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Interview Tips - What Exactly Do They Want To Hear?

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Anyone got any decent tips for interviews, I'm completely useless at them but due to circumstances I need to find another job. Already had several which have been unsuccessful so does anyone do these for their job role and what exactly are you looking in the interview?

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The 2 best lines I ever read on a job interview tips thread (not here) was the response to the weaknesses question depending on how the interview is going:

Going well, respond with 'kryptonite'.

Not so well, respond with 'weaknesses, I ain't got no ******ing weaknesses and anyone that says otherwise is gonna get their ******ing heads kicked in!'

Granted, not many specialised jobs ask such a daft question though!

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Ha ha! Interviews. I am so good at them! Sometimes the fantasy tick list sounds like they want "Christ on a Unicorn". I am nothing like that! :blink: I just "do the job" for money! ;)

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Anyone got any decent tips for interviews, I'm completely useless at them but due to circumstances I need to find another job. Already had several which have been unsuccessful so does anyone do these for their job role and what exactly are you looking in the interview?

Find out what type of interview they're running. There tend to be three axis:

Technical

Personal

Made up crap

Traditionally interviews have had a bit of all three, but the made-up-crap is much more common than it used to be. eg, Capability interviews ('tell me an occasion when you've influenced somebody') / competency interviews are flavour of the month at the moment. Google them. For these you have to learn the tricks - once you learn the tricks/rules they're very doable.

Obviously the personal and technical sides can be important, but these are the two traditional interview skills areas - lots of information out there.

It doesn't actually help most people who need the help (like telling someone to calm down), but I find that the biggest deal is not to care* - if you aren't nervous you'll relax and appear more approachable, etc. You don't want to be a nervous wreck in an interview. But as I say, it is difficult to get to that state of mind.

Finally, it is probably a numbers game (depending on your work area) - it might be normal in your field to have 5 interviews per offer (say) - so don't get despondent after a couple of rejections.

*clearly you have to care a bit! Don't be rude, etc!

[that said, I once told someone on the panel in an interview that they were a psychopath. Quite a high-profile contract as well. Got it too!]

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It doesn't actually help most people who need the help (like telling someone to calm down), but I find that the biggest deal is not to care* - if you aren't nervous you'll relax and appear more approachable, etc. You don't want to be a nervous wreck in an interview. But as I say, it is difficult to get to that state of mind.

+1

Remember that most of the time the people sitting in front of you are also people. They might like hiking, boozing, sports, reading, sex, ladies of the night etc. etc. and they probably hate the grind as much as the next guy. If you get unlucky and have an interview panel that's absorbed in the role then it's probably not a job that you'll enjoy/want anyway.

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I don't interview people all that often but occasionally get asked to interview candidates for clients that I'm working for. I'd go with everything dgul says above in terms of the types of interview.

In terms of not caring, I'd always keep in mind that the people interviewing you are just normal employees doing their job, and while listening to your answers, probably have half their mind on what's for dinner that evening, what's going to happen on Eastenders and whether Doris from accounts was deliberately bending down at the photocopier to give them a good view of her assets. So a stress-head who looks desperate for the work / money is going to make them feel uncomfortable, and immediately categorise them as someone they would find difficult to work with. The vast majority of people just want to earn their money to pay their bills and get home and enjoy their life - the easier you can make that for them, the better.

Of course, in amongst them you've got your psychos who define their entire existence by their job title and eat, sleep and breathe their work. In those cases, I'd be questioning whether I wanted to work with them, not the other way around.

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+1

Remember that most of the time the people sitting in front of you are also people. They might like hiking, boozing, sports, reading, sex, ladies of the night etc. etc. and they probably hate the grind as much as the next guy. If you get unlucky and have an interview panel that's absorbed in the role then it's probably not a job that you'll enjoy/want anyway.

Lol, snap, sir :)

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Agree with the above. Dont give a ****** = instant impression of confidence. Tick in the box.

Also around the nonsense competency based ones - "Can you tell us a time.."

Just have a few examples ready to go. Do a google and there are only really a small number of standard examples that are regularly used.

Remember one of the main things with interviews that people forget is this:

They want to know if you will be a decent person to sit near and go out with for the odd beer now and again. Most interviewers will most likely be around you quite a lot. Even if you are not likeable - try to be !!

If you do have a bit of a dry sense of humour or can be fairly amusing - make this obvious on a few occasions. Not too much of course - but a few choice comments just to hint 'I am a good laugh' are hugely important.

Also - prior to the interview - try and put something in your CV that shows you are a decent laugh. Again - subtle and not too over the top - I add mine to the 'other interests section'.

After the usual stuff I add my little 'hint':

"Skiing, golf, running, drinking beer"

Again - nothing over the top - and not saying I like to get regularly smashed off my tits for a weekend - just just a wee hint to say 'I am a decent laugh'.

These things are hugely important and overlooked IMO.

My success rate in interviews is well above average - I rarely fail. I do think the above is central to this - of course if my experience and skills are up to scratch as well.

Or perhaps I am just amazing. :lol:

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I'm not amazing, but I'll be back! :unsure:

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Get into the interview room, when they're about to ask something say, "I'll just stop you there", whip your d ick out, say, "I think I've proved my point." Then walk out. Job in the bag.

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What feedback did you get from the unsuccessful interviews? Now might be a good time to ask if you haven't yet.

Bear in mind that you are almost never there to make up the numbers, because of policy, insert pet conspiracy theory here. No-one has time to waste nowadays. You're being interviewed because they think on the basis of the information you've given them, you have a decent chance of being able to do the job.

Find examples to support any claims you made in your application. Be prepared to deliver them succinctly without rambling. Many interviews are simply about confirming the information in your CV/application and see how well it matches the job description.

Interviewers are looking for someone who can fit into the existing team/culture. Try to research this as much as possible beforehand.

As an interviewer myself, I am regularly astonished how much people's applications resemble them in real life. BS filled application usually means someone you can catch out very quickly. Rambling application often means someone who cannot be pithy in real life.

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Agree with many of the points above. Another one I would add is make sure you show that you've researched the company - you can do this by dropping it into conversation or in asking a question at the end (and always have a question when they say "do you have any questions?"!). It's amazing home many people don't research the company. You can supplement this by going in with go a few notes/questions and a print-out from their web site - that shows both interest and thoroughness.

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I remember being interviewed by a whole panel, who had obviously been to Mr Benn's special dress up shop. I couldn't keep a striaght face! I didn't get that job! :blink:

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And the answer to "Where do you see yourself in 5 years" is not "In your job"

Smile, be honest. Take time to think before replying.

And wear clothes.

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And the answer to "Where do you see yourself in 5 years" is not "In your job"

Smile, be honest. Take time to think before replying.

And wear clothes.

I think the panel that interviewed me were usually in padded cells, and not usually allowed clothes or pencils.

I had at least ironed my face, had a "reasonable" tie on, and matching socks!

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