Draw three large over lapping circles on a piece of paper. Two at the top and one below. Write the words previous experience (past), people and personal attributes, in different circles and the numbers one to six in each.
Next to each number write a specific example, no more than four words, that demonstrates your ability in that area; six examples will give you enough range to vary your answers. Previous experience should include examples of your achievements, qualifications and responsibilities that are relevant to the role, sector or organisation you’re applying to. People should include examples of how you influence and build relationships with superiors, peers, subordinates, customers or external stakeholders. Include some difficult situations in this section. Personal attributes should include the things that make you unique; what are your values, qualities and drivers, and reasons they should hire you? Again, have specific examples that demonstrate these.
Now that you have 18 examples in total, structure them in your mind using S.T.A.R.
Situation, where and who with?
Task, what did you have to do?
Action, what specific actions did you take over what time?
Result. What were the qualitative and quantitative results?
The S.T.A.R. structure helps you give a completed answer that is detailed enough but also concise so prevents you being verbose.
Now research the company and the person(s) you are meeting. information is easy obtain so there is no excuse not to know about the company. Look at their website, news stories, and financial accounts, the LinkedIn profiles of who you are meeting and other employees and company history. Look at their company and values if published and check that some of your examples demonstrate these.
Prepare questions for them, again I would have at least six, so if some are answered in the course of the interview you will still have more to ask. Use open questions that relate to strategy, challenges and culture. Avoid asking about salary and benefits as this can be done outside of the interview process.
- Finally you should practise, use someone you trust to ask you questions and give you honest feedback on delivery, confidence, body language and eye contact.