Interview preparation

An interview is the final step between you securing your dream job. There are many types of interviews, from the free flowing to the formal. The one type of interview that you are likely to come up against at some point is the competency based interview.

They’re designed to make the job application process as objective as possible, removing any conscious or subconscious bias by the interviewer by asking each candidate the same questions. Some people feel this type of interview is more stilted – there can be less opportunity to build rapport. However, they are very common, especially in large organizations and the public sector, so it’s worth refining your technique.

Arcon Recruitment are here to ensure that you are fully prepared without best interview tips for a successful interview.

Interview Preparations with Arcon Recruitment Agency - Interview Advise

Researching the Company

During your Job Search, you may come across a specific job that catches your attention. Perhaps the roles description sounds like it would be a good fit for you and your career path goals.

The first thing you should do is ensure that your CV is tailored to the requirements of the job listing and then send them a copy of your Resume. Once your application process is complete, the company may respond to you by giving you a date for a job interview.

Before attending the interview it is crucial to know as much information about the business as possible. Your potential employer often requires you to know information about the aspects of the company prior to the interview process. Often you may be asked what information you know about the company during the interview process. Always ensure you fully do your research on the company before the interview.

Job Interviews

Upon arrival at your job interview, ensure that you have brought a copy of the CV and Cover Letter you applied to the role with. Be punctual, but not too early. Arrive with plenty of time before the interview to make sure you make a good impression on the potential employer. 

When you are called to enter the room for the interview, always ensure you are polite to the interviewer, present a smile and share their hand. Sit across from the interviewer and ensure that you are presenting good body language. Body language is an important indicator of your comfort, confidence and interest for interviewers. Be aware of your body language in your next interview to make the best possible impression.

Interview Questions

The common interview questions will be driven by a competency framework that’s required for the job. For example, a marketing executive may require problem-solving skills, or a job in customer services may require conflict management skills. 

Typical interviews tend to start with a variation of questions such as: “Tell me about a time when…“. This may sound simple, but in the heat of the interview it’s easy to give an unstructured answer, miss out key details, or let the story peter to a halt.

STAR Acronym

One way of avoiding an unstructured answer is by following the STAR acronym to structure your response. Here are two examples of how to implement the technique:

Example One:

A candidate for a marketing executive role might be asked “Tell me about a time that you solved a problem to a tight timescale.” Here’s how you could structure your response:

  • Situation – Set the Context for your Story.
    For example: “We were due to be delivering a presentation to a group of 30 interested industry players on our new product and the guy due to deliver it, got stuck on a train from Dublin”
  • Task – What Was Required of You
    For example: “It was my responsibility to find an alternative so it didn’t reflect badly on the company and we didn’t waste the opportunity.”
  • Activity – What You Actually Did
    For example: “I spoke to the event organisers to find out if they could change the running order. They agreed so we bought ourselves some time. I contacted another member of the team, who at a push could step in. She agreed to drop what she was doing and head to the event.”
  • Result – how well the situation played out
    For example: “Our guy didn’t make the meeting on time but we explained the problem to the delegates and the alternative presentation went well – a bit rough around the edges but it was warmly received. Our guy managed to get there for the last 15 minutes to answer questions. As a result we gained some good contacts, at least two of which we converted into paying clients.”

There are a few things to note with this response. It’s important to speak in specific rather than general terms and quantify your success. In this example, we mentioned 30 delegates, and quantified two contacts converted to clients. From a listener’s perspective, this makes the story more interesting and they are more able to gauge your success.

Undefined successes can make the answer less feel less convincing. Secondly, as there are likely to be many questions and interviewers have short attention spans, it’s important to keep your answers concise: convey the maximum achievement in the minimum time. Finally, it’s important to finish on a positive note so the overall impression is strong.

Example Two:

In a second example, a candidate for a customer services role is asked: “Describe a situation when you had to deliver excellent customer service following a complaint”

  • Situation: “A customer rang up complaining that they’d waited more than two weeks for a reply from our sales team regarding a product query.”
  • Task: “I needed to address the client’s immediate query and find out what went wrong in the normal process.”
  • Activity: “I apologised, got the details and passed them to our head salesperson, who contacted the client within the hour. I investigated why the query hadn’t been answered. I discovered that it was a combination of a wrong mobile number and a generic email address that wasn’t being checked. I let the client know and we offered a goodwill discount on her next order.”
  • Result: “The client not only continued to order from us but posted a positive customer service tweet.”
When the STAR structure is used at its best, it is invisible to the listener and it simply comes across as a well-articulated example. Create a bank of answers in this format in advance, so don’t struggle to do it on the day and can make it appear as seamless as possible.
The team at Arcon Recruitment wish you the best of luck with your job interviews and we hope that our tips help you to secure your dream role. Whether you are an entry level applicant or an individual seeking a career change, then be sure to take a look at the Arcon Recruitment current job vacancies.