I was glued to my telly on Sunday night watching The Apprentice finalists getting a grilling from Lord Sugar’s aides in the hope of becoming the millionaire’s business partner.
Thankfully, those of you who have been invited for a training contract interview are unlikely to face such tough questioning (although saying that I have known of at least one graduate recruitment partner who has made a candidate burst into tears). Saying that, your performance at an interview or assessment day will ultimately determine whether you get hired.
There’s not denying that your interview technique does improve with practice. However, there are still lots of things you can do from the outset to make sure you shine. Below are just some of them:
Turn up on time.
Dress appropriately (a dark suit is easiest and ladies avoid showing too much cleavage and opt for a sensible hemline).
Answer the question that is being asked - if you don’t understand the question then ask the interviewer to repeat it.
When answering competency-based questions use the STAR approach - Outline the situation (S) for the interviewer and set the scene. Tell them the task (T) in hand. Break down your actions (A) in detail, outlining your thought process. And don’t forget to talk through your results (R), ensuring these are quantifiable and measurable.
Avoid waffle - for instance, it’s tempting to lengthen a perfect answer just to fill the awkward silence, which always feels longer than it actually is.
Don’t dunk your biscuit in a hot drink.
Take a sip of water if you need to think about an answer.
Ask intelligent questions that demonstrate your commitment to the job.
Be enthusiastic but don’t act too cocky.
And most importantly be yourself.
For more top tips on interviews and assessment days check out our Survival Guide.
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