INTERVIEW TIPS Interview questions tend to start with a variation of
Interview questions tend to start with a variation of, "Tell me about a
time when..." or “Tell me about yourself...” 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. It is important to keep your
responses carefully structured to highlight your relevant experience that
matches the job description (stories to demonstrate competency).
Responses should be specific and succint... avoiding the temptation to
digress with non relevant stories. Stay on topic and remember this is not
a coffee chat however comfortable the interviewer makes you feel.
One way of avoiding this is by using the STAR acronym to structure your
response. Here's how:
• Situation – set the context for your story. For example, "We were due to
be delivering a presentation to a group of 30 modern retail
industry leaders on our new product and the Marketing manager
due to deliver it, got stuck in a traffic jam.”
• 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, "The Marketing
Manager didn't make the meeting on time but we explained the
problem to the delegates and Riana's presentation went well – a
bit rough around the edges but it was warmly received. Stuart
managed to get there for the last 15 minutes to answer questions.
As a result we gained some good networking contacts, at least
two of which we converted into sales by follow up negotiations
• Speak in specific rather than general terms and quantify your success.
Give the names of the people involved and quantify your
• Value proposition – “You” are the product here to successfully launch.
Talk about what you have achieved in the past and what you
can do for the company in the future.
• From a listener's perspective, this makes the story more interesting and
they are more able to gauge your success. Nameless figures and
undefined successes can make the answer less feel less
• As there are likely to be many questions and interviewers have short
attention spans, it's important to keep your answers succint and
specific: convey the maximum achievement in the minimum
• It's important to finish on a positive note so the overall impression is
• You can also share any mistakes you have made and how you
learned from them for continuous improvement.
• Throughout the interview reflect your strong interpersonnal skills
through active listening. Convey a team player who is able to
openly share and debate ideas.
• Research about the job and the company - web sites, press releases,
• Present a professional image - dress appropriately, be punctual,
phone to silent
• Show enthusiasm, passion “excitement” and confidence - shine bright
like a diamond
• Talk about how the position aligns to your person career and life goals
• Prepare & Rehearse key questions - monitor the “talk time ratio”
• Pitch your vision of the role and how you can make an impact that
• Discuss your understanding of the road blocks to the vision and your
strategies for over coming Don’ts:
• Don’t treat the interview casually
• Don’t falsify your responses to interview questions
• Don’t make negative comments about your previous employer
• Don’t start your questions with salary and benefits
• Don’t get hung up on the position’s title or situation in the organization