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Preparing for a successful interview

Preparation, preparation, preparation. The key to success no matter which role you are interviewing for, there is always a chance to standout from the rest with a little bit of reflection and planning time. Overall every company is mainly looking to interview candidates to find out if you can do the job, do you have a passion to really want to and will you fit in around here. So these are the aspects that you need to call out - experience and skill, why you chose this company, why you want this role and your personal fit to the culture.

Know your role and the organisation

Search on Linkedin and the company's website including the businesses annual reports for relevant information. If you even get a chance to speak to someone in your network who previously worked there, they will give you a great insight into the culture and organisation. While you are researching the company values, objectives and recent news, jot down some points and respective questions as they can be a great source for asking at the interview.

Getting prepared for your interview questions

You will likely encounter an interview that combines behavioural and situational/scenario based questions. Behavioural questions usually start with give me an example of a time when or how you etc. It is about how you dealt with an issue in the past or what behaviour . If you don't have experience, it may also be what would you do in a situation where etc. Situational questions raise a situation which is common in the role and asks you what you would do in that scenario.

To get ready with greater confidence, review the role description and start to pull out your relevant history for great examples that bring to life your capability and skills that the role is asking from you. In a word document or notes on your iphone, type up proper answers to at least 8-10 questions or really they will become your STAR achievements. Pick from the below list to ensure you have all the key areas covered. This can be an ongoing document that you refer to before an interview, and try to memorise your responses.

Use a simple structure of S.T.A.R

SITUATION - where were you, who was the situation with and what it was about. Create good quick context.

TASK - what was your challenge or opportunity at hand and your goal. Be specific with the key main task.

ACTION - what did you actually do, talk about how you did it, what information you sourced. Remember always say "I". Take ownership of your example, as interviewer will always want to know what your specific part you played in the outcome.

RESULT - how successful was the outcome. If it was a negative outcome, speak about what you learned for next time.

Examples of Interview Questions
  1. Problem Solving: Describe a time when you took the initiative to resolve a problem that had a significant impact to the business? What information did you use? What did you consider?

  2. Attention to detail/Problem Solving: Tell me about a time you identified errors in your work. How did you remedy the situation and what did you learn for the future?

  3. Teamwork & Project Management: Tell me about a time when you were required to work with a group of new people on a project/task, and things didn't go to plan. What did you do, and how did you turn it around?

  4. Client Focus: Tell me about a time when you over-delivered against the client's needs?

  5. Client Focus: Give an example of a difficult client that you have encountered. How did you deal with the situation?

  6. Drive for results: Tell me about a time when you had to motivate yourself/or others in a project team to get work done. How did you do this? What was the result?

  7. Drive for results: Tell me about something you have done at work which made your performance stand out?

  8. Motivation: Can you give me an example of when your perseverance has led to positive results?

  9. Planning: Can you give me an example of when your workflow has increased and how you structured your day to manage this?

  10. Planning: Tell me about a time when you weren’t able to meet a deadline. What did you do?

  11. Conflict Management: Give me an example of a problem you have had with a work colleague or manager.

  12. Decision making: Tell me about a time that you had to make an unpopular decision. How did you manage this?

  13. Leading Others: Tell me about a time where you had a difficult employee not performance, how did you manage?

For any further assistance in getting ready for your next interview, FinPoint Partner's consultants are more than happy to provide any advice and guidance in the Professional Services & Financial Services sectors. Contact us at info@finpoint.com.au.

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