6 Top Interview Tips

Tamara info@eliteinterviews.ie. at Elite Interviews www.eliteinterviews.ie, is keen to share her 6 Top Interview Tips

1) Why do you want this job?

An apparently simple question, and yet easily the most difficult for a lot of people to answer well. Sometimes people make the mistake of thinking this question is a chance to show off their ambitions and neglect the actual role at hand. This question is really asked because the interviewer wants to know you are as invested in this role and company as they will be in hiring you. It is no good to them if you have ambition to leave the role within a short time frame. Show them how you are invested in this role, and that it makes sense for your long term goals, but that you are not merely interested in a brief stepping stone on their dime

2) Be prepared.

It can be so easy to excel in the technical aspect of your interview by preparing well and anticipating possible questions based on the job description, so be sure to study that very well as your interview guide. This is particularly comforting if you are nervous about your communication style or struggle with nerves in an interview, because you be confident that in this aspect you know your stuff. For example, if you are interviewing for a LEAN role, have your 7 wastes ready to rhyme off the top of your head, have examples of how you have tackled or would tackle each waste, and why. Showing how you have used your technical expertise in previous roles will greatly bolster your capabilities to an interviewer.

3) Relax.

Easier said than done for some but remember that you are there for a conversation. It is simply a method for the interviewer to ask about what you have done in greater depth than your CV allows. By being called for an interview at all, you can be assured that you have a lot of the qualities they are looking for already, so take confidence from that.

4) Focus on you.

Forgetting to focus the answers on tangible actions taken by they themselves is a surprisingly common theme among my clients. Refer every question to something you yourself did, and be sure to crystal clear about your exact role. For example, if it was a team effort, mention that fact, but then speak in the first person such as “I was responsible for implementing a 5S system and I did so by…”.

5) Talk about results.

If you have made hard or soft savings through a project, be sure to mention that in actual terms. Giving an example of a project you did without also communicating the result is a common mistake among clients, and can weaken the impact of that example to the interviewer.

6) Change.

An important communication skill for people in management, supervisory, engineering, project leader roles, etc, is the ability to implement change. A good change agent is key to some of these positions that may require a big change from the status quo. Be sure to prepare to answer how you approach dealing with people in order to change a process. Key to this answer will be to show your technical knowledge. By educating process workers on the relevant principles, for example in 5S, and showing them how such change actually benefits them and their work, is often the key to effective change. This kind of approach shows your confidence in your technical ability to engage the stakeholders and achieve necessary changes.

Taking the “fear factor” out of Competency Based Interviewing

Do YOU get the fear factor when you hear you’ve been called for a Competency based Interview?


Do YOU get the fear factor when you hear you’ve been called for a Competency based Interview? It puts the shivers up and down most candidates’ spines.
Here is a summary of how I take the fear factor out of the equation resulting in an outstanding interview performance.


A competency interview is an interview process where the hiring company identify the key competences (usually between 4-8 competencies) for the position they are hiring for. They will interview all candidates on these competencies and candidates will be scored on a scale of 1-5 usually with 5 meaning: the candidate effectively demonstrated solid evidence of this competency.

Some examples of competencies are: Problem Solving, Leadership, Innovation, Judgement and Decision Making, Technical expertise (in the relevant field), People Management, and Team Involvement.

In the Public sector the candidate will have already answered questions in their application form that should demonstrate their experience in these areas of competency. In the Private Sector candidates will often be informed of the competencies prior to the interview.

So, clients call me and say: “I am an experienced (engineer, accountant, teacher, clerical officer for example), and I need to complete an application form for a vacancy but I am struggling with the competency questions”, or “I have a competency interview coming up and I’m not sure how to prepare as I’ve never done one of these interviews before”.
For the most part clients possess these competencies but struggle to communicate them in a manner that demonstrates their experience in these areas. In some cases clients don’t recognise these competencies from their experience because they’ve never really thought about it. And once they hear “competency interview”, the fear factor seems to set in.

The Client sets up a meeting with Devane Careers to prepare for the interview. This service is a two meeting process. The first meeting is used to analyse the client’s background in terms of experience, skills, education and desire for the role. In this meeting training is provided on the STAR (Situation, Task, Actions and Results) framework. This is a framework that helps the client design their answers to competency based questions. What does a competency based question sound like? “Tell me about a time when you feel you demonstrated strong problem solving ability”?

Before I meet with the client, I have already dissected the job description for the role they are interviewing for, and I have reviewed their background very closely. This will make our meeting very productive indeed.

Of course after welcoming the client and making them feel at ease, I outline the structure of the meeting and invite them to discuss their concerns, their reason for applying for the role and their background in great detail.
I regularly notice when a client arrives at my office, they bring a lot of material. This could include job descriptions, projects, CV, a recent Performance Appraisal, lists of interview questions from their friend and more questions downloaded from the internet. At times the client feels cluttered in their head but also physically with all of the documentation. They are not sure where to start they tell me.
I commence a de-cluttering process by firstly analysing the job description and summarising it together with the client. This process allows the client to now see their alignment to the requirement to the role in terms of ability, skills, experience and qualifications.
Next I discuss the possible distraction of all of the documentation in front of the client. I explain that some of it may not be relevant and advise that it may be best to put it away for now and that we should start with a clean slate.

I use a whiteboard to document the client’s strengths, successes, experience, and competencies. Following that I train the client on the STAR technique and they now see the relevance and the benefit of this framework. Next we work on each competency and I facilitate the client to discuss their experience providing clear and concise examples in each competency area. The client documents a summary of each and I provide feedback if the example being discussed meets the competency criteria or not. In some cases the client needs to remember another example which may demonstrate the competency more clearly. I then advise them (for homework) to document each example in the STAR format for their mock interview which generally takes place within a week of this first meeting.

As we wrap up the meeting, I am always excited and rewarded to see the difference in the client. The de-cluttered mind, the realisation that they can put away the mountain of documentation, the increased confidence, the relief, the feeling of support and the barriers broken down with regard to the competency interview structure.
Their feedback at this point is that they feel much better and more confident that they now know what to prepare and how to prepare.

At the next meeting, I carry out a mock interview following a discussion with the client.
I start with some standard interview questions and then move to unexpected challenging questions, and finally I examine all of the competencies one by one. We pause after every 2/3 questions to provide feedback and to give the client time to write down pointers. I then work on more confidence building techniques with the client. Finally we discuss key take aways from the session.

The “fear factor” has disappeared and the client is well prepared for their competency based interview.
But the story regularly continues as clients move through to the next step in the interview process.


Tel: 353 87 7475865
Email: marie@devanecareers.ie
Twitter: @DevaneCareers
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mariedevane/
FB: @Mariedevanecareers

5 Things to think about before you apply for that dream job.

At Independent Solutions we receive many applications every day for our job vacancies.
The trick is to stand out from the rest. So how do you do that?

Here are our top tips on applying for that dream job:

  1. Check Have you got the minimum requirements? All of our jobs will have minimum qualification/requirements specified. Read over this and make sure you have what is required. This saves both you and the person receiving the application a lot of time.
  2. Well written – Is the application well written? Take time to spell check or edit. Think about if YOU were reading this application.
  3. Likeable and come across well How are you coming across in the application? Would you like to read this? Think about the person reading the application. What would make you stand out?
  4. Enthusiastic & keen Everyone likes a bit of positivity. Are you showing your passion for what you do? Does it sound like you are just filling in the application for the sake of it, or could you be the person we have been waiting for.
  5. Research Do your research. Find out what you can about the company you are applying to. You could mention something like. ‘I really like the ethos of this company’ Show that you too support the same set of ethics for example.