How to present yourself well in unstructured interviews.

An unstructured interview generally follows a review of your CV and involves questions around your experience and ability to fulfill the role without having to complete competency tests. These interviews can be subjective so it’s important to know how to present yourself well. Here are our top tips for making a favourable impression:

1.       Chat to your consultant before the interview

Your consultant is likely to know the company well and have a very good understanding of what the role entails. They are therefore an excellent source of information for you. Ask questions about the role and company expectations. It also may be helpful to ask why they think you’re suitable for the role and this will identify your best attributes from an outsiders perspective.

2.       What are your selling points?

This is not about being arrogant or boastful, it is about telling the interviewer about your expertise and the value that you can bring to the organization. Think about previous roles and successes you achieved there. Have specifics (figures are best) that can demonstrate the success and be ready to chat through the process of how you achieved that success. Using the STAR methods helps a great deal:

What was the Situation or Task you were faced with?

What Actions did you take and explain the rationale for them?

What was the outcome or Result?

3.       What value can you add?

Ultimately this is the underlying question of just about every interview. Think of how your performance was measured in previous roles? Make a note of specific KPI’s achieved or methods you introduced that made a significant difference in the outcomes. If you mention an achievement it’s likely the interviewer will want you to explain this so having thought this through in advance will help you speak with a greater level of confidence.

4.       Are there sticking points?

There may be gaps in your employment history, or a perceived weakness in your level of experience. Be prepared to answer questions in this regard. Give some thought to how you could overcome areas of weakness and demonstrate that you’re willing to be proactive about this. Even if you don’t have the required level of experience, if you can demonstrate analytical thinking and a can-do attitude, they may be willing to give you the opportunity.

5.       What’s unique about you?

For every role, it’s likely the company is interviewing several candidates. You may all have similar qualifications and experience, so to help them decide, they will want to know why you would be a better choice over someone else. Sometimes it’s the small things that can make a difference such as being punctual, having excellent people or negotiation skills. Being organized or being able to think laterally to find solutions to problems. If you’ve applied these skills in previous roles, share the experiences that demonstrate how you as an individual add value.

6.       Know why you want the job

Inevitably an interviewer will ask why you want the job and why you think you’re suited. This is an opportunity to share why you like the company and what you feel it has to offer you in terms of career progression. If you can link this to your personal values then it’ll carry even more weight as companies are proven to be more successful when they have employees that buy into their vision.

What all these tips culminate in is: Be prepared. Interviews can be nerve racking, even for people at an advanced stage in their career. The more prepared you are, the more confident you will come across in the interview.