if appointed? However, it still happens, so you must be prepared for them.
Again, practice responding in a way which links your experience and existing skills to the demands of the new role. If you are asked – What would you say are your biggest strengths and worst weaknesses? then talk mostly about your strengths, giving examples of how these have been effectively used, and be very, very careful talking about your alleged weaknesses. Choose a relatively harmless weakness that could be interpreted as a strength, such as being over-zealous about quality criteria being met, or insisting on deadlines being met which can upset some team members. Don’t, under any circumstances, negatively criticise your present or past employers, or colleagues. Even if the organisation that you work for is known to have faults or bad practices, don’t criticise it or any personnel within it. This is almost always a fatal mistake. You will almost always be asked some questions about the interviewing organisation.
Again, use these as an opportunity to show you have researched the organisation, but also to explore what the organisation is planning (at least in the area that you will be working in), and-or what they are expecting of you. For example, you could mention new markets that the organisation has recently entered and ask if that will impact on the post that you are being interviewed for. If you are asked about hobbies and interests, don’t give a list of twenty, keep it simple and don’t try to impress with esoteric hobbies that you don’t actually have. Imagine saying that you enjoy watching French films and then being asked a question about this, in French, by one of the interviewers who is fluent in the language!