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010 Interview Skills

Interview Skills | STAR Technique | Sample Questions

The purpose of an interview is twofold. On one side, an interview is a chance for an employer to hear more about your experience, skills and personality to see how you could be an asset to them. On the other, it provides you with an opportunity to learn more about the company and if the position and work environment they are offering is suitable for your own wants and needs.

Ensure that along with your employer research, you have thoroughly researched the role and know how your skills and experience suit the role. In order to excel, you will need to be enthusiastic about the role, persuasive about how you suit it and confident in your knowledge.

Types of interviews

phone

Remote: phone and video interviews

In some cases, remote interviews may involve you talking directly to a person or panel as you would in a traditional interview. In others, you may be a part of a large screening process where you answer pre-recorded or text-based questions, with your answers being recorded to be reviewed by recruiters at a later stage - in this latter case, think of this interview as an application form. You may not be able to receive answers to questions or gain more information.

Be confident and prepared:

  • Make sure you are in a quiet environment.
  • Ensure you have a good signal or steady connection - if you are having a video interview, be especially careful to practice taking a call in advance to test your video and sound quality.
  • Dress appropriately for video interviews, and keep your body language in mind.
  • Keep a copy of any relevant information (the role description, your CV) nearby.
inperson

Face-to-face

In-person interviews can be conducted on a one-to-one basis, or with a panel of managers and relevant employees. These interviews can follow a variety of different structures - ensure you have thoroughly researched as much about the company and process as you can in order to stave off nerves. Ensure you practice with a friend to note your body language and the confidence you have when answering questions.

Preparation Checklist

☐ Location and travel details

Do you know exactly where the interview will be taking place? Do you know how you will get there and how long it will take, allowing for delays?

☐ Date and time

Do you know exactly when it will take place? For remote interviews, allow an hour or two to ensure your environment is appropriate and your technology is working correctly. For face-to-face, aim to arrive 10-15 minutes early.

☐ Appropriate dress

Are you dressed appropriately? Even if conducting a video interview, ensure you are able to dress the part so the impression you leave is the right one. Check carefully if the employer has detailed a dress code, otherwise assume you should dress in smart business-casual or a work suit dependant on the role.

☐ Materials

Unless the employer asks you not to prepare anything, it is a good idea to have your CV for both yourself and the interviewer to refer to. Ensure you check to see if the employer has requested that you have anything else such as a portfolio, papers answering some questions for them, or a prepared presentation.

☐ Employer details

If possible, it’s a good idea to find out the names of those who will be interviewing you before going in for the interview. This will allow you to feel and appear more confident when you arrive and introduce yourself.

☐ Luggage

If you have travelled for this interview, ensure you have a plan regarding your luggage. If you need to have it with you, check with the employer if you can leave your luggage with reception so it is out of the way.

☐ Hydration
For phone or video interviews, be sure to have a drink of water nearby. Remember you can ask an employer for one if going for a face-to-face interview.

☐ Body language

Practice your body language including a firm introductory handshake (for in-person interviews). Practice sitting without fidgeting if it is an issue for you. Be sure you know how to appear open and confident.

☐ Questions

Use your research to prepare questions for the employer. Make a note to also ask about when you will hear back, or what will happen next. You may also like to practice asking questions to clarify what an employer has asked you if you are worried about mishearing or misunderstanding questions.

Leave a lasting impression

After you have completed your interview, you should have an idea of your interest in the role. If it is not for you, thank the employer for their time and see our later section on declining a job offer to gracefully let the employer know. Doing so at this stage rather than after a job offer can leave them with a favourable impression if you wish to take a role with them later, or if they have contacts with another employer you are applying with.

If you still wish to be considered for the role, it is a good idea to send a thank you letter to show appreciation and encourage the employer to talk with you further. Think of it as a follow up to show your enthusiasm and strengthen your suitability. Emailing your letter is preferable, as it arrives quicker and is not likely to be left unread for weeks in a pile of mail. You should send it no later than two days after your interview, but no sooner than a few hours after it.

Subject: Thank you - Marketing Internship interview

Dear Ms Lopez,

It was fantastic to meet you and members of your team today at the Lincoln Marketing Solutions offices. Thank you so much for the opportunity to talk to you all about the Marketing Internship position further and answering my questions.

This role is exactly what I have been looking for and I feel will really allow me to put my skills and experiences to good use with a company who cares about its people and mission. The way you spoke of your company’s culture in conjunction with what I already know of your community approach made it clear that Lincoln Marketing Solutions is a company I want to work for.

Further to our discussion, here is the case study I mentioned if you are interested in looking at it further: http://link.com

Thanks again for your time, I truly appreciate it. I hope to speak with you again soon - please let me know if there’s anything I can do or clarify to make your hiring decision easier.

Kind regards,
Johnathan Patch

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