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Interview Tips and Tricks

Tips and tricks before interview

An interview is not a lottery. It is a competition. It is a direct competition between you and the other applicants going for YOUR JOB! On paper you can do the job in question that is how you got the interview. Win the competition on the day and the job is yours.

Be curious!

Research into the company: research the company, by taking the time to ask different questions based on accurate research really do make the difference. Remember that an interview is as much about you meeting them as it is about them meeting you. Ring the company and ask for their product sales literature, look up their web site and read the trade press. You will not be expected to know everything about the company, you can take plenty of questions into the meeting with you, however, before you go in you should be able to obtain the following information from their website and the construction press (Building magazine, the contract journal etc).

You can use following questions:

  • “Who owns the Organization?“
  • “What does it do?“
  • “Does it have any other offices?“
  • “How many employees does it have?“
  • “Is the company profitable?“
  • “What is the reputation within the industry?“
  • “Who are its main competitors?“

Crucial Preparation: don’t forget, your are selling yourself in an interview, in the same way working for a consultancy you will be selling to your clients, your interviewer will be likely to test your objection handling skills. Think about the questions you dread or would least like to come up; invariably they will, and now is the time to think of a positive response, BEFORE the interview. Plan your route to the meeting and aim to get there 20 minutes early.

Be confident!

Preparing questions for the interview:

Write all of your questions down in a folder and take it into an interview. Make sure you say to your interviewer “I hope you don’t mind, I have written down some questions and that I will be taking some notes through out as I just want to make sure I cover everything thoroughly today.” This won't make you look lazy, but will make you seem thorough and that you are taking the opportunity during the interview to find out 100% if this is a company you want to work for.

The questions should be based around your long-term future at the company, some good examples:

  • “Where can I see myself in a year, 3 years, and 5 years?” 
  • “What would you expect from me if I came to work for you?”
  • “Can you give me examples of people in the past who have entered at my level and gone on to senior ranks”? This makes you come across as ambitious.
  • “What is it like working for (company), why would someone particularly want to work for your company?” Let them sell back to you. This shows you are enquiring seriously into the office atmosphere, employee benefits etc.

These should be covered in the meeting, but make a note just in case they are not:

  • “What (and who) will you be accountable for?“
  • “What skills must you have?“
  • What knowledge and experience are needed?”
  • Who will you report to?”

Some questions they are likely to ask:

These are questions that come up in interviews for all industries and you can be sure you will be asked something similar as they get to the “nitty gritty”, of the type of person you are and the strength of your character. If you do not know answers these before the interview, you will struggle:

  • "Can you name 3 strengths and 3 weaknesses about you as a person?" (Do not say anything detrimental to you, all negatives should be from the past and you should give an example of how you overcame them). E.g. “I used to struggle with time management. The first stage was to identify this as a weakness. From then on, I now use as habit, a day/ week/ month plan with targets to reach as a performance indicator.”
  • "Can you give an example of challenges you have met in your life and how you dealt with them?" (Work and private life examples).
  • "How would your work colleagues describe you?"
  • "Tell me about yourself/ how would you describe yourself?" (This is a massive question! And surprisingly difficult to answer on the spot, but if you cannot sell yourself, what can you sell! Have plenty of material for both these questions covering your working and private life. I would expect a 5 minute answer from someone I interviewed.

Think positive!

Remember: THINK POSITIVE - it is not what you have not got, but what you have that the company will be interested in. Best prepared applicant usually gets the job.

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