1. Interviewers don't want to hear your weaknesses, they want to see self-awareness
"What are your weaknesses?" This can be difficult to answer, but if you think about what the recruiter is looking to get out of the question, it can help you to give a response that makes you stand out. "The interviewers do not actually want you to start listing all your weaknesses and foibles," says career coach Sarah Archer, co-founder of CareerTree. "What they are looking for is for you to show self-awareness and an ability to learn and develop. So you need to pick a weakness that you know you have a strategy to overcome."
For example, your weakness may be that you struggle with attention to detail. "Explain that for these tasks you build in extra time for proof-reading and attention to detail. Choose something which is not essential to the role which is still a flaw and describe how you manage it," adds Archer.
2. If you're struggling to answer competency questions, draw a mind map
It can often be difficult to describe core competencies when put on the spot in an interview. However, there are innovative techniques you can use to prepare for these types of questions. "Brainstorm with a big piece of paper," says Claire Jenkins, job interview expert and founder of 121 Interview Coaching. "Put the competency in the middle and think about every time you've used it (inside and outside of work). It doesn't matter how trivial the examples are – use them to craft a better answer to the competencies employers look for." And if you don't have a direct example, think of examples which show similar, transferable skills.
3. Prepare two to three competency stories before an interview
Competency questions are now a standard part of the interview process. "The stories you tell about your experiences can demonstrate your past and predict future success. I encourage everyone to prepare a story to demonstrate everything they say, then pull out the story from your interview tool kit when you think the story will help," says Katherine Burik, founder of The Interview Doctor.
Competencies are characteristics that the company thinks will make the person a successful hire. "I suggest you note down before the interview two to three outcomes that will make the job successful. Select stories and experiences from your background that demonstrate you can deliver those characteristics."
4. Use all your contacts in the industry to prepare
The most important thing to remember for interviews is to prepare. "Make sure you know the role and the company inside out. And if you know someone in the industry, take the chance to grill them for information – the more knowledge you have of the sector, the more confident you will feel answering questions," says Margaret Buj, interview coach and author of Land That Job!
5. Don't ask your interviewer anything obvious
When asked if you have any questions, steer clear of anything you should already know the answer to (for example, anything that is on their website or career page), says Victoria McLean, CV writer and interview coach. Even though this is the end of the interview, this question is still an opportunity to sell yourself. "I like questions that demonstrate intelligence or strategic thinking. For example: how is the current (insert relevant issue) impacting the strategy of your business? How is the current economic climate affecting your client base/revenue streams/growth prospects?" Any general question you ask can be improved by tailoring it to the business you're applying to, adds McLean.
6. Master "the spotlight process" to ace your interview
The spotlight process is a technique taught for interviews to help you sound professional when you're put on the spot with a question. "For this process, handwrite your answers during preparation as you would speak them: don't worry about grammar or punctuation – keep it natural. Then put your answers away, ask yourself the questions one by one and answer from memory," says Jon Gregory, job coach and editor of win-that-job.com.
"The fact you've handwritten answers should help you remember, and the fact you write them in a spoken style, means you deliver them naturally. You'll quickly get to be able to mix and match from what's lodged in your memory, keeping your head clear and feeling confident."
7. If you have limited work experience, show more passion in interview
You may have an interview for a job you don't have experience of. If this is the case, look to gain experience at the same time as you are job hunting, says Dr Jill Miller, research adviser at the CIPD. "This could be getting some work experience in the industry you are applying to or doing some volunteer work. In this scenario it's also important to play up your other attributes and skills. "If you don't have work examples to illustrate all of the competencies for the job, use other experiences that you can draw on. What did you get involved in at university? How about holiday or weekend jobs you've done?"
Showing passion can also sometimes override experience. "If a company is going to take someone on with limited work experience, they look for inner drive and passion. For example, if someone says they have a passion for swimming, the first thing I would ask is for them to tell me more about it. How often do they swim, do they compete, why do they enjoy it so much? This helps to see if swimming is really a passion for them or if they just enjoy it as an occasional hobby," says Miller.
8. Show interviewers you can solve problems
You won't always be the most qualified candidate, however, you can still ace an interview by focusing on what skills you can bring to the role. "When up against individuals with more experience, focus on your strength and what you can bring to the role," says Anthony Takyi, head of graduate recruitment at Allianz.
"Potentially this could be an innovative way of approaching a difficult situation or fresh ideas you have coming from a different industry or straight out of university. This coupled with your being able to discuss what really excites and motivates you about the company will be very beneficial in helping you get the job."
Source of this article;