Catherine Fox, Cavan Institute, focuses on those dreaded interview questions and how you can handle them. Do you need some tips?
By the time the interview arrives you should have a fair idea of what you will be asked as a result of your research and preparation.
- Remember the key points you want to get across to the Board, include them when answering the questions. Illustrate your answers with examples from your career to date such as: “I am a very good team player for example, I was involved in a project in my current job which involved working with people from different departments. My role was …”
- Expect questions on information contained in your Application Form or CV. Instead of naming the subjects or modules you studied tell them what was involved in the degree. “As part of my degree project I designed a web site for a local business from start to finish including getting a brief from the client ……”
- You should be well prepared with a list of all your achievements and be ready to explain what kind of value you could add to the company. In particular, take a look at your previous positions, and what you have achieved on top of what was required. Work out exactly why you are suited to the position and assess what added value you can bring to the company.
- The final part of answering a question in an interview is relating your experience and skills to the job on offer. Give the Board details of your experience, illustrate it with examples, explain how it led you to develop your skills and then relate it to the position on offer. Show the Board how you would perform if you got the job. “As the first person customers met I had often bore the burnt of customer complaints before they were referred to the Customer Services Department. On one occasion I had to deal with a very angry customer. I managed to defuse the situation by remaining calm, bringing the customer to a quiet area, taking details of his complaint and assuring him of a prompt answer. As a result of this and other situations I have developed an excellent ability to handle awkward situations and remain cool. I believe that this is a key requirement for the position on offer. “ While this is a simple example you should be able to formulate your own answers based on the concept of showing how the skills and experience you have are relevant to the job on offer and how you would apply them.
- Try to convey enthusiasm. Show interest in the job and the company. Do not convey the impression that you want the job for the sake of getting a job or to enhance your own experience. The company are seeking someone who can contribute to their organisation not someone who wishes to use the company to enhance their CV.
- Avail of the opportunity to ask questions at the end of the interview. Avoid asking questions about information you should know about the position or the company. Never ask about the salary or working hours. These should have been made clear in the advertisement or job description. Instead refer to issues which arose during the interview. “I noticed you emphasised … Would this be a large part job”. You could also ask about the company’s future plans.
- With the advent of Equality legislation there are certain questions that interview board can no longer ask. These relate to your personal life. Questions about your martial status, your family status and other areas are no longer permitted. If a Board asks such questions or comments on these areas then they may be in breach of Equality legislation. Further details on what a Board may not ask can be obtained from the Equality Authority.
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