E is for… Environment

ato z of interview skills

E is for… What is your ideal working ENVIRONMENT ?

This may not be the specific question you get, but usually an interview will include a workplace environment or work culture question to allow the interviewer to get a feel for whether you would fit in to the team, the workplace environment or culture. When answering a question like this you need to be careful to show that you are a good match for their working environment.

When researching a company and preparing for an interview try to include some research into their workplace environment or culture by speaking to people who work there or have worked there, using their website and social media feeds for insights and drawing parallels to previous experience to add some weight to what you are saying.

If you have been unable to do specific research in advance of your interview you will need to keep to general statements highlighting what you expect the workplace environment to be and focus on the positives.

Using your career journal will help you find inspiration for Interview Questions and help you prepare, practice and review your answers. This can be a great technique which is why I have chosen to use the A to Z of Interview Questions Posts as Journal Prompts. If you don’t already have a career journal this is the perfect excuse to get started.

D is for… Describe

ato z of interview skills

D is for… how would your colleagues or boss DESCRIBE you?

This can be another popular question at interview, but it is one that can be handled easily with a little bit of preparation. The easiest way to prepare for this question (and any similar question) is to collect and keep a record of feedback in your Career Journal. Answer “How would you colleagues describe you?” by using genuine feedback and comments that you have received. Ideally the adjectives used in your feedback should match up with what they are looking for the role – but stay genuine and don’t force it to ‘fit’.

You don’t have to be a job-seeker to be keeping a record of your feedback. If possible recording feedback and comments from clients, customers and colleagues should be part of your regular journalling routine as it can be helpful for appraisals, promotions and pay rise negotiation.

Using your career journal will help you find inspiration for Interview Questions and help you prepare, practice and review your answers. This can be a great technique which is why I have chosen to use the A to Z of Interview Questions Posts as Journal Prompts. If you don’t already have a career journal this is the perfect excuse to get started.

 

C is for… Company

ato z of interview skills

C is for… Why do you want to work for this COMPANY?

Active Job Seekers run the risk of applying for so many jobs that they cannot recall why they want to work for a particular company or a particular job – you don’t want to seem desperate for just any job. If you are a job-seeker who is simply seeking the right opportunity or your next move – you may have a better idea of why you want to work for a particular company prior to even making your application.

Either way – prior to facing an interview it is important to be clear about why you want to work for the Company interviewing you (and to a certain extent why they would be interested in hiring you).

This should be a question you prepare and practice from scratch each time you have an interview.

When carrying out your company research think about both why you want to work for them and why they would want to hire you and keep a record of this in your career journal.

Then you can move onto drafting a potential answer to this question. Just remember – be genuine and try (if possible) for avoid the clichés.

Using your career journal will help you find inspiration for Interview Questions and help you prepare, practice and review your answers. This can be a great technique which is why I have chosen to use the A to Z of Interview Questions Posts as Journal Prompts. If you don’t already have a career journal this is the perfect excuse to get started.

 

B is for… Behavioural Interview Questions

ato z of interview skills

Quite often interviews are split between technical and behavioural questions. Behavioural Questions focus on your behaviours, skills and abilities. You can use your Career Journal in a number ways to help you prepare for these types of questions. I am going to share two of these today.

1. Identify potential Behavioural Questions by reviewing the job description

Before you attend an interview go back to the job description and identify what skills and qualities are listed. For example this sentence was included in a job description I recently looked at “To succeed you will need to thrive in a challenging and pressurised environment.” This might lead to a question like “Describe a time when you were faced with a stressful situation and how you overcame the situation”.

Action Point: identify potential questions you might be asked.

Once identified you should then prepare how you would answer the questions if they came up.

2. Prepare Structured Answers

If you have ever received any career advice you should be aware of the STAR method for answering behavioural questions. Just in case you need a reminder I have set this out below:

  • Situation: The interviewer wants you to present a recent challenge and situation in which you found yourself. Tell a story.
  • Task: What did you have to achieve? The interviewer will be looking to see what you were trying to achieve from the situation.
  • Action: What did you do? The interviewer will be looking for information on what you did, why you did it and what the alternatives were. Make it personal: ‘I’ not ‘we’.
  • Results: What were the outcomes of your actions? What did you achieve through your actions and did you meet your objectives? What did you learn from this experience and have you used this learning since?

Action Point: Write a few structured answers using the STAR method for the questions identified.

Using your career journal will help you find inspiration for Interview Questions and help you prepare, practice and review your answers. This can be a great technique which is why I have chosen to use the A to Z of Interview Questions Posts as Journal Prompts. If you don’t already have a career journal this is the perfect excuse to get started.

 

A is for… tell me About yourself

ato z of interview skills

Today we are kicking off the challenge with what is frequently the first question asked at interview. “Tell me about yourself”.

This is a difficult question to answer but I have never had an interview where this question (in some form) has not come up. Usually it is the first question which is why it seemed like the perfect start to the A to Z Challenge. By asking this question interviewers are looking to find out more about you, see how you handle an open-ended question, assess your confidence AND find out what you think is important to them.

Start preparing for this question by make a list of 5 things your potential employer MUST and SHOULD know about you. Keep it relevant to the job and highlight your achievements.

Once you have your list, you can start playing around with potential answers.

Using your career journal will help you find inspiration for Interview Questions and help you prepare, practice and review your answers. This can be a great technique which is why I have chosen to use the A to Z of Interview Questions Posts as Journal Prompts. If you don’t already have a career journal this is the perfect excuse to get started.

A to Z Challenge: Theme Reveal

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Greetings and Welcome A to Z Participants (and readers) to my A to Z Theme Reveal. Last year during the challenge I blogged about Career Development which then went on to inspire this blog and my career development book: Prompt: 52 Prompts for Setting up and Writing Your Career Journal. 

This year I hope to continue to help and inspire Career Journalists, job-seekers and other go-getters interested in professional career development by writing an A to Z of Interview Questions.

ato z of interview skills

Regular readers will know that I believe that writing a career journal can help you manage your career and personal development. This includes helping you prepare for job interviews and simply helping you align your priorities. Using your career journal will help you find inspiration for Interview Questions and help you prepare, practice and review your answers. This can be a great technique which is why I have chosen to use the A to Z of Interview Questions Posts as Journal Prompts. If you don’t already have a career journal this is the perfect excuse to get started.

I look forward to seeing you during the challenge. In the meantime you can keep in touch by subscribing to the newsletter or following me on twitter.