Keep in mind that interviews are there to access the fit of your talents, knowledge, experience, strengths, leadership style and much more with the specific opportunity and unique culture of the hiring organisation. To succeed, you must demonstrate that you are a perfect fit in as many areas as possible.
Do not spend your preparation time memorising answers to questions you think you will hear. That approach will make you sound less than genuine and will leave you flat – footed when, as its likely to happen, you are asked a question for which you have not practised an answer. Rather invest your time working on key areas of interview study that will leave you prepared for any question you’re asked and give you an edge over your competition.
When preparing or any interview, doing the following will put you head and shoulders above your competition:
Define Your Core Values:
What is the greatest value you offer?
What makes you unique?
What sets you apart from others?
Spend some time thinking about these questions, then jot down five or ten core value statements phrased in terms of value to the company.
For example: If your greatest strength is leadership, rather than stating “I have great leadership skills”, expand on that in a quantifiable, meaningful way: “I am able to deliver exceptional results such as profit increases and revenue growth by inspiring and leading people to perform their assigned tasks exceptionally and do it with joy and passion.”
When choosing your core value statements, consider either of these simple formats to be sure that you are including both pieces:- The skill or expertise and the benefit:
1) “I am able to
2) “I have [ability / expertise / knowledge / experience / talent] that result in [benefits to the company].”
By crystallising your value into half a dozen areas of strength, you create a template of the key points to make during an interview. This will ensure that you’re clearly communicating the total picture of what you have offer.
Map Your Core Values to the Job:
Once you have clear statements that define what you offer, it is useful to compare how those match-up to the requirements of the job. While the ability to delegate is an important skill, it’s likely not to help you if the position you are being considered for is a small operation that requires a hands on Senior Manager.
Bring all your core values that match the job to the top of your list. A balanced ranking may help. For example: The core values that match up to the job get a ranking of one. The other values that do not match directly but remain ranked values get a ranking of two. The rest get a ranking of three.
Develop CAR (Challenge – Action – Result) Stories
The Challenge – Action – Result (CAR) story telling format is highly effective in communicating concrete examples to support general statements. Rather than telling the interviewer that you have excellent communications skills, tell a CAR story that illustrates the point. When asked how you would handle a situation, present your theory, then back it up with a CAR story that drives home the point.
CAR stories provide insight into your leadership and problem – solving style and often clarify ‘the how’ behind the what is on your CV. Using this format, you will find that you can tell your story naturally, without sounding rehearsing and will often be able to quickly call to mind a story that illustrates key point in the interview, even if you haven’t prepared it in advance.
Your CAR stories ideally should flow from your core value statement. For example, if leadership is your core value, in addition to crystallizing it in a value statement, you should also site a clear, real world example of how demonstrated the value.
Bone Up On Standard Questions:
Do not talk yourself out of the position before you have even spent five minutes in the interview. There are general questions such as “tell us about yourself” and “why are you leaving your current position” that every interviewee should be prepared for. The internet, bookstores and libraries are teeming with interviewing guides that present a long list of common questions and offer advice on how to answer them. When possible, incorporate one of your core value statements into your answer.
An interview is a high stress activity where it is crucial you perform your best. Preparation is the key to peak performance in any endeavour. Do not leave the preparation until the last minute, and be sure to practice in the areas that will give you the greatest pay-off.
At SearchSpecifics TRANSEARCH Africa, we assist our candidate in preparing for their interview and facilitate the process so that it is as stress free for candidates and clients as possible.