Interview techniques


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Preparing for interviews

There is no easy formula for how to perform the perfect interview. However, candidates who do well are typically those who have prepared well. They will have researched their prospective employers business and their competitors, the position they are going for and have matched their experience to the skills the employer requires.


One frequent observation made by interviewers is how impressive it is to talk to a candidate who has shown enough interest to find out more about the company than its name and address. A great deal of information on the company and the position you are going for can be obtained from your Lynx consultant. Consultants know the company and the nature of their business and can provide you with a detailed job spec. They also have access to specialist databases where they can source company information on your behalf. Other information can be found in careers services on the Internet, or directly from the company. Questions that remained unanswered by your initial investigations can be asked in the interview, however, basic questions will reveal your lack of research - make sure your questioning is intelligent.

Analyse your suitability for the role

Review your experience and qualifications in terms of the specific job. Pick out the skills the employer is looking for and be prepared to give examples of situations in which you have demonstrated these skills.

Tackling the interview

The preparation and research you have undertaken will stand you in good stead on the day of the interview. Make sure you arrive early and are smartly dressed. It helps to have some information about yourself that you can leave behind; your CV, references or some case studies of your work. This might provide a focus for the interview and will ensure you leave something tangible of yourself with the interviewer. Other useful tips include;

* Prepare your own questions

The interview is just as much an opportunity for the employer to find out about you as it is for you to find out about them. Intelligent questions will also give an insight into the type of employee you will be.

* Prepare answers for the standard interview questions such as:

"What would you bring to the role ahead of other candidates?"
"What are your strengths and weaknesses?"
"Where do you see yourself in five years?"
"Tell me about yourself"

* Body Language

This is also very important during an interview, you should sit up right maintain eye contact and when appropriate a strong, firm handshake promotes confidence.

* Listen and respond

Asking questions that are linked to subjects covered in the interview show that you have been listening and will impress the interviewer.

* Communication Skills

You should try to avoid one-word answers and attempt to enter into a two-way conversation with the interviewer. Good grammar and speech are also essential and slang should be avoided.

After the interview

Immediately after the interview take a few minutes to write a summary of what happened while it is fresh on your mind; the names of people you met and a description of the job duties. Write down the portions of the interview that went well and those that caused you some problems (If you're called back this analysis will help make your next meeting even more successful, if not you'll be better prepared for an interview with someone else). Report to your Lynx consultant as soon as possible. We need to know how the interview went so that we can be more effective in talking to the employer about you.

And finally...

Keep in close touch with your Lynx consultant during the interviewing process. Each of our consultants has many years' experience of the IT & Technology Sales industry, which you can call on at any time. They will help you make the most of your skills and qualifications and get the position you really want

Frequently Asked Questions

The key to a successful interview is preparation and it is advisable to put together a bank of examples and prepared answers. Although you may not be able to repeat them verbatim, you should be able to use them as a basis for the vast majority of the questions posed.

The structure of an interview very much depends on the interviewer and their preferred approach. Some may prefer an informal method and will have a chat over a cup of coffee, whilst others may prefer the less popular 'stress interview' firing aggressive and sometimes insulting questions at you to see how you react. No matter what the interviewer’s preferred method, remember they are all trying to find the same information: Can he/she do the job? Does he/she really want the job? and finally will he/she fit in, culturally within the organisation?

Below are just a few of the most popular questions asked at interview:

Company / job specific questions

* What do you know about our organisation / industry / competitors / products?
* What key qualities do you feel are important in this role?
* If successful, how will you approach this role and what key issues will you address in the first three months?
* In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge facing our organisation / sector at the moment?

Biographical interview

* Tell me about yourself?
* What are you strengths?
* What are you weaknesses?
* What five adjectives would you use to describe yourself?
* Why are you leaving your current job?
* Why have you applied to us?
* What motivates you?
* Where do you see yourself in five years / ten years?
* What is your greatest achievement?
* Do you prefer to work as part of a team or independently?
* We have had applications from a number of highly qualified candidates, why should we hire you?
* If I were to speak to your family / friends / boss, how would they describe you?
* What is your management style?
* What do you enjoy about your current role?
* What do you dislike about your current role?
* What element of this role do you think you would dislike the most?
* What type of boss do you prefer?
* What is your current remuneration?
* What are your salary expectations?
* What is your biggest disappointment?
* What other jobs have you applied for and at what stage in the recruitment process are you at?
* Why did you choose this career?

Competency based interview

These questions will almost always start with 'Give me an example of when you...'

* took a difficult / unpopular decision and how did you deal with this
* disagreed with your boss and what action did you take to address the dispute
* were part of a badly performing team and how did you address this
* demonstrated initiative
* identified and addressed a serious operational / financial problem
* delivered results within a highly pressurised situation

Stress interview / difficult questions

* You seem a little over qualified?
* You seem a little under qualified?
* This role requires extensive sales experience, but this does seem to be lacking in your CV?
* You have a number of employment gaps in your CV?
* How do you feel this interview is going?
* Some people may consider your attitude to be a little 'cocky' - what would you say to this?
* What is the biggest mistake you have ever made?

Finally at the end of an interview, you will be asked whether you have any questions ready for them. Make sure you have prepared a few pertinent questions but ensure, when asking them that you don’t cover old ground. If the answer has already been covered during the interview, don’t repeat this. Good questions to ask include:

* Referring to a new technology or competitor advancement and asking how the company are planning to address this?
* Asking how they are dealing with a new regulatory / legislative change?
* How will my performance be monitored?
* What will be expected of me in my first six months / one year?