How to prepare and do your best interview

Ted WalshOn Thursday 21st September 2021, Chartered Accountants Ireland Interim Managers was joined by Ted Walsh from Enable Me Coaching on the topic of ‘Interview Preparation and Interview Skills’. Ted is an ACC credentialed coach with the International Coach Federation (ICF) and specialises in the areas of executive and business coaching, career coaching and training and facilitation.

This is a topic that is always of huge value to the members of Chartered Accountants Ireland Interim Managers as they meet prospective clients who will want to ensure they have the right skills and competences to successfully complete an interim assignment.

Ted brought us through a number of areas including:

What employers are looking for in a candidate

Employers are essentially looking to see 3 things when interviewing for a role:

  1. Can you do the job?
  2. Will you do the job?
  3. Will you fit?

The main types of interviews that candidates will come across are:

  • Screening / preliminary interview
  • Traditional interview
  • Competency-based interview
  • Panel interview

Competency-based questions

Ted spent some time going through the competency-based questions, highlighting that not only should a candidate review the job spec, but they should also prepare answers that demonstrate their ability to perform in that role. It’s important to have a framework that sets out each of the skills/competencies/behaviours that are required for the role and list out a number of examples for each item listed. This will mean you will have a library from which to draw from in any interview situation. There are many approaches to this exercise – e.g. STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) or CAR (Context, Action, Result) – but the answers should always be aimed at the level of the job the candidate is applying for.

More general interview tips that Ted shared with the group were:

  • Start with the job spec
  • Identify skills, competencies, behaviours
  • Know the process
  • Know your CV
  • Know the organisation
  • Practice, Practice, Practice

Current trends – the virtual interview

  • Ensure the room set-up is relaxed and you feel comfortable
  • Test the technology in advance
  • Make sure the camera level is appropriate
  • Although not in person, continue to make eye contact as you normally would
  • No arms folded or fidgeting – body language is still important.
  • Practice video interviewing. Record yourself. How do you look and sound?