Preparing for Interviews

Interviews can be very stressful and it’s easy to get nervous. I have been the interviewer for a global company and here is what I have learned:

Basic Preparation

Before the interview, prepare answers for the basic questions, such as:

  1. What do you know about our company?
  2. Why do you want the role/What interests you about this role?
  3. Why should we hire you, and not another one of our applicants?

If I am interviewing a person and they don’t even know what the company does, the interview is finished. I will not hire a person who didn’t bother to find out what the company they want to work for does. Unfortunately, this has been the case numerous times. Some candidates have tried to be clever about it and attempted to dance around the question, however this doesn’t work. You don’t need to know how many employees the company has or where they have offices or exact details. You do however need to know what industry they work in, what their services/offerings are and what the role you’re applying for entails.

Behavioural Questions

In interviews, we ask behavioural questions to candidates, to understand how they handled different situations historically, to be able to determine how they will handle future ones. For example, if I am interviewing a candidate for a Customer Service role I may ask something like:

  • Tell me about a time when you dealt with an angry customer?
  • Tell me about a time that that you solved a problem?
  • Tell me about a time that a colleague of yours did something you disliked?

These questions would give the interviewer an idea of how you handle angry customers, how you troubleshoot and solve issues and your way of thinking as well as how you work in a team and handle conflicts.

How can you prepare for this? I advise you to use the STAR Method to prepare for interviews. It’s a guideline of how to build up your answers for these behavioural questions, as outlined below. In many interviews I did, the candidates gave generic answers or hypothetical scenarios, which is rarely accepted. Such as “Well I’ve had many difficult customers and I just let them get out their frustration and usually… etc.”

 

Situation – Describe the situation

Task – What was your task

Action – What did you do

Result – What was the result

 

Example of a question and an answer using the STAR Method:

Question: Tell me about a time when you dealt with an angry customer?

Situation: I was working in a store that sold electronics and I had a very angry customer. He had bought a phone from us the day before, but it would not power on. He was very angry and yelled at me for quite some time. Task: It was my job to handle the customers in the store and the registry. Action: I let him get out his anger and frustration instead of interrupting him. After he was finished I apologized and gave him two options, we can give him his money back, or I could give him a new phone that we could start up in the store together to confirm it worked. Result: He chose a new phone and we set it up together. He ended up being a pretty happy customer and later returned to us to buy more items.

Instead of trying to figure out and prepare for all possible questions that the interviewer may ask you, I advise that you instead think about a few success stories that can be used to answer several questions. The answer above could have been used for several questions such as: Situation where you dealt with a complaint, situation where you solved a problem, example of an occasion when you used logic to solve a problem, stressful situation at work etc.

I wish you all the best in your future interviews!

 

Alva Ingelström - International Recruiter
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