In this post, we’re looking at the best answers given at interviews. When we asked our clients for what they thought made a great answer we were given a wide range of answers. But they broke down in to the following areas and themes:
ENTHUSIASM & CONFIDENCE
Those candidates who sweep you along with them by their sheer enthusiasm and energy.
A comfortable candidate is much more impressive than a nervous candidate. Having something to say is very important, and many interviewers would prefer people to be forthcoming and confident even if the answer is not perfectly accurate. It is important to be able to explain that you don’t know something, but perhaps talk about how you would go about finding out the answer.
A candidate who was very confident particularly impressed one interviewer. In fact, the interviewer asked, “Given that I gave you this job, what job do you think you would be doing in 3 years?”. The candidate replied, “Your job!”. This really impressed this interviewer as they were looking for a strong candidate who was really driven to succeed. (Industry – Banking and Financial Services)
A good answer is a very prepared answer. Also, those who make an attempt at answering, even if they aren’t sure of the answer, as this shows that they have the ability to communicate under pressure.
Candidates stand out if they show that they are passionate, particularly about the relevant industry. Those who have an outside of work interest in the area that they want to work can be particularly impressive (depending on the industry!).
“I love television, this is completely what I want to do”. In other words, those who are genuinely passionate and enthusiastic about the industry and the role. (Industry – Television)
An honest and open answer is the most impressive.
The best answer speaks from the heart. An interviewer can tell if someone is genuinely passionate about what they are doing. They must be truly interested in the role, as it should be a not just a job, but a mutually agreeable arrangement.
GIVING EXAMPLES TO SUPPORT YOUR ANSWERS
Those who give good concrete examples to the competency based questions, and in those answers show how they have been able to maintain integrity and professional ethics when interacting with stakeholders, and have acted with openness and honesty at all times.
Those who draw on their experience when talking about their strengths and weaknesses – for example, “that situation happened to me, and I tackled it like this…”
PREPARATION , RESEARCH AND PLANNING
Someone who has done their research and really understands what the company does, and who has ideas for ways the company could improve.
One candidate was particularly impressive and was aware of the company’s financial results – which had only been released the day before and only commented on in that day’s papers!
Those with passion for the role and the organisation, as opposed to any old job. If they can show their passion to the interviewer through their preparation and research then that is brilliant and really makes them stand out.
One candidate going for a presentation scheduling role was very well prepared. This candidate had looked at the actual schedules – in fact, the only candidate who has ever done so! This candidate then asked a relevant and informed question to the manager – “What was their greatest challenge was in regards to scheduling the advertising breaks?”. In this way, the candidate almost turned the interview round so that they were much more in control, and displayed a strong knowledge of the company, the day-to-day activities involved in the role and the potential challenges ahead. (Industry – Television)
Those who stand out are those who have researched the bank and the role, and are able to expand on why they are interested in the position – they really shine. (Industry – Banking and Financial Services)
One interviewer was recently very impressed by the fact that a candidate was more up-to date with company news than the interviewer himself was. (Industry – Banking and Financial Services)
ASKING QUESTIONS AND THINKING ABOUT YOUR ANSWERS
The best candidates are those who have understood the job description and who have asked questions about the company culture and can explain how they would fit in within the organisation.
interviewer: “Who do you consider to be your customers?”
candidate: “Everyone” (from your colleagues to your clients – the whole range as you should be conscious of the relationships that you build across the board, and the best way to develop them productively).
Those who listen carefully to the question, are eloquent and adaptable, and don’t just make broad statements but give concrete examples of skills.
Next week, we’ll be looking at some more general interview techniques. Happy job hunting!