Has it Been a While Since you Had a Job Interview?

by | Nov 10, 2020

Are you nervous about interviewing for your next job? Do you often get down to the final shortlist for a job only to lose out and never really understand why? Or have you recently gone for an internal promotion and faced an interview panel for the first time in years?

Job interviews are a huge part of everyone’s career journey and are something that make many people nervous. No one teaches us how to prepare for a job interview. However, it is definitely possible to research and prepare for one.

As well as knowing your answers to common interview questions such as, “Tell me about yourself?” you must also prepare your stories.

How To Prepare

Firstly, get a copy of the job advert and highlight the 5 main things they are looking for. You will often find this under “key or essential requirements” and “to be considered” or “your experience”. Secondly, find the key words they are asking for, these will be mentioned a few times throughout the advert. Finally, write down 3 to 5 stories where you have done this over the last 5 to 7 years of your career.

Then, when you are asked an interview question such as “Tell me about a time you managed a major project and what your role in this was?” Your answer should be related to one of your pre-prepared stories. To help you refine your stories try using the STAR or CARL framework.

Using the STAR Framework

Your answer to this interview question might be something like this:

SITUATION –

In my current role at ABC company, 18 months ago there was a major project. The main part of this project involved merging 5 divisions within Australia into one central team that would be based in Sydney. I was the project lead for the Sydney team.

TASK –

My main focus was to ensure all stakeholders were engaged on the project. Above all else, it was crucial that Sydney was up and running as a stand alone site by January 2020.

ACTION

The first thing I did was set up weekly daily and weekly meetings with all 10 stakeholders to ensure that we were all on the same page. I invited them to email me their top 3 concerns or challenges.

One of the managers in South Australia was not keen on the change and I knew that he might give some push back. I called him directly and we had a good chat, and he discussed his concerns. I assured him that I would keep him involved in all the steps of the project.

Also, that he could call or text me at any time. I ensured him that all the main concerns that the stakeholders had were discussed and everyone was aware of them. I found that by keeping things very transparent they all felt included in the decision process. They were therefore more likely to help me and everyone else in the project.

RESULT

The result was that the project was delivered on time. All divisions were relocated into Sydney and running successfully from January this year. Having a clear communication plan upfront and including all the stakeholders really helped.

Using the CARL Framework

Or using the CARL framework, it might look like this:

CHALLENGE

In my current role at ABC company, 18 months ago there was a project that involved merging 5 divisions within Australia into one central team that would be based in Sydney. I was the project lead for the Sydney team. My main focus was to ensure all stakeholders were engaged on the project as I had to ensure that Sydney was up and running as a stand alone site by January 2020.

ACTION

The first thing I did was set up weekly daily and weekly meetings with all 10 stakeholders to ensure that we were all on the same page. I invited them to email me their top 3 concerns or challenges.

One of the managers in South Australia was not keen on the change and I knew that he might give some push back. I called him directly and we had a good chat, and he discussed his concerns. I assured him that I would keep him involved in all the steps of the project.

Also, that he could call or text me at any time. I ensured him that all the main concerns that the stakeholders had were discussed and everyone was aware of them. I found that by keeping things very transparent they all felt included in the decision process. They were therefore more likely to help me and everyone else in the project.

RESULT

The result was that the project was delivered on time. All divisions were relocated into Sydney and running successfully from January this year. Having a clear communication plan upfront and including all the stakeholders really helped.

LEARNING

My main learning from running this project was to ensure I have all stakeholders on board from day one. If there is anyone who isn’t on board then ensure I address this immediately. By doing this with the South Australia manager I feel that I averted a potential problem further down the track.

Common Mistakes

Remember to say “I” not “we” (a very common mistake!) The is important as the interviewers want to know what your role was.

Another common mistake is to answer the questions with a very general answer such as this: “in my previous company we had a lot of major projects and I was very involved in many of them. Because we were such a large company things changed quickly. Sometimes we would start a project and then it would not be completed on time because things would change……………………”

Answering the question like this is is not telling the interviewers anything about you and your skills and why they should hire you. They want to hear your stories and your previous experience.

Companies use this style of behavioural interviewing as previous experience is often an indicator of future actions. In other words, if you have done this previously and can demonstrate how, why and the result or outcome, then you might do similar for their company.

Practice Makes Perfect

Keep your answers to 2 minutes or less. Ensure you aim to sound relaxed and authentic, not like you are reading a script! Practice all your answers, video yourself and time yourself. Check out your own body language when you are speaking. Are you someone who constantly puts their hand through their hair, someone who always looks down or do you just look very tense!

All of these little things add up. Being aware of your body language and how you come across can be just as important as your actual answers. I worked with a client who was constantly pulling at her hair as if she was going to put her long hair into a ponytail, but she didn’t! It was very off putting (I politely told her. She was unaware how often she actually did this.)

Finally

If you struggle with how to prepare for a job interview, then this is where an interview coaching session can really help you. I often find that it is the small things that can be tweaked to encourage success.

My client Garry had this to say:

“Angela helped me get really well prepared for interview. She gave me material to structure my thoughts and experiences, and through one-on-one coaching, refined my answers and interview technique, giving me confidence for an upcoming ‘dream job’ interview. Angela was kind, clear and intelligent throughout the process. I got the job!”

And as another client told me, “Your resume might help get you the interview, but your interview technique will get you the job.”

Contact me today to hear how we can work together, and I can help you get that job offer too!

Job Search Tips That Work!

- Get RECRUITERS to notice you.

- Find the HIDDEN JOB MARKET.

- Nail that job INTERVIEW!

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