What to expect at Interview


Most interviews these days follow similar patterns and structure and in particular assess you against the following competencies:

Individual competencies – your personal attributes: Flexibility, decisiveness, tenacity, independence, risk taking, personal integrity.

Managerial competencies – taking charge of other people: Leadership, empowerment, strategic planning, corporate sensitivity, project management, management control.

Analytical competencies – the elements of decision making: Innovation, analytical skills, numerical problem solving, problem solving, practical learning, detail consciousness.

Interpersonal competencies – dealing with other people: Communication, impact, persuasiveness, personal awareness, teamwork, openness.

Motivational competencies – the things that drive you: Resilience, energy, motivation, achievement orientation, initiative, quality focus.

The STAR model will provide a structure to your answers:

Situation – describe a situation or problem that you have encountered.

Task – describe the task that the situation required or your ideas for resolving the problem.

Action – describe the action you took, obstacles that you had to overcome.

Results – highlight outcomes achieved.

Questions about…

Influencing or Persuading Others

Tell me about a time when you were able to change someone’s viewpoint significantly.

Tell me about a time when you were asked to do something that you disagreed with.

Interpersonal and Team Skills

What experience have you had working on a team?

What skills and personal qualities have you contributed to the teams you have been part of?

Tell me about a time when you used tact and diplomacy.

Tell me about the last time you had a disagreement with someone.

Tell me about the most difficult person you have worked with.

What have you disliked in your past jobs?

What kinds of people do you enjoy working with?

What kinds of people frustrate you?

What qualities do you admire most in others?

Communication Skills

Tell me about a time when you were successful in getting crucial information from another person.

Tell me about a time when someone misunderstand what you were attempting to communicate to them.

Personal Adaptability, Energy and Resilience

Tell me about a time when your work or an idea was criticised.

Tell me about a time when you felt under pressure.

Tell me about a time when you felt frustrated by your work.

Self-management, Self-motivation and Self-knowledge

Tell me about a time when you acted over and above the expectations of your role.

What have you done that shows initiative and willingness to work?

What are your three major accomplishments?

What does “success” mean to you?

What does “failure” mean to you?

What motivates you to put forth your greatest effort?

What are your interests outside work?

Tell me about a major problem you have encountered and how you dealt with it?

Problem Solving and Decision Making

Tell me about a difficult decision that you have made.

Tell me about an unpopular decision you have made.

What significant problems have you faced in the last year?

How do you work under pressure?

What impact do you think…will have on our business?

How would you motivate an employee who was performing poorly?

Conflict Management and Ethics

How do you resolve conflict in the groups or teams that you membership of?

How would you resolve a dispute?

Tell me about a time when you bent the rules. When is it okay to do so?

Personal and Career Objectives

What are your short and long-term goals?

What are the most important things you are seeking in a career?

What person do you admire most and why?

Why do you want this position?

Knowledge of the Organisation and Role

Why did you apply for this position?

What skills and personal qualities are essential for success in this role?

What would you like to know about this organisation?

What do you believe you can contribute to this organisation?

What do you know about our organisation?

Why are you interested in working for our organisation?

In what kind of a work environment are you most comfortable?

Tell me about a time when you have been managed in a good or bad way.

What qualities should a successful manager possess?

Describe the relationship that should exist between a supervisor and those reporting to him or her.

What problems do you feel you will have fitting into the job?

Work Experience

Tell me about the best job you’ve ever had.

What did you enjoy most or least about your last job?

What extra-curricular activities are you involved in?

Academic Experience

If you were hiring a graduate for this position, what qualities would you look for?

Ability, Competence and Achievement

What two or three accomplishments have given you the most satisfaction? Why?

What do you feel qualifies you for this position?

Stress Questions

How do you react to criticism?

Can you accept criticism for poor work?

What causes you to lose your temper?

Aren’t you overqualified for this role?

How long would you expect to remain with this organisation?

What salary are you expecting?

Questions for your interviewer

Whilst preparing to answer the above as part of the interview process it is just as important to get yourself a good batch of questions to ask your interviewer or interview panel too.

Remember that they need to persuade you to join them as much as the other way around!

Ask them why they joined the company, if you are meeting the Owner of the company ask them why they started it.  

Ask them what they have done well and what they would do differently or better next time around.

Importantly ask them to describe what the ideal person for this job role looks like in this role from an experience and character perspective.  

If it is a replacement for somebody leaving then ask them why the other person is leaving/has left?

A good interview is always a two-way process and remember to enjoy the experience!

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