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Interview Tips For Candidates

This is your opportunity to prove you are the best person for the job. Don't blow it.

Be Professional

Have your resume, academic records, references and other supporting documentation, citizenship, passport etc. in a simple professional folder. Have copies ready to give to your prospective employer. Turn up on time. If you are delayed ring them and let them know.

Be Prepared

  • Do your research on the company. Check out their website. Ask people who may know something about them. Call in to see them & tell them you have an interview soon with them & would like some information about them so you can properly prepare for the interview
  • Ask lots of questions. There is nothing wrong with taking in a list of questions and working your way through. Even if you think you know the answer get confirmation. Keep your questions positive and about the job and company. Ask as if you already have the job. E.g. What will my working hours be? Who will I be reporting to?
  • Think about the questions you may be asked and prepare your answers. E.g. Why do you want to work for us? Why should we employ you? Why are you interested in this type of work? What are your greatest skills? What are your weaknesses?

Have Example 'Star Stories' Prepared

Situation Tactics Action Results

Think about the job you are going for and describe situations where you have done something similar before very well. For example: If you are going for a technical sales role give an example of how you have won over a difficult customer. The situation was... My tactics were and I planned to do this... The Action I took was... include here working as a team and how you brought in ideas from others and the Results. If it is for a lab role perhaps an example of how you balanced the technical requirements with the commercial.

Professional Presentation

First impressions only take a few seconds so make the most of it.

Take extra care with your personal presentation. Take a long look in the mirror; do you need to update your image? Get a haircut, update your suit, your makeup, and remember less is more? Always shower, brush teeth & wear deodorant - you will be nervous, you don't want body odour.

Keep jewellery and colognes to a minimum. If you have piercing - take them out. Most Science companies are conservative. Ensure your clothing is clean and immaculately pressed. Shoes shined so you can see your face in them. Matching socks. Women, no low cut tops, micro short skirts or inappropriate shoes. Men shave closely and wear a tie. A tiepin helps keep it in place.

Lots of eye contact and smile. Be pleasant, and positive they want to employ someone who will fit in with the rest of the team.

Have a firm and professional handshake. Offer your hand first

Sit up straight. Put your bottom at the very back of the chair, this forces you to sit up straight.

Ask For The Job

If you really want the job say so and ask for it!!! Wouldn't you want to employ someone who really wants to work for you? If you are not sure ask more questions. If you don't feel that this is the right job for you say so and withdraw. They appreciate your honesty.

Money

Always a difficult one. If you are going to the interview through Science People, we will handle this one for you. Otherwise, the etiquette is to wait until the employer brings it up.

Competency Based Interviews

Many employers now utilise competency based interviewing techniques. Here they are seeking to explore your technical and personal competencies. Some examples are: -

  • Commercial Acumen - Ability to understand the nature of business and that for you and everyone else to keep their jobs the organisation must make a profit. Vitally important in nearly all private and many public sector jobs now.

    Example question: Tell me about a time where you have had to change your work due to changing commercial aspects.
  • Adaptability - Flexibility and ability to work effectively in a changing work environment.

    Tell me about a time where you have had to adapt to a changing work environment.
  • Influencing - Ability to convince others to gain their acceptance of ideas and using appropriate methods.

    How have you convinced people who are initially negative to your ideas?
  • Planning & Organising - Ability to plan and prioritise your own and/or others work, effectively perform a number of tasks at the same time.

    If you were successful in the job how would you plan your workday, week, etc.? How would you prioritise your workload?
  • Quality Orientation - Getting it right.

    Give me an example of where in you last job you have proven your commitment to quality and getting it right?
  • Attention to Detail - Being able to dot your i's and cross your T's, taking care in getting the detail right. Enjoying precision.

    Tell me about a time where you attention to detail has been of great benefit?
  • Learning Orientation - Always looking to learn new skills and improve your performance.

    If you find that you do not understand something what do you do? What further training or study are you considering? What courses would you like to do?
  • Customer Service Focus - Understanding and working from a customer's viewpoint and meeting their needs.

    Tell me about a time where you have gone out of your way to ensure that the customer is happy. This can be an internal or external customer?
  • Initiative - Being proactive and coming up with new ideas, being self motivated.

    Tell me about a time where you have identified an area for improvement and implemented it?
  • Building Rapport & Relationships - Proactively building a good working relationship with colleagues and customers so everybody works well together.

    Tell me about a time where your good work relationships with colleagues or clients has been of benefit?
  • Analysis - Ability to work through a complex problem, researching information and issues, identifying cause/ effect and coming up with a solution.

    Tell me about a time where you have had to work through a complex problem, research the information and come up with a solution. How did you do it?
  • Decision Making & Judgment - Being able to come up with an appropriate decision, in a suitable time frame. Considering all the relevant information and appreciating the consequences of your decisions.

    How do you make decisions? Give me an example of how you have worked through a decisions making process?
  • Tenacity - The ability to stick to it. Doing what it takes, and not giving up, despite obstacles, to achieve the desired goal.

    Tell me about a time, where despite obstacles you have stuck to it and achieved your goal?
  • Delegation - The ability to realise that you can't do it all and delegate effectively to others.

    Give me a recent example of how you have effectively delegated work to others, and given them ownership of their jobs?
  • Leadership - Personal: the ability to get the best out of your people, providing guidance, inspiration and helping others to achieve their full potential.

    Tell me about your management style and how you get the best out of your staff?

    Strategic: seeing the big picture, creating and defining a compelling vision and organising others to pursue it.

    What do you consider to be the challenges facing our company and industry? If you were successful what would be your strategic goals?
  • Communication - Verbal: this will be generally assessed during the interview both on the telephone and in person. Speak clearly, articulately and concisely.

    Written: ability to express ideas and information in writing using appropriate structure, grammar and language tailored to the reader.

    Ask for examples of the candidates writing if this is a key area of the job.

Recommended Reading

PDF Download The ABC’s of Interviewing - By Shelia Spencer

PDF Download Candidate Dress For Success Check List (Women)

PDF Download Candidate Dress For Success Check List (Men)

'Brilliant Answers to Tough Interview questions' by Susan Hodgson, Prentice-Hall, London, 2002 (available from Angus & Robertson)

'What Colour is Your Parachute' by Richard Bolles - free from libraries and about $40 from bookshops

www.jobhuntersbible.com - for tips and free psychometric tests