There are only three main areas an interviewer is interested in:
1. Can you do the job?
2. Will you do the job?
3. Will you fit in?
Can you do the job?
Questions in this area are intended to probe your background. It is unlikely you would have been invited for interview if your qualifications and experience on paper did not match the criteria for the job. Most interviewers therefore will spend about 15% of the interview on this area.
Do you have the required qualifications?
If the job is very technical, you may be required to demonstrate greater in-depth technical knowledge in the interview. Be prepared to verify and back up any claims you make regarding qualifications and so on. Employers are increasingly using the services of data agencies to verify details given on CVs and application forms. Avoid ‘little white lies’ such as upgrading your A Level results. A small fib found out will undermine your credibility totally.
How does your previous experience meet the requirements of your target role?
Your job is to make sure you highlight how your experience and qualifications match the job you are targeting. Think about what they are looking for before the interview and make a list of your key selling points. If the interviewer doesn’t draw this out of you, then you need to tell them.
Will you do the job?
Interviewers are interested to know why you are applying for their particular job. Most interviewers will spend around 15% – 20% of their time probing your reasons for change. What is your motivation for putting yourself forward for this job? If the only reason for applying for the role is because it’s just round the corner then you may need to focus on something more positive about the company.
Why do you want to work for this organisation? What do you know about this organisation? What are your constraints regarding location / hours / flexibility etc?
Find out as much as you can about the organisation and reflect this back at the interviewers in your reasons for wanting to work for the company. You might consider they have exciting products or service concepts, or an outstanding training programme, or present great opportunities for personal development. The more you know about the organisation, the better armed you will be to make a considered choice about IF you want to work for them. The interviewer will appreciate your seriousness in doing your research.
Will you fit in?
The crucial question for most interviewers is will your face fit. Interviewers will spend around 65% to 70% of their time probing your work style and personal characteristics. If you are a good match to the organisational culture, other aspects of your experience and qualifications may be considered less important. At the end of the day, no one wants to employ someone they don’t like. The acid test is whether they could see themselves sharing an office with you. Here, your unspoken communication is just as important as what you say. How you dress and how you handle yourself give off vital messages. Do you look like you’re already one of the team? Do you dress smartly? The key is to look like you already belong. But, above all, be natural. If you put on a performance, chances are you won’t be comfortable in your new environment, and it won’t be long before your colleagues realise it too.