As your consultants, our role is to work in partnership with you to help you find your next role – one is right for you and your career plans and simply, makes you happy. For interviewing, preparation is everything. The below is a brief guide that will give you some steps to go through to prepare for any not-for-profit interview.
Are they right for you?
Before you attend your interview it is worth asking the question, ‘do you really want the job?’ it sounds obvious but be sure that your motivations for wanting the job are sound. Taking the wrong job in the wrong organisation can have a huge impact both on you and the organisation. It is alright to change your mind. Better you do it now than after you have been offered the job or once you have taken up post.
What is the purpose of your interview?
Any job exists to meet a need within an organisation. The interview exists as a check and chemistry test to find the right person to meet that need and solve the problem. The interview is the final part of the selection process (almost – an offer of appointment will be subject to references and checks). They should be designed to be an objective assessment of the extent to which an applicant meets the selection criteria set out in the Person Specification. A good Person Specification will set out observable, measurable and fair selection criteria.
What happens in a traditional interview?
The traditional interview involves a series of questions being asked by an interview panel. It is good practice to ask each applicant the same set of questions. Different supplementary questions are developed by the panel in the light of each applicant’s individual responses. The panel should know why they are asking the question and what evidence they are trying to elicit. Part of the interview may involve a presentation or discussion on a topic that will have been requested in advance. Again, the purpose should be clear and should address one or more of the selection criteria. It should not simply be a requirement to ‘perform’. Some organisations will supply details of when and where the different criteria will be tested at which point in the selection process. This is because, for example, it is impossible to fully test, or assess, skills and abilities using an application form or CV.
Tests and assessments
More and more organisations are applying ability tests during the selection process. Their purpose is to test ability in a way that yields objective evidence and to give an indication of likely performance in the role. The application of tests (e.g. literacy, numeracy, psychometric) is usually carried out by assessors who are licensed by the supplier of the tools. It is important that the application of competency tests, also called an ‘Assessment Centre’, is regulated and quality assured. You cannot prepare for the tests so don’t worry about them. They are objective measures of your abilities and your attributes. They are just one part of a whole process and you will not be hired or not on the basis of your scores.
3 key things to get across in your interview
I want to work for this organisation
Why? What do you know about the organisation? Show how much you know about them, their aims, challenges, cause, sector. Show them how committed and knowledgeable you are and why you want thisparticular role in thisorganisation.
I can do the job
Think about what problem is this job trying to solve? What are they trying to achieve? Think about what the organisation needs. How does this role fit into their plans? And how do you and your skills fit into that role? How will you solve their problem and help them achieve their aims? What will you do in your first 6 months to start moving towards that goal?
I am the right fit for your team
The employer is thinking ‘do we want to work with you? Will you fit in here?’ If you’ve been called for an interview, they already know that in theory, you have the qualifications, skills, background and experience. They want to meet you so they can get to know what you’re like, what you’ll bring to the team, what sets you apart as an individual from all the other qualified and capable candidates.