Build up your interview confidence.
What will the questions be? This is typically the first question I get asked by clients in interview coaching. I obviously cannot guarantee 100 % accuracy of this but as an interview coach and trainer for over 10 years I do know how to help you prepare for your interview to perform with confidence.
Recruitment is a process. Once you understand the process you can then work on your interview preparation. Interviewers want specific evidence from you, to convince them you are the right person for the job. It is your responsibility to give them that evidence and back it up with specific examples so they are left in no doubt you are a “safe pair of hands”. Interview coaching is a great support to achieve this and I have broken down the interview preparation process.
What do they want to hear?
- Get a really good understanding of the job and role specification. These documents outline the activities you will be expected to do in the role. Interviewers will want to be assured that you are experienced and able to fulfill these activities and perform well in the role. Reflect on the experiences you have to date that match these activities.
- There will also be a personal specification. The skills, knowledge, and experience needed to fulfill the role have been identified and documented here. This is the decision-making criteria for selection. This gives clues about the topics they are going to ask. All questions will be in relation to the role. Evidence is needed that you have these skills, this knowledge, and experience. Reflect on specific examples where you have used your skills and knowledge.
- If it is a competency-based interview get to know and fully understand the competencies they reference. If you don’t understand, ask for help to explain what the competencies mean in practical terms. It is only when you truly understand the competencies that will you be able to identify when you are displaying them. eg. of a competency framework https://www.leadershipacademy.nhs.uk/resources/healthcare-leadership-model/
What do I have to offer?
- Now that you have a good understanding of what they are looking for it’s now time for some deep personal reflection! Take time to think about your experiences to date. What have you achieved? What challenges at work did you overcome? What contribution have you made to the organisation? Ask for feedback to find out how others perceive your strengths and what they have witnessed you achieve.
- We now need to answer the “so what” question. Take an achievement and start breaking it down i.e. what did you actually do e.g. dealt with a difficult customer. If you were to watch yourself on camera what would you see yourself doing? What steps did you take to achieve the result of calming the customer down?
It would look something like this…
” I identified they were angry and gave them time to express their anger. I listened to what they needed to say, nodding to demonstrate I was listening. When they stopped talking I summarised what they had said and assured them I wanted to resolve the issue. I asked them specific questions to get the facts about their compliant and took details explaining what I was going to do to resolve the issue with the timescales. I was able to calm the customer down and I updated them as soon as I could. I got positive feedback on my customer service”
- Once you have broken it down and identified the action you took the next step is to put it into the SBO model.
Situation – The background of the situation, how significant the situation was. Quantify this if possible. (scope and scale)
Behaviour – How did you behave? What did you actually do? This is the evidence that you have the experience.
Outcome – What was the result? What did you achieve and what did you learn?
- The final step is to match your examples to the competencies and their selection criteria. Which example is most relevant and highlights your abilities.
Prepare six scenarios. You will be asked open questions in relation to the requirements of the role e.g.
tell me about a time when……?
how have you dealt with an angry customer?
what do you do to manage your time?
Record your prepared SBO answers and listen to it with the interviewers’ “hat” on. Have you given enough information? Have you answered the “so what” question? This is where interview coaching can really help you build strong interview answers.