Dream Job Essay


Q: Tell me about yourself. (The interviewer is really saying “I want to hear you talk”)

A: This is a commonly asked question designed to break the ice. Spend a maximum of five minutes to describe your qualifications, career history and your range of skills. Emphasise those skills that are relevant to the job on offer.

Q: What have been your achievements to date? (The interviewer is saying, “Are you an achiever? “)

A: Again this is a common question so be prepared. Select an achievement that is recent. Identify skills you used in the achievement and quantify the benefit.


Q: Are you happy with your career to date? (The interviewer is really asking about your self-confidence, your career aspirations and whether you are a positive person)

A: The answer must be ‘yes’ but if you have hit a career plateau or you feel you are moving too slowly, then you must qualify the answer.


Q: Tell me the most difficult situation you have had to face and how you tackled it? The interviewer is really trying to find out your definition of “difficult” and whether you can show a logical approach to problem solving)

A: Select a difficult work situation that was not caused by you. Explain how you defined the problem and what solution you applied to overcome the problem. Q: What do you dislike about your current role? (The interviewer is trying to find out whether the job on offer has responsibilities you will dislike) A: Be careful with this one. Don’t be too specific as you may draw attention to weaknesses.

One approach is to choose a characteristic of your present company such as its size, its slow decision making process etc. Give your answer with the air of someone who takes problems and frustrations in your stride, as part of the job.

Q: What are your strengths? (The interviewer wants a straightforward answer as to what you are good at and how it is going to add value)

A: This is one question you will certainly be asked, so there’s no excuse for being unprepared. Concentrate on discussing your main strengths. List three or four explanations of how they could benefit the employer.

Strengths to consider include technical proficiency; ability to learn quickly; determination to succeed; positive attitude; team focus and your ability to work autonomously.

Q: What are your greatest weaknesses? (The interviewer is asking about your self-perception and self-awareness)

A: This is another standard question for which you can be well prepared. Don’t say you don’t have any. We all have weaknesses. Either use a professional weakness such as a lack of experience (not ability) on your part in one area that is not vital for the job, or use a personal weakness and show the steps that you have taken to combat it.

An example would be,” I’m not very good at delegating but I’m learning to pass work on to colleagues by sitting down on a weekly basis and splitting the workload”.

Q: What kind of decision do you find most difficult? (The interviewer is really saying, “I need someone who is strong and decisive but who has a human side”)

A: Try to focus on decisions you have made without sufficient information. This will show your positive side. For example, “I like to make decisions based on sufficient information and having alternatives. When you have to make quick decisions you have to rely on “gut feeling” and experience.

Q: Why do you want to leave your current employer? (The interviewer is trying to understand and evaluate your motives for moving)

A: This should be straightforward. State how you are looking for more challenge, responsibility, experience and a change of environment and explain why you feel you are no longer receiving these things from your current role. For example, ” I have been with my company for four years and feel I have learnt as much about their x function as possible and there is no opportunity for a more senior role at present”. Other questions to consider

• How does your last/current job fit into your department and company? Gives an idea of level of responsibility)

• How do you respond to working under pressure? (Meaning – can you? ). Give examples.

• How have you coped when your work has been criticised? (Give an example including the outcome). • How have you coped when you have had to face a conflict of interest at work? (Testing interpersonal skills, team and leadership opportunities).

• What are your preferred working conditions, working alone or in a group and why?

• How do you think you are going to fit in here especially as this organisation is very different to your current employer? You may not be able to answer until you have established what your interviewer perceives as the differences).

• What are you looking for in a company?

• How do you measure your own performance?

• Which part of this role is least attractive to you?

• Why should I give this position to you instead of the other people on the shortlist? (Strengths).

• What would your previous employers say about you and what would they consider your weaknesses? Interview Questions That You Can Use Before your interview, prepare questions you want to ask the interviewer. ‘Open’ questions that begin with ‘What? ‘, ‘How? , ‘Where? ‘, ‘Will? ‘ or ‘Who? ‘ should encourage your interviewer to talk and provide you with additional information. • We recommend that you consider some of the following questions:

• What will my responsibilities be?

• How has the position become vacant?

• How will you assess my performance?

• How does the role fit into the structure of the department?

• How does the department fit into the organisation as a whole?

• Who will I report to and are there persons reporting to me?

• Where does my line manager fit into the structure?

• What encouragement is given to undertake further training? Who are your customers?

• Where is the company going? Expansion plans?

• Where is the specific location of the position?

• Will the position entail travelling?

• How soon will you decide on the appointment?

• What is the next step?


Step 1 – Do Your Research Researching the company and the industry in which they operate shows initiative, enthusiasm and a keen interest in the role. The fastest way to conduct research on a company is online. Start off with the company’s website and then try expanding your search using a search engine.

Try to answer the following questions. What are the company’s core products and services? How is the company perceived in the market place? Find out what you can about the company’s financial situation Try to think like a customer of the company and identify potential improvements Research the company’s competitors and the industry as a whole Step 2 – Preparation You should ensure you prepare thoroughly so that you are able to talk comfortably about yourself, your experience and how it relates to the role. Be familiar with your CV and prepared to answer questions from it.

Similarly, ensure you have read any job description thoroughly and think of ways in which your experience will benefit your potential employer. Prepare yourself in advance for common interview questions. Refer to our interview questions section for some practical examples Conduct practice interviews with friends and family until you can comfortably answer each question without hesitation Prepare questions to ask the employer. Refer to our Interview questions section for some practical examples Find out where the interview will be, obtain clear directions, and confirm the time. ww. whereis. com. au and www. 131500. com. au are very useful websites for directions. Step 3 – The Interview Make sure your mobile phone is switched off. Relax and have confidence in your research and preparation Greet your interviewer standing, with a firm handshake and a smile! Good body language is vital. Wait to sit until the interviewer does or until they offer you your chair. Sit up straight with both feet on the floor. Speak clearly and confidently. Try and maintain a comfortable level of eye contact throughout Don’t rush to fill in silence. Think before you speak.

Use practical examples to illustrate your skills and show how they suit the role and the company. Avoid one word answers Show enthusiasm for the role Speak with clarity and confidence. Close the interview with a handshake and a genuine thank you; make a positive last impression. Step 4 – After the Interview Write down a short summary of the interview while it is still fresh in your mind. Note the areas in which you feel you went well, as well as any questions you found difficult to answer. This will help you to prepare for a possible second interview, or with future interviews for other roles.

Call your Hays consultant and provide feedback. Your consultant needs to know your views on the interview and the role before contacting the employer. TYPES OF INTERVIEW You will encounter a number of interview techniques during your job search. Approaches vary according to the nature of the role and the industry. Behavioural interviews The interviewer will ask you to describe how you handled various situations in your previous role. The emphasis is on your experience and its relevance to the position for which you are being considered.

Prepare by identifying four or five examples that show how you faced challenges and achieved positive outcomes in your previous role. In each case describe a specific task or situation that is relevant to the role in question. Situational interviews These are very similar to behavioural interviews. The difference is that situational interviews pose hypothetical questions, rather than asking for specific examples of past performance. Questions are based on the skills and personality traits that are required for the role. Use the job description to identify key responsibilities because the questions are likely to focus on these areas.

Unstructured interviews This style is conversational and information is gained through a free-flowing discussion. The interviewer does not ask a set of questions in a predetermined order. You are required to carry the conversation and the topics you discuss generally lead to subsequent questions. Rehearsal is important because the interviewer, although apparently casual, will be looking for details that reveal your skills, personality and cultural fit for the role. Panel interviews These consist of multiple interviewers who are usually sourced from different parts of the organisation.

Objectives are likely to vary between members of the panel and this will affect the flow of questioning. Establish eye contact with the member of the panel asking the question and scan the other panel members during your response. Take particular care when answering technical or strategic questions as panel members may have specialist knowledge in these areas. A-Z INTERVIEW TECHNIQUES A Assets Always sell your good points and state clearly why you are perfect for the job. B Be sensitive Be enthusiastic but not overly aggressive. Be friendly but not too relaxed. C Chewing gum

Fresh breath is a define bonus but spit your gum out before you go into the interview. Make sure the rest of you is clean and fresh too. D Deportment Walk tall, pull your shoulders back, keep your head up and smile. E Eye contact Maintaining eye contact instils immediate trust and shows that you are approachable. F Focus on everyone If more than one person is interviewing you, glance at everyone when you talk- it shows respect. G Get groomed Groomed hair gives you an instant confident boost. H Honesty Do not be tempted to bluff. If you get caught out it will be embarrassing and you will give the wrong impression.

I Introduce yourself Shake hands firmly and state your name when you greet your interviewer. J Job description Ask for a job description before the interview so you completely understand what the role involves. K Keep it simple Sit up straight and do not fiddle with your hair or hands or clothing. L Less is more When it comes to make-up, accessories, jewellery and clothing, keep it simple but stylish and professional. M Magic manicures A smart French manicure or a stick of pale nail polish always looks professional. Make sure your nails are clean and short too. N Navigation

Pinpoint the interview site and plan how you are going to get there. You do not want to be late or flustered when you arrive. Look at www. 131500. com. au or www. whereis. com. au for directions. O Organise yourself Iron your shirt and polish your shoes the night before so you have less to think about on the day. P Preparation Use the Internet or speak with people in the industry to find out as much as you can about the company. Always good to have a few facts on the company up your sleve. Q Questions Asking a question demonstrates you are proactive and have a clear understanding of the role.

Take in notes with you to the interview so you can remember what you want to ask or comment on. R Rehearse Practice answering generic questions with a friend – but DON’T make scripts… even in your head! S Smile A happy face is always a winner- it portrays a confident, approachable manner. T Talk slowly Take the time to think thorough your answers and deliver them in a controlled manner. U Underwear Droopy bra straps, black underwear under white shirts or protruding boxers are an absolute no-go! V Vile questions Remember they are looking at how you respond to tough questions as much as what you actually say.

Always remember to phrase your responses in the positive tense, and conduct yourself professionally W What to wear Go with the safe and smart option – a suit is the best option for most occasions. You can brighten up a plain suit with a smart shirt, scarf, briefcase, or tie. X X-ray vision Look beyond the question and consider what the interviewers are trying to find out about you. Y Yadda, yadda ,yadda Do not waffle – you want every word to count. Z ZZZ….. Get a good night sleep. Yawning and appearing tired and dazed does not make you look good.


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