Interview tips anyone?

QuestShield

Distinguished Member
Took VR and left my job of 14+ years at the end of March. Was searching for a job for a month before I left and only had 1 phone interview, almost got cold feet about the VR but kept my nerve and left into the unknown. Since I left I have had 5 interviews and one which was arranged then cancelled before I had a chance to even do it.
I hate interviews. Hate them. Had one today and it was awful. Didn't sleep well with the heat and was so tired. I rang agency after and told them I didn't think it went well. Just got a mail there.. Didn't get it. No surprise. Good quick feedback though. Trying not to, but starting to feel pretty despondent. I have an interview tomorrow, any tips? I have studied the job, know my CV well and prepare questions but the interviewers tend to ask me awkward questions which throw me completely. Don't remember it being this hard back in 1999.
 

huntere

Well-known Member
Think about the key competencies in the job. This is often what you will be asked about as they want to assess whether you have these skills. Once understand what is required you can demonstrate to them you have those skills. Always try and use real life examples. This adds credibility and honesty to answers.
If you have a question you can't think of, either ask them to clarify or paraphrase their questions: "Are you asking me....". This gives time for you to think.
 

QuestShield

Distinguished Member
I think the further I am away from my job of 14 years the less I can wax lyrical about what I have done. I know I am good but find it hard to translate it into interview-speak, if you get my drift. Was never good at the talking side of things, even disliked walkthroughs before a major project. But technically I'm very good and attentive to detail.
 

Sandman

Distinguished Member
I think one important thing to remember when answering questions about your experience is they want to know what "you" have done. Don't use "we" or "the team" in the answer but instead say "I".
Also make sure you answer by firstly outlining the situation, then explaining what you did, and finish off by telling them the outcome and mention if there was anything you would do differently now.
 

QuestShield

Distinguished Member
Good tips on paper. I've had interviews where I really felt good afterwards. Grilled for 1.5 hours and I answered their queries with confidence. Then a week later, no joy. Could be an age thing too I'm just over the 40 mark. Had one last week that was almost identical to my old job in the Telecoms industry, and expected to hear about it the next day according to the agency. 9 days later nothing. At least my CV is obviously working as I'm getting interviews now so that's a positive.
 

captainarchive

Distinguished Member
Good tips on paper. I've had interviews where I really felt good afterwards. Grilled for 1.5 hours and I answered their queries with confidence. Then a week later, no joy. Could be an age thing too I'm just over the 40 mark. Had one last week that was almost identical to my old job in the Telecoms industry, and expected to hear about it the next day according to the agency. 9 days later nothing. At least my CV is obviously working as I'm getting interviews now so that's a positive.
I don’t mind interviews because I like talking about myself and the things I’ve achieved in my career. My temporary contract comes to an end in July and I’ve been desperately applying for work. However I’m in my late 40’s and given up trying to get a job in HR which I did for 15 years. I’ve been to countless interviews without joy and I think it’s because I’m getting too old and I have a penis. Also I’ve been out of HR too long, I was made redundant in 2010 and it’s harder to get back in. The feedback suggests I’m being pipped to the post by candidates who are still in HR and I don’t have an up to date knowledge of employment law. Since May I’ve had one interview a week but they’ve been in areas where I haven’t got relevant industry experience, I’ve got the interview on the basis of transferrable skills, but it means I’m at a disadvantage because someone working in that industry will have more relevant examples for the panel to consider.

I think interviews where you simply asked questions are subjective and I get frustrated by the number of hypothetical or downright stupid questions I’m asked. I much prefer an interview that includes a test such as role playing or a presentation because it gives me an opportunity to demonstrate my skills and experience. In almost every successful interview I’ve had a test.

It’s difficult to provide advice, other than the basics such as reading the JD and Spec, having a confident and friendly demeanour. But I wish you the best of luck.
 

QuestShield

Distinguished Member
I'm find it hard to show passion I admit. It's hard to get passionate about wanting a job in IT. They aren't the kind of jobs to inspire excitement shall we say. Ooh I can't wait to read those technical specs and mess around in Unix exciting. Also I have realised some of the interviews I have done are not fully suitable to my requirements. Some migration I might have done 5 years ago is similar to their main focus now and I simply can't show full confidence in my knowledge.
 

rousetafarian

Moderator
I can totally empathise and sympathise with your situation. I left my position voluntarily in February after 13 years and took garden leave, meaning that I couldn't start my new position until the middle of April.

I dicked around for a bit, enjoying staying out of the office and being paid for it, but soon the novelty wore off. I had the great misfortune of dealing with a small number of Recruitment Companies, of which only one was interested in my needs and aims.

Throughout the 4 or 5 interviews I had, I was over-qualified for two of them, under-experienced in another etc etc and my morale took a beating (this coincided with my wife and I separating) - I thought I was scuppered.

My advice to you is to keep calm, breathing control is important when waiting for the interview and as my dear Nan used to say "take a clean hankie" - I often sweat under pressurised situations - perfectly normal but its a safety net.

You clearly have the experience and technical attributes in spade loads, it will click. On a final note, towards then end of the interview try to close the interviewer down by asking clearly and directly....

"Is there anything you have heard from me today that would prevent you from asking me back for a second interview....". Although this a typical closed question and could invite a standard yes/no answer it rarely is that simple. I would suggest using it as it leaves the impression you are determined to do the job.

Leaving it the interviewer to relay the information back to the recruitment consultants means that the information could be skewed and personally I'd want to hear it 1st person not from a sales guy in recruitment.

That said, I found my job by going direct and saving the hiring company about £10k in fees. Good luck in the interview process!
 

kav

Distinguished Member
Having had to conduct some woeful interviews this week, one of the recurring themes was a complete lack of enthusiasm on the part of the interviewee. It appears as though some people think they've done the hard part by turning up, they then give absolutely no indication that they have the confidence for the role. Be different by being confident and enthusiastic in yourself and your ability to pick up new skills if necessary. Even if you aren't a perfect match you'll be more appealing than someone with lots of experience but no personality.

Also remember that in an office or any collaborative environment, experience alone won't cut it. Interviewers will want someone who knows their stuff but just as important is how well that person will integrate into the team and work with others. Make sure you sell yourself as that person.

@rousetafarian Have to say coming from the other side of the table I disagree with that being a good question to ask. It puts the interviewer on the spot and even (especially) if the answer is yes they are unlikely to tell you - more than likely you will get a politician's non-answer and a negative impression left in the mind. Just my opinion though, there are others who are way more experienced such as @Epicurus who are better placed to comment.
 

captainarchive

Distinguished Member
I'm find it hard to show passion I admit. It's hard to get passionate about wanting a job in IT.
Try looking at it from a different angle. I'm passionate about avoiding being unemployed. So where I'm not passionate about the job I've applied for I'm still passionate about avoiding the dole. Show that passion at interview and make the interviewer think your passion is directed at the job.
 

rousetafarian

Moderator
Having had to conduct some woeful interviews this week, one of the recurring themes was a complete lack of enthusiasm on the part of the interviewee. It appears as though some people think they've done the hard part by turning up, they then give absolutely no indication that they have the confidence for the role. Be different by being confident and enthusiastic in yourself and your ability to pick up new skills if necessary. Even if you aren't a perfect match you'll be more appealing than someone with lots of experience but no personality.

Also remember that in an office or any collaborative environment, experience alone won't cut it. Interviewers will want someone who knows their stuff but just as important is how well that person will integrate into the team and work with others. Make sure you sell yourself as that person.

@rousetafarian Have to say coming from the other side of the table I disagree with that being a good question to ask. It puts the interviewer on the spot and even (especially) if the answer is yes they are unlikely to tell you - more than likely you will get a politician's non-answer and a negative impression left in the mind. Just my opinion though, there are others who are way more experienced such as @Epicurus who are better placed to comment.
It worked for me (being in Sales & Business Development), my view was along the lines of who'd want to offer a 2nd interview to someone who didn't try to 'close'.

I absolutely appreciate it not being appropriate in every scenario though, it needs to be judged very carefully for the reasons you gave.
 

QuestShield

Distinguished Member
Try looking at it from a different angle. I'm passionate about avoiding being unemployed. So where I'm not passionate about the job I've applied for I'm still passionate about avoiding the dole. Show that passion at interview and make the interviewer think your passion is directed at the job.
Good idea. I just want to be kept busy and paid at the end of the month, which isn't such a bad ambition. I had an interview last month and the interviewer laughed all through the interview at the billing system used in my previous job. Seems she was there at one stage. So I diligently wrote down she was telling me with regard to the new job, and told her all about what I did in my old job. Still she laughed at the billing system. A few weeks later I got this. Didn't understand it based on what I perceived to be a poor interview but anyway..

Feedback: They felt that you had some excellent experience and solid technical skills. However, they felt that the interview lacked conviction and confidence. They fully understood that this is to be expected after being in a company for so long. You would be the type of profile they would look at in the future, but they’d ideally like this to be addressed.
 
Quest I work in IT and while I relate to what you are saying about the job is a struggle to be exciting. That does not mean you cannot be positive about the role and/or questions they ask.

As Kav said enthusiasm, smiles and a willingness to want the job count for a lot. If you come across and "cannot be bothered" in an interview it is not exactly going to make the interviewer think you will be any different or worse if you got the role.

With it being in IT they usual love their competency based questioning. So think about your past experiences and if they are old or very old, adapt them to a more modern setting. As long as the examples or tech that you mention are things you have used they are not going to know, I do not mean lie though.

There is a difference between changing an example of when you upgraded a LINUX RHEL from based system from RHEL v4.2 to v5 and making it from v8 to v9. It is making it more modern but As long as you have used that tech then there is no reason you say that.

However saying you upgraded a Windows 2014 Server to a Windows 8 Server and having no knowledge of either is an out and out lie and I would not recommend this.

I always go into any interview prepared, even internal ones.

with examples. A common phrase is "S.T.A.R":
S = Situation
T = Task
A = Action
R = Result

Use this to define the situation, the tasks that were involved, YOUR actions and the benefits/results that were achieved from this situation/task.

Always emphasis how brilliant you are, I know it is internal and people may know you but still make sure people understand how awesome you are and invaluable team member your are / will be.

Also it is important to you so show them that, go in dressed to impress, always make an effort for an interview, dress for the job you want, etc...

Apart from that just be your awesome self and you will do alright.

Good Luck, I know it is tough out there and IT is not exactly the glamour job, but very few jobs are.

Col
 

QuestShield

Distinguished Member
I think my problem is though I want a new job badly I'm finding it hard to put in the detailed preparation leading up to it so I'm not coming across as particularly passionate. Also anxiety is overwhelming me at times. Pure anxiety. I'll get that book reiteration, thanks.
 

captainarchive

Distinguished Member
Feedback: They felt that you had some excellent experience and solid technical skills. However, they felt that the interview lacked conviction and confidence. They fully understood that this is to be expected after being in a company for so long. You would be the type of profile they would look at in the future, but they’d ideally like this to be addressed.
The first part, if that was their impression then you can do something about it, you can convey confidence. I find good preparation leads credibility which fosters confidence. Also the more interviews you go to the more you know what to expect. Try to eliminate uncertainty, look at the JD and person spec and think about what you might be asked. The second sentence borders on the insulting, to assume someone lacks confidence because they've worked for the same employer for a long period. If I'd got that feedback I would have rang them up and disputed that assumption. I would have said I don't lack confidence it's just I wasn't expecting to compete with an interviewers laughter and ridicule.
 

QuestShield

Distinguished Member
The first part, if that was their impression then you can do something about it, you can convey confidence. I find good preparation leads credibility which fosters confidence. Also the more interviews you go to the more you know what to expect. Try to eliminate uncertainty, look at the JD and person spec and think about what you might be asked. The second sentence borders on the insulting, to assume someone lacks confidence because they've worked for the same employer for a long period. If I'd got that feedback I would have rang them up and disputed that assumption. I would have said I don't lack confidence it's just I wasn't expecting to compete with an interviewers laughter and ridicule.
I disputed it with the agency who sent it to me saying it was good feedback. It doesn't make sense especially given the strange nature of the interview. Also when I went in she said my interview was tomorrow, then next week. Very slapdash. The agency assured me it was that day. She gave me the interview anyway but obviously was not prepared for it. I was annoyed also as I got this feedback the second I stepped out of another interview.
 

IronGiant

Moderator
I always go into any interview prepared, even internal ones.

with examples. A common phrase is "S.T.A.R":
S = Situation
T = Task
A = Action
R = Result

Use this to define the situation, the tasks that were involved, YOUR actions and the benefits/results that were achieved from this situation/task.

Always emphasis how brilliant you are, I know it is internal and people may know you but still make sure people understand how awesome you are and invaluable team member your are / will be.

Also it is important to you so show them that, go in dressed to impress, always make an effort for an interview, dress for the job you want, etc...

Apart from that just be your awesome self and you will do alright.



Col
Spot the cut and paste from the Dudeness thread :laugh:

It's a good lesson for Quest though: do not base your interviews on a Template :D

Sorry, Col ;)
 

mr starface

Well-known Member
I have a Skype interview with someone I'm the US tomorrow. Am normally ok in interviews but not sure how this will play out.

Assuming no technical hitches as I have beer used Skype before will there be a lag? Would imagine May he difficult trying to get a rapport with a face on a laptop screen!

Anyone had a Skype interview?
 

QuestShield

Distinguished Member
Just had a telephone interview there. Blooming hell tried my best to think on my feet with some of the questions he was firing at me. I understood why, he was trying to see how I'd handle the work in his company. However I like to calmly assess the situation, and I feel that interviews don't give me the opportunity to do that. I don't blame agencies at all, I blame my own failings to think at the click of a finger. The perfect answer only comes to me after.
 

zenza

Well-known Member
They make their mind up within the first few minutes of seeing you.

It boils down more to whether the manager interviewing you likes you than whether you can do the job or not.
 

muppetman74

Active Member
Are these IT developer roles you are going for? I've interviewed lots of developers in recent months and the thing I found most disappointing (aside from lack of confidence) was a lack of understanding how their achievements related back to the business - "The Bigger Picture" in interview speak.

Taking an example mentioned above, saying "I migrated application x to application y" simply demonstrates that you have the technical knowledge, which won't set you apart from other candidates.

Instead, "I migrated application x to y, which enabled the sales department to use function z to increase sales by x" demonstrates that you have the tech skills, but also you know why you did what you did (or were asked to) and understand the impact on the organisation.

Just my two cents...but I would look at examples of your experience you'll be using in your interviews and come up with the Bigger Picture benefits of each one.
 

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