Interview Technique

by Heat Recruitment

Giving Presentations at Job Interviews

Heat Recruitment has developed a guide to preparing and conducting presentations for Job Interviews. By the Interviewer giving you the chance to present at an Interview, you should be able to put together a presentation that allows you to positively demonstrate your skills and competencies that are reflected in the Job Description.

Presenting to the Interviewer(s) is a great opportunity to stand out from the crowd.

It is understandable that you might find this presentation process of Interviewing daunting as your skill set will be scrutinised without answering a direct question. You can avoid feeling nervous by ensuring that you set aside the time to plan and prepare the presentation thoroughly so as to give yourself the all important advantage

THE RULE OF THREE

Everything you say about yourself must be touched upon terms of what it will mean for the employer. You must prepare and present everything about yourself so that you are irresistibly relevant to the needs, aims and challenges of the organisation

Below is a guideline to structure your presentation:

  1. Introduction or aims
  2. The points you want to make (three, subdivided if necessary)
  3. Summary – and ideally an impressive memorable finishing statement

Three Big Points; especially for a surprise presentation when you only have a few minutes to prepare.

  • Brainstorm (jot down as many relevant ideas for the three outcomes as you can).
  • Decide and confirm if at all possible, reducing these down to the 3 biggest outcomes that the Interviewers are seeking from the person to be appointed into the role.
  • Then hit them hard with how you will achieve each of the 3 big outcomes – and how you and they will assess the effectiveness of the solutions. (Assessment is crucial to awareness, validation and control).

PRESSURE QUESTIONS

Heat Recruitment has put together a list of 3 styles of pressure questions that usually arise in most Interviews.

Most Interviewers like to see how Interviewees react under pressure and use questioning techniques that encourage you to react with an answer that could be interpreted as negative.

A competent Interviewee should be able to see these pressure questions and ensure that any negative is turned into a positive, reflecting favourably on the Interviewee.

When dealing with questions that put pressure on you, always look to answer with credible and constructive (accentuate the positive) examples. To do this you should prepare examples that cover the three most commonly used types of stress questions;

FAILURE QUESTIONS

Tell me about your failures? / What are your greatest weaknesses?

“I am not used to failure and am unable to think of an example. I almost always succeed because I plan and manage accordingly. If something’s not going right I’ll change it until it works. The important thing is to put the necessary processes in place that enable me to see if things aren’t going to plan, and to make changes if and when necessary”

“If I am unable to understand a certain issue or solve a problem, I will turn to those with more knowledge on the subject and source resolutions from my peers or from researching the subjects ? I find this helps me to achieve my objectives and avoid failure”

Another way to answer such a question is to draw on the experiences of a scenario where you didn’t achieve a specified goal. Discuss what you learnt from the situation, how it made you feel and what measures you put in place to ensure it didn’t happen again.

BLAME QUESTIONS

Why did you leave your last job? / What are your thoughts on your last employer? / Why have you had so many jobs?

If asked about previous jobs at no point should you look to discredit your previous employers, generally speaking people don’t want to hire those who are happy to speak ill of others. If you take the course of action of blaming others you risk being seen as someone who fails to take responsibility for your own actions and decisions.

Employers are looking for Interviewees that take decisive action, take responsibility, demonstrate initiative and come up with answers, not problems.

This process is always about expressing positive reasons and answers when faced with question that have negative connotations.

Always look to praise pas employers and advise how much you enjoyed working with certain people. Keep your praise and observations credible, realistic and relevant.

Examples of Answers:

“I was ready for more challenges within my professional career”

“Each job offered me better opportunities to improve both my technical knowledge and skill set as well as furthering my career”

“I wanted to broaden my experience as quickly as possible before really looking for a serious career, which is why I’m here”

PROVE IT QUESTIONS

Have you any experience in ‘such-and-such’? / Have you ever dealt with ‘x’ product before? / Have you used Excel sheets? / Have you ever lead change in an organisation?

Remember these questions are easy to answer if all the Interviewer wants is a simple “yes” or “no” to the answer. If you answer yes you will be expected to provide an example of how you dealt with a situation or when you used certain IT products such as excel.

To ensure that you have examples for these question, read through the job description thoroughly; understand the responsibilities, skills, experience and behaviours required for the organisations requirements. When reading through the requirements develop examples from your previous experiences that will allow the Interviewer to see your transferable skills.

You can even take papers or evidence material with you to show, having hard evidence, and the fact that you’ve thought to prepare it, greatly impresses Interviewers.

If you don’t have the example required, ensure that you don’t bluff. Convince the Interviewer that you are able to grasp new concepts and processes quickly through using an example that can demonstrate this from your experiences. Give an example of where previously you’ve taken on a responsibility without previous experience or full capability, and made a success, by virtue of using other people’s expertise, or fast-tracking your own development, knowledge or ability.

You should be able to deal with any of these style questions by ensuring that you carry out thorough research and preparation. The key in these situations is to keep control, take time to think for yourself – don’t be intimidated or led anywhere you don’t want to go. Express every answer in positive terms.

Good Questions to Ask at an Interview

Through years of experience within the Recruitment Market, Heat Recruitment has accumulated a list Good Questions to ask the Interviewer. Asking appropriate and insightful questions makes you stand out from other candidates and keeps you fresh in the mind of the Interviewer (decision maker).

Avoid yes or no questions and avoid questions that are so broad that they are difficult to answer. You don?t want to stump the Interviewer when you?re trying to make a good impression and develop rapport.

The following example questions are a guide, designed to get you thinking about appropriate questions that are relevant to the role requirements that you are Interviewing for. The types of questions listed are appropriate for Interviewees attending an Interview for junior-to-middle ranking roles. If you are Interviewing for more strategic roles with executive responsibilities you will need to raise more challenging questions that encompass the strategic and operational responsibilities of the position sought.

The aim of you taking in a list of well thought out questions is to make the Interviewer think (always relative to the role), “Wow, that’s a good question”.

Interviewers and the organisations that they represent want to recruit and hire people into their vacant roles, people who can join and make a positive difference to the Company. By asking well-prepared and thoughtful questions, you can demonstrate that you are one of these desired people.


Can you tell me more about the day-to-day responsibilities of this job?

By learning more about the day-to-day tasks, you will gain a greater insight into what specific skills and strengths needed and you can address any topics that haven?t already been covered. It is essential that you clearly understand your role and the tasks that you would be expected to undertake. It is easy to make assumptions and get the wrong impression of what the work would be so it is vital for both sides that there is clarity in what is expected of you.


What do you think are the most important qualities for someone to excel in this role?

This question can often lead to valuable information that’s not in the job description. It can help you learn about the Company culture and expectations so you can show that you are a good fit.


What are your expectations for this role during the first 30 days, 60 days, and year?

Find out what your employer’s expectations are for the person in this position. This will allow you to once again sell your experience of how you would handle these expectations (Positively)


Could you describe the culture of the Company for me?

Are you a good fit for this particular organisation? Make sure you are comfortable with the culture and the dynamics of the Company. Here you are signalling that you want to be able to operate at your optimum and understand that for this you require a positive environment. In turn, this can indicate that you are a good self-manager who is aware of how to get the best out of yourself.


Where do you see the Company headed in the next 5 years?

If you plan to be in this role for several years, make sure the Company is growing so you can grow with the Company. This question also shows that you are thinking ahead and can only be seen as positive as it is demonstrating you are actively interested in the business direction as a whole.


Who do you consider your top competitor, and why?

You should already have an idea of the Company’s major competitors, but it can be useful to ask your Interviewer for their thoughts. Naturally, they will be able to give you an insight that you can?t find anywhere else. If in the question you mention one of the competitors it shows the Interviewer that you have carried out your research.


What are the biggest opportunities facing the Company / Department right now?

This question shows your drive to seize opportunity and may help you learn more about where the Company will be focusing over the coming months.


What are the biggest challenges facing the Company/department right now?

On the flip side, you may want to ask about challenges. This question can help you uncover trends and issues in the industry and perhaps identify areas where your skills could save the day. This sort of question takes the Interview away from the detail and towards strategic issues. It allows to you see and discuss the bigger picture. It can lead to interesting discussions that can show you in a good light, especially if you have done some intelligent preparation. Where appropriate you can follow up this question with some questions about the objectives of the department and the manager who is Interviewing you.


Ask the Interviewer when did they join the Company? What attracted them to the Company? What do they like best about working for this Company?

Ask about your Interviewer’s personal experience for additional insight into the Company’s culture. This is a great question as you should get an honest insight and you should be able to judge how much the Company actually invests in their staff. People like to discuss their successes and allows you to build rapport with the Interviewer.


What are the opportunities for training and career advancement?

This question serves two purposes. It helps you to understand where the job might lead and what skills you might acquire and also signals that you are ambitious and thinking ahead.


You mentioned there will be a lot of presenting, researching and liaising; what do your most successful people find most satisfying about this part of the role?

This question can serve two purposes. Firstly, it demonstrates your listening skills and secondly, it can associate you with being successful in the role and finding it satisfying.


Can you please tell me how the role relates to the overall structure of the organisation?

With this question you are drawing attention to a preference for teamwork. It looks as though you want to know where you would fit in and how your contribution would affect the rest of the Company.


May I tell you a little more about my particular interest in communicating with clients/developing new ideas/implementing better systems ..?

Okay, so this is a cheeky and obvious way of getting permission to blow your own trumpet but then that’s what this Interview is all about.


How many people work in this office / department?

Shows the Interviewer that you are thinking ahead and allows you to understand if it is the right sized environment in which you enjoy working within and could flourish.


What are the next steps in the Interview process?

This question shows that you are eager to move forward in the process.

QUESTIONS NOT TO ASK AT AN INTERVIEW!

Heat Recruitment has developed the following guide of questions that you are recommended NOT to ask at an Interview.So many candidates with the right skill set, behaviours and cultural fit fall down when the Interviewer asks “Do you have any questions for me?”

This section of the Interview provides the Interviewee with the following opportunity…

  • To demonstrate that they have listened carefully and understood what has been discussed
  • Show they have researched the Company and the industry
  • Express to the Interviewer a genuine interest in the opportunity available
  • To build rapport with the Interviewer (Decision Maker)
  • Can open up further opportunities to explain why they would be suitable for the vacancy

On the other hand, the following questions could leave a Negative impression with the Interviewer.

These are warning-sign questions to most Interviewers. An Interview is the opportunity to sell yourself and demonstrate to the organisation that you are the perfect fit for their specific requirements. The questions above would suggest to a potential employer that you have not researched the requirements and / or Company and are merely interested in what the Company can provide you with and not what you can bring to the Company.

Interviewers want to meet and recruit Interviewees who match the skills needed within the Company and will have a positive impact on the team, department and organisation.

Should a prospective employer send out any written information prior to the Interview, it is vitally important to read it. This is because in addition to any logistical matters of importance, it is also likely to include and specific guidelines for the Interview and in particular the Company’s expectations of Interviewees.


How many weeks holiday do I get?

— More interested in holiday rather than the role and making an impact on the business


When would I get a pay-rise?

— Only interest in monetary gain, rather than job satisfaction of doing a good job


What are the lunch times?

— This will be provided when you are offered the job and has no relevance to selling yourself


What sort of car do I get?

— Not crucial to the role, shows you are only interested in status objects


What other perks are there?

— Interested in Monetary gain at the expense of the employer


What are the pension arrangements?

— More interested in the monetary aspect rather then the role itself


Do you have a grievance procedure?

— Demonstrates that you’ve had issues in the past and can leave the Interviewer with a negative view


What expenses can I claim for?

— Only interested in what you can get out of the employee


How soon before I could get promoted?

— You are not interested in the current role and you just see it as a stepping stone


When does the working day finish?

— A lack of commitment to getting tasks done / doesn’t show you will go the extra mile


When am I entitled to paid sick leave?

— Show’s that you are only interested in yourself and are planning to take time off


Do I get smoking breaks?

— This shows a lack of commitment to a business and prioritisation


What kind of Healthcare Insurance can I expect?

— You are likely to take time off sick


What does this Company do?

— Do your research ahead of time!


If I get the job when can I take time off for a holiday?

— Wait until you get the offer to mention prior commitments


Can I change my schedule if I get the job?

— If you need to figure out the logistics of getting to work don’t mention it now…


Did I get the job?

— Don’t be impatient. They’ll let you know.


What is the salary you are offering?

— Let the Interviewer approach this subject