Preparing for Interview Questions

An often overlooked part of the interview process is fielding questions and, being heard to ask a lot of questions yourself. Granted, the lions share of the interview maybe dedicated to selling your experiences against a raft of different scenarios you may find yourself in should you get the role, however, you'll be kicking yourself IF you walk away from the interview not having clarified anything and everything.

I'm as guilty as anyone of not having my questions written down beforehand, relying on a) a good memory and / or b) I will make some up when I get there. Trust me, use a pen and paper in advance of the interview. Jot down a few things that you want to know, need to know or, seem even remotely relevant to the position for which you've applied. Although the 'there is no such thing as a stupid question' is kinda true, use the questions you ask to demonstrate you've researched the role, company or even, the person that's interviewing you.

Though it's one step short of stalking them, get a print out of their linkedin profile - highlight any key points on their profile(s) that may be of interest or you feel that are pertinent to bring up during the interview. It's often surprising how many shared contacts you have, things you've both done, people you've worked with or work for let alone projects you've been involved with etc etc

Even today, didn't quite have my thinking cap on for the ... where do you see yourself in three years? ... If we rang some of your past colleagues or co-workers, what would they say about you? ... When you get up in the morning, what task do you dislike the most? ... What do you see youself achieving in the first six months? ... Given the amount of stakeholders you'd be dealing with, who would you tackle first and how would you approach this? 

When on the train back from London this evening, the post mortem will continue - what went well and what could I do better next time? 

Dealing with Conflict

Having been asked this question at a recent interview and being the reflective, diligent man I am, thought to document a 'proper response' should I ever need one again.

Granted, I may not have answered it as best I could first time around however, this is what I should have said (though nearly did).

A little common sense and pre-emptive action BEFOREHAND can often defuse possible conflicts before they get out of hand however the following list of tips will help you manage and resolve touchy situations should they arise.

  1. Ask questions before you allow an escalation.

  2. Analyse expectations.

  3. Recognize differing perspectives.

  4. Identify mistakes as honest / unintended mistakes frequently result in conflict.

  5. Watch out for emotional triggers.

  6. Focus on preventing escalation (see 1 above).

  7. Take action to control the situation.

  8. Commit to working it out.

  9. De-escalate the conflict.

  10. Stay calm at all times (that’s me that is).

Anything to add? Anyone?