Nervous About An Upcoming Interview?


First things first; congratulations on the interview! Give yourself credit because you’re up against a lot of other people all competing for employment. So well done!

That credit your giving yourself is important because its external validation that  you’ve done a good job responding to the employer’s needs. Employer’s need people who can be productive and add to the success of the organization, so just getting to the interview is a good sign that they like what they read.

Okay, so you’re nervous. There are two kinds of situations where nerves can have you feeling anxious . The first is where you haven’t prepared at all for the interview. Not only did you not prepare, your plan is to wake up and wing it, counting on your natural ability to charm and think on your feet. If this has worked in the past, it will likely work again. Wrong. Employer’s are better qualified than before, better trained and can size up these candidates quickly. Your nerves will go through the roof as you slowly become more and more exposed as having not invested any time at all in doing some basic homework. You’ll be nervous, and for good reason as you’ve brought this on yourself.

The second kind of nervous is the good kind; yes you read right…there is a good kind! This is nervous excitement! You’ve prepared yourself as best you could, read up on the job posting, their website, you may have talked to some employees and you really want this job. The possibility that you’re soon going to be hired for a job you can do well, doing work you’ll enjoy and in a situation you’ll be successful at is so motivating! So this nervous excitement as the interview draws closer is fantastic.

As someone who loves interviewing, I’d be more worried for you if you felt no nervousness at all – that would be a huge warning sign that you’re running on autopilot and aren’t as invested in the job or company to the extent you should be.

Now, what to do to help you get those nerves under control. First off, breathe… Stress is a physical thing, and a few deep breaths; in through the nose and out through the mouth will help you give your body oxygen when it needs it to relax. Now stand up for a moment. Seriously. Place your hands on your hips and spread your legs, with equal weight on both feet. You’re in the, ‘Superman’ pose. Head up and looking straight ahead, chest slightly out and hold this for two or three minutes. Do this before the interview – say in the washroom or reception area and you’ll feel confidence growing. Odd thing is, it works.

Now, first impressions are important so choose clothing you feel comfortable in that fit the job you’re applying to. Check them a few days before so they are clean, ironed and you’re ready. On the morning of the interview, shower, brush the teeth, do your hair (off the face as a general guideline for women) and give yourself enough time to get where you’re going anticipating delays.

It’s always good to bring multiple copies of your résumé (for you and for them), pre-determined questions you want answered, paper and pen for notes, the job posting and your references to offer at the end. Depending on the job, you might want any certificates or proof of licences and education requirements too.

Smile at the first meeting, offer a firm handshake and look the interviewer(s) in the eye as you do so. When you walk, don’t amble or shuffle along, walk with purpose and be aware of slouching shoulders.

As for answering questions, use the STAR format. Well, I endorse it at any rate. Essentially you answer by sketching out SITUATIONS you found yourself in so the get a framework for your answer, present the TASK or problem to overcome, move to the ACTION you took in rising to the challenge and finish with a positive RESULT that came about because of what you did.

This format is neat, tidy and concise. It will help you PROVE you’ve done what you claim you can do. I can’t stress enough how specific examples you give are essential to a successful interview. Without specific examples in your answers, you’re hoping they’ll believe you’ve got the experience and skills you state you do, and you’ll come up short.

The tone of your voice is important too. Nervous people often talk quicker and their voices are slightly higher. Slow your words down, pause every so often to emphasize certain things you believe are critical, and your voice suddenly gets more interesting, more meaning is attached to your words and the overall impact is a more attentive audience.

As the interview wraps up, ask for their business card. All the information you need to follow-up with a thank you note or phone call is on that card. Do send a card of thanks! Many don’t bother these days and that’s even more reason to do it. You stand out and that’s what you’re hoping to do.

The most important thing you can do is leave a lasting positive impression. Why hire you? What makes you the right fit? Answer this now, before you get to the interview. It’s not about what you want, but how hiring you is in the company’s best interests.

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3 Interview Questions: What Would YOU Say?


All this week I’m in the process of conducting mock interviews with a select group of people who are hunting down employment opportunities. Mock interviews in which one can practice their skills and get valuable feedback and support is extremely helpful in increasing the odds of landing a job offer. Understandably then, I’m proud to see such an enthusiastic group putting in the effort to make sure this opportunity before them is one they get the most out of.

Yesterday I conducted three such interviews; each one about an hour in length when you factor in the interview and summarizing how they’ve performed with both verbal and written feedback. While I asked each 8 or 9 questions, I’m sharing 3 such questions with you here, as well as some tips on answering the question better than your competition.

Question 1: Impress Me. 

This is actually the last question I pose to most of those I interview. So before you read further, how would you respond? Resist the urge if you can to ignore thinking about it and just forging on to read more. Where would you go and where would you take me as you respond?

One purpose of the question is to give the applicant, (in this case you) the opportunity to wow me as the employer. Use this opportunity as your one chance to make  a strong final impression on those interviewing you. For just as an interviewer is impressed or not with your first impression, they will be similarly affected one way or the other when you leave them.

The second purpose of the question is to gauge how you can think on your feet with something you may not have prepared for. Best to look thoughtful, pause and then launch into whatever it is you want to say. Good advice is to smile, look positive, entirely engaged and proud as well as emotionally connected to this answer. It is after all how they’ll remember you as things wrap up.

Question 2: Tell me about a time you’ve made a serious error and what you did to overcome it. 

Built on the premise that we all make mistakes, this question is one you should expect. Why? It’s likely you’re going to make at least one mistake if not more in this new job if offered it. So the interviewer is asking to hear not so much the error itself but rather how you reacted to the mistake and what you’ve learned from the experience so it’s chances of being repeated are lowered or eliminated. In an interview you are working hard to come across as polished and confident, marketing your strengths and assets as best you can. So this question is designed to expose a potential problem, perhaps some training needs or where you might benefit from support. Whatever you do, by all means don’t offer up a fatal error where the outcome remained a negative.

Question 3: Describe the position you are applying for as you understand it. 

Whereas the first question I’ve shared with you is actually one I ask last, question 3 here is one I typically slot in at number 2 in a mock interview, following on the heels of the famous, “Tell me a little about yourself.”

As the interviewer, I pose this question to find how well the applicant actually knows what it is they are being interviewed for. Surprisingly, there are many people who go to job interviews with only a vague idea of what they’d actually be doing in the job they are applying for. So do you know how this job fits in with the organization? Knowing how this job or role connects with other positions in the organization is critical. Does it support other positions? Is it a mentoring or leadership role?

Do more than just regurgitate what is in the job posting under the heading, “Duties” or “What You’ll Do In This Role”. Yes, if you zero in on what’s under these headings you’ve hit on the right things to share, but your competition can memorize bullet points too. So if you just repeat back what the job ad says and stop talking, while you’ve technically answered the question, you won’t score as high as the applicants who add more.

So what to add? Excellent question! After having summarized what the key things are, the best applicants then prove how they have actually done what the job entails in one or more of their earlier jobs. Even in situations where the applicant hasn’t had that same experience, the best will talk about how their past experiences use transferable skills which they’ll bring to this place.

Believe me, if you’ve got a wealth of experience and skills and you undersell yourself and your accomplishments, you are gifting your competition and making it highly likely you’ll be passed over. Those with little to no experience will benefit if you fail to illustrate and prove you’ve got what it takes.

If you answered these questions well, congratulations. If you don’t know what to say, bring these three questions with you and put them before whomever you’re working with to help prepare for upcoming interviews. Together, perhaps they can help you compose 3 solid responses.

While job interviews cause anxiety for many, when you practice, you lower your aversion and grow in confidence. While you may never love them, you’ll fear them much less.

Job Interview First Impressions


In my experience as an Employment Counsellor, I’ve come to note that those who make good, positive first impressions don’t mind for a minute accepting that other people form opinions of them spanning the first 30 seconds to a minute when they meet. Equally, those who tend to make poor first impressions feel that its entirely unfair that others judge them in such a short time. Well, honestly, whether you like or dislike it when others form first impressions in such short timelines, the reality is, that’s…well…reality.

It’s not just employers and interviewers that form these quick first impressions, and quite frankly, as a species, humans have done it for centuries. It’s survival 101 you know; this innate ability we have to quickly take in whatever sensory information that’s available to us and then in mere seconds, assimilate all that data and form an immediate impression that then guides if or how we interact with others.

Walking on a sidewalk we look ahead and see a stranger approaching us. Based on extremely limited information, we might continue on with a smile and nod as we pass, or we might see a swagger in their walk, a scowl on their face, see their eyes set on us and with all this we choose to duck into a store or cross the street. We judged the situation to be uncomfortable at best, dangerous at worse, and best to be safe and not sorry. Were our actions justified?

Similarly in a subway if every time we look up we notice a person looking at us with a smile and fleeting eyes that look away and we see them bite their lips, we might interpret this as a shy, embarrassed, “you caught me looking at you, and I’d like to meet you but I’m too shy to start a conversation” look. Maybe we’re right and maybe we’re not; maybe we introduce ourselves on the off-chance they are interested in us, or maybe we bury our heads in a book because we might be wrong.

It’s in these everyday interactions with others that we form impressions of others while they of course are doing the same thing with respect to us. The data we take in might include someone’s choice of clothing, it’s cleanliness, their grooming, body odour or fragrance/cologne, their height, weight, shape, health of their teeth, colour of their eyes, posture etc. All in mere seconds mind you – our brains process all this data and we form opinions from which we judge them to be safe to approach, intimidating and to be avoided, etc.

In a job interview situation, take heart! For starters, always remember that this first meeting you’re about to have with some company representative is one you know is going to happen. In fact, you’ve got the time and place as two knowns, so it’s not going to catch you off guard. If you ask the right questions when offered the interview, you also know how many will be interviewing you, their names and their titles. This information can be of comfort, especially if you use social media to look them up and get a visual on their appearance and read their bios in advance of meeting them face-to-face.

You have the further advantage of choosing your outfit for this first encounter, deciding which clothing will be likely to make the best impression on them; be it formal, business casual, etc. The things in your control continue as you can make sure your hair is clean and brushed, your deodorant working, your teeth brushed and a swig of mouthwash will ensure any lingering offensive smells are absent. You can shine your shoes, choose your accessories with care as well.

In addition, when you arrive is in your control. Sure you might run into unexpected delays – that’s why their called unexpected! – but, you can almost guarantee your arrival time will be appreciated by leaving early and planning your route. A dry run on another day will likely give you a good measure of the time you’ll need.

Whether you bow, shake hands or not, smile or not, maintain eye contact or not when actually meeting during the first 2 seconds; again in your control. Even the way you sit or pace back and forth in reception, your posture as you wait and then your body language as you get up to introduce yourself to the interviewer(s); all this within your control and therefore up to you to choose how you wish to act.

These first few seconds are critical as those you meet form first impressions of you just as you are of them. The thing is though that you might be feeling so much pressure on yourself to do well and get a job offer that in the moment you aren’t thinking a great deal about them – being so worried about yourself and what you’re communicating.

Positive or negative, that first impression is the initial point from which all further interaction either reinforces or works to change one’s first impression. The more you put some effort into ensuring the first two minutes shows you as you’d like, the more you can feel confident done your best to get off on a good note. A poor start and you’ll feel the pressure to alter their view of you.

First impressions; vitally important and worth paying attention to. Oh and on the subway? Just go up and introduce yourself!

“What’s Your Weakness?”


Ah the weakness question in the job interview. It’s one of the classics isn’t it? I mean of all the things they ask you in most interviews, why is this question still being asked?

The answer is of course that the question is a good one, so you best be prepared to answer it intelligently. If the question wasn’t worthwhile, then interviewers would have stopped asking it a long time ago. So it stands to reason they are finding it useful in revealing information necessary which helps them make their decision.

Asking about an area in which you are weak gives you the opportunity to either reveal something about yourself so damaging that the interview essentially ends on the spot or it provides the chance to impress the interviewer. Revealing something damaging about yourself isn’t something I’m going to spend much time on here. Suffice to say, its fatal to say you have no flaws at all. It’s also suicidal to reveal a criminal conviction, past aggressive behaviour on the job such as assaulting a co-worker you didn’t get along with or question the interviewers intelligence in asking such a dumb question. Oh yeah, someone I know actually did that.

The smart thing to do with the question is to have thought about it long before the interview. Anticipating the question makes it less nerve-wracking and stressful when it does come up for starters. Let’s face it, when you really want the job, talking in any way about a known weakness isn’t going to be something you naturally would want to volunteer. So doing it on the spot might catch you saying something later that while honest, wasn’t the best choice.

So pull out that job posting and read what the job entails. What will you be doing in this position and have you done it before? All of it? Are there areas or perhaps a single thing you notice that you haven’t had direct experience doing or perhaps did quite a long time ago and you know things have evolved? Could be, and if so, you might find your answer to the question here. Do yourself a favour though and don’t make telling them your weakness the entirety of your answer. The impact of this is just to leave them flat and yourself painted in a negative light.

When you state your weakness follow it up by sharing both what you are doing to improve on it and how you’ve overcome such weaknesses in the past. For example if an organization uses some specific computer software that you are not familiar with, you could share this along with evidence from your past where you quickly acquired the necessary expertise to competently use industry-specific software in a previous organization. It stands to reason that if you learned software elsewhere upon accepting a previous job, you have the necessary skills and interest to learn the software this organization uses too.

The one thing you may reveal about yourself in answering this question is your attitude for learning and your acceptance of learning from others around you. Presumably you are going to get some support in this new position. Someone is going to be responsible for showing you the ropes, giving you an orientation to the job, introducing you to company policies and practices and might be assigned to have you job shadow them.

You are the new hire; the fresh blood. You are the one in the beginning who has a lot to learn, even if or when you come to a job with a great deal of experience. So while you have much to share and a good grasp of the technical skills to perform in those early days, you won’t know how the organization you are now working for goes about the work. It’s in the ‘how we do it here’ that you can best reveal a positive attitude and a willingness to learn.

Once, maybe even twice, you might get away with a, ‘this is different from when I worked at such-and-such” but keep those kind of statements to a minimum. You don’t work there anymore and this company does things a certain way for a certain reason and quite frankly you haven’t been with them long enough to know why. The bottom line is it’s good advice to respect how and organization does things in the beginning instead of second-guessing those around you and telling them about the better ways of doing things they need to know.

The weakness question in the job interview also gives you the chance to identify any training issues the company should be aware of that once known can best get you working up to full speed. If you claim to have a certain knowledge and experience at the interview but are counting on bluffing it or getting a co-worker to show you what you claimed to know, you might find yourself out of a job faster than it took you to get it.

In the here and now can you identify something that is generally needed in the jobs you are applying for that you aren’t strong in? if so, start to work on that now. Look up some training online that might be free or invest in yourself and take a course. Practice your skills and get that training on your resume so you can point to what you are doing to improve yourself in that area.

“So Tell Me About Yourself.”


You’re fortunate if the job interview starts off with this question. Not everybody agrees of course; in fact, this question seems to rank pretty high up there on the list of questions people dread in an interview. So let’s look at this question; why it’s asked and most importantly how to answer it intelligently so you get off to a positive start in the job interview.

To begin, imagine yourself as the interviewer; sitting on the other side of the table and meeting job applicants for the first time. Presumably the number of applicants has been reduced from all of those who applied down to a few people who – at least on paper  – meet your stated qualifications. After all, whether your company used applicant tracking software or human eyes, it’s highly probable that the reason you were invited in to meet with company personnel as a potential new hire is that you have done a good job matching yourself up with their needs as stated in the job posting.

At this point, you as the interviewer are coming face-to-face with people for the first time. Your job is to meet these candidates, listen to them respond to your questions, confirm their credentials, expose any liabilities and in the end, determine the best of those you meet in terms of finding a fit for the organization. Make the right choice and you add to the overall strength of the company; choose the wrong person and you have two problems: a) you let the right person walk away and b) you’re going to have to release the person you’ve hired and return to the interview and selection process costing you time and money.

As the interviewer, you can look at the resume of the 5 or 6 finalists for the position you are interviewing people for and compare education achievements and professional development. If the job requires a diploma or degree, presumably all the people you are meeting will have this credential. Not much point wasting valuable time confirming that in person, unless of course you’ve requested they bring in the original document for confirmation. Even so, that would take less than a minute to verify.

What you’re really interested in is getting information from the meeting itself which you will compile in order to form a complete picture of the person you are interviewing. Your ears will pick up the person’s vocabulary, ability to express themselves, hesitations and uncertainties and quality of their answers. Your eyes will provide information you’ll use to form a first and last impression based on their clothing, their grooming, posture, facial expressions, gait, smile etc. Your hands will note their handshake quality and will relay information you’ll interpret as their confidence, nervousness, confidence etc.

Leading up to the interview, you’ve no doubt sat down either alone or with someone else and come up with the questions you plan on asking in order to best extract the information you want and need to know in order to make the proper job offer to the best candidate. Some of these questions will focus on technical skills, past experiences, future plans and all the while the interviewer is listening and gathering information they’ll need to determine the right person.

In addition to the objective education (your formal schooling), experience (have you previously done the work required of you now) and skills (how well or poorly have you performed) the interviewer is focused on determining the right personal fit. From your words, tone of voice, visual cues, body language and your own questions, they are sizing up your attitude, values, personality and visualizing how you might fit or not in the environment that makes up the workplace. They know the other employees in the department you could be assigned to, the supervisor you’d report to, the qualities of the best employees they currently have who have made a success of the work. They are in short, measuring you up against this unique knowledge they possess, trying to determine not only if you have what it takes, but the impact of your hiring on the existing workforce and ultimately the services and products they produce for their end-users. Whew! No pressure there!

Okay, so upon first meeting you and the other candidates, they only know what they’ve read on your CV or resume and in the 23 seconds they first eyed you and you took your seat across from them. They are now ready and take the lead on the conversation welcoming and thanking you for coming in to meet them. The opening question is really the ice-breaker; the in-depth questions are yet to come but in the beginning there’s one question that’s really just designed to hear you speak and give them some lead data from which to add to a first impression.

To answer the question intelligently, respond to their stated needs as outlined in the job posting. Get them checking off their own needs based on your answer. You’re a proven professional in your field with the required years of expertise. You’re passionate about your industry and identify your strengths as they relate to the job at hand. Ensure your body language and words reflect your enthusiasm for the opportunity.

Personal hobbies? Avoid these unless they add to the position. Family situation? Irrelevant and could expose liabilities. What’s your motivation, what will you add?

Look at the job posting; don’t wing your opening answer or you may find by their reaction you’re going to be spending the rest of the interview in damage control.

The Right Attitude For The Interview


Congratulations! You’ve been offered and accepted a job interview with a company you’re really interested in working with doing a job that you’d sincerely love to do. While it’s taken longer to land this interview than you ever thought it would, you’re grateful for it nonetheless. This is the job interview!

There’s a lot riding on this one isn’t there? It’s your one big chance to show them how great you are and how great you’d be in the position. What to wear? When to leave for the interview so you get there early but not too early? What to research – is there time for more research? And what about – hold on there partner! Slow down. Breathe. Focus.

Sometimes we get over excited about the interview don’t we? I mean it’s one thing to be happy and excited about an upcoming job interview that we really want but it’s quite another to go overboard and see it for what it isn’t too. It isn’t your only shot at a job you’d be great at and love doing that’s going to pay you well. I’m glad it is by the way, but on a broader scale it isn’t the only job of its kind nor is it probably your only shot at this job with this company.

I do understand that in the present moment; at this time, this is your shot however and that’s what you’re understandably focused on. I’m happy for you and I’m here in your corner for you.

Let’s start with some basic information; what we know to be true. First of all, it’s clear that up to this point, you are in the running for the job. You’ve impressed them enough, presumably with your resume at the very least, and you’ve already made it to the short list of applicants beating out those whom applied and didn’t get an interview. If you submitted a cover letter with the resume, it too is a fairly safe bet that (assuming they read it) whatever it contained motivated them enough to want to hear more from you. The two documents together have resulted in the interview. It’s important to recognize this because if you don’t land the job, you’ll want to stick with what’s working when applying for other jobs, and clearly these two did what you hope they’d do for you.

You’re understandably nervous to some degree at the prospect of the interview but more importantly what the interview represents. It represents your chance to be offered the position itself; and attaining the job fulfills a pretty significant goal of yours. You may also be seeing this opportunity as more than doing something you’d love with an employer you’d love to work with. This perhaps could be your chance to start paying down debts with the income it will provide, move in different social circles, prove to other people you’ve rebounded and have made something of yourself, and of course it will take a huge weight off your shoulders and you can shift from job searching to employment.

With all that riding on this job interview,  no wonder you’re feeling the heat! Could I suggest a few things? First, acknowledge to yourself that you’re now down to say 3-6 people from perhaps 75 – 100 who have applied for the job. Your odds of getting hired are actually very good. Sure you’re now competing with just a few others who are feeling the same way, but we’re focused on what’s within your control and that’s you not them. Think positively and let’s own this interview.

Let’s answer some basic questions here well ahead of the interview. Why do you want this job with this employer? The sum of your previous experiences (life and work experiences) has made you the person you are so, why are you right for this job based on your past? This will be a combination of your education, skills, experience, values, personal suitability and the intangibles you bring that are unique to you from the other applicants.

Look at the job posting you initially applied to again. The things you’ll be responsible for and the qualifications they said they are looking for are going to make up the bulk of the interview questions. You need answers that contain specific examples from your past that p r o v e you have the skills and experience you claim to have. Get these together now.

Your attitude? Desperation isn’t attractive; its – well – desperate. I’m pretty much guessing they want someone positive, upbeat, good to be around and have around. Being assertive but not cocky or aggressive is usually on the mark more than it’s not, but your homework into the role might tell you otherwise. Maybe it’s aggressive they want because your income is based 100% on sales? If so, shift your approach to fit. Maybe they want someone low on socializing and more on the, ‘there’s work to be done so let’s get to it’ mentality, so again emphasize your work ethic.

Go  on get excited! You should be! We can celebrate together after the interview when – successful or not – you’ve done your best to shine and given it your best. The ultimate decision is out of your hands but you hope to influence that decision-making process with everything you’ve got. Like an athlete, leave nothing unsaid that you want to communicate.

The right attitude? Communicate “I want this job with your organization; I’m the right person for the position.”

 

Don’t Be Surprised At An Interview


As an Employment Counsellor, I often work with people who are looking for employment. My job also entails meeting people in a drop-in resource centre who I’m not working with on a one-to-one basis but rather on a spontaneous one. In both cases, I often catch up with people after they’ve had a job interview and it always intrigues me when people tell me how surprised they were with some of the questions they got asked.

Now sure they might get an interviewer who threw out some odd question to test their ability to think on their feet. You know, “If you could choose the sense you’d lose which one would it be and why?” or “What’s your second favourite colour and why it isn’t number one?”

These seemingly bizarre questions have their purpose, but honestly, I wouldn’t put much time aside in preparation for a job interview in trying to anticipate such questions. These questions are intentionally meant to catch you off guard and get you to think on the spot. Therefore, think on the spot as they are asked but never lose sight of the job you are interviewing for and try to connect your answer back to the role you’re interviewing for and the company you’ll be working for.

However, let’s focus on what you can likely predict with some degree of confidence in the job interview so that you aren’t surprised. Shame on you actually if you are surprised at what you could have reasonably predicted would have been asked of you

Let’s look at a posting shall we so we can see how to predict with great success the kind of questions asked.

Wanted: Customer Service Representative

Qualifications:

  • Excellent customer service skills
  • Problem solving and conflict resolution experience
  • Experience using POS systems
  • Teamwork
  • Good with people, 1-2 years’ experience
  • Shift work required including weekends, holidays and evenings

Okay so play along here whether you’re looking for this kind of job or not; the job isn’t important but the process is critical and applies no matter what job or career you’re out to get. For now, you’re out for a Customer Service job in a retail store setting.

Here’s what we can get from this job posting:

  • Always refer to the job you are applying for –whether in writing or verbally as a Customer Service Representative position. Don’t error and call this a Sales job, Salesperson or any other title. Call it what the employer calls it.
  • Same goes for the people the company sells to. These are customers as the first bullet states not clients, so always call the end-users and the people you’ll sell to as customers.
  • The second bullet mentions both problem solving and conflict resolution so this must be a fairly common issue and in both ways they’ve phrased it, they want solutions from the people they hire, not just people who can pass on the problems to the Supervisor.
  • Don’t know what ‘POS’ means in bullet 3? Look it up on a search engine like Bing or Google. It means, “Point of Sale’; in other words a cash register or computer terminal where customers check out. If there’s some words in your job posting you don’t get, look them up!
  • Teamwork is a required skill in the job; you’ll be working with other Customer Service Representatives (CSR’s), your Supervisor(s) and you will be expected to work cooperatively in order to be productive and hit sales targets.
  • The second last bullet says you need 1-2 years’ experience and you must be good with people. The 1-2 years simply interpreted means they want you to have some basic experience in the past doing this kind of work but they want you to be open to their training and be trainable, not set in your ways and hard to change. You’d best have some enthusiasm for connecting with people around you too – show some personality in other words.
  • The last bullet is about flexibility and being willing to work what some people won’t; right up front you know weekends and holidays are involved so don’t apply if you want a Monday to Friday 9-5 job.

Okay, so in this scenario, you should expect to be asked questions that focus on the above. These questions might start off, “Describe your experience with…”, “Tell me about a time when you…” or “What do you enjoy…”

The questions you get asked in this hypothetical interview would likely focus on problem solving, customer service, teamwork, previous experience, people skills and flexibility. To prepare properly, it would be best to think back on jobs you’ve had in the past – both paid and unpaid – and come up with examples you could give that would prove you’ve dealt with these things. For each of the items beginning this paragraph, have a story or two ready to share.

Now to you personally and the job you are after. Do the same exercise but use the job posting you’ve got before you. What skills and qualifications are they looking for? What stories or examples do you have from your past that demonstrates your personal experience, proving to the interviewer you’ve got what they are looking for?

Be prepared to tell them who you are, why you want to work with them and do a little research on the company itself so you know who they are.

When you can anticipate the questions ahead of time, you’ll be more confident when they ask them in the interview.