12 Days of Christmas part 3


part 3To celebrate the festive season, we presented a series of Christmas videos. Some of our Career Coaches have given their responses to 12 of our most asked questions and we have collected them into 3 articles, inviting you to enjoy, be inspired, and learn from Renovo’s 12 Days of Christmas. Enjoy part 3!

I have a competency-based interview in a few days, how should I best prepare?
By Rachel Lewis

Competency Based Interviews are used to determine if you have the necessary, skills, knowledge and behaviours needed to perform a role successfully.

You are likely to be asked a series of questions targeting a specific competency required for the role to determine how you behave in certain situations.  Interviewers usually start with a question like:

  • Describe a scenario when…
  • Tell me about a time when…
  • Give me an example of a situation when…

To prepare, identify the key competencies of the role. These will typically be identified in the person specification, job description and company values - make sure you include the following generic competencies:

  • Teamwork
  • Problem Solving
  • Initiative/Leadership
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Challenge/Stress/Pressure

Think about your past experiences, identifying at least two real-life examples for each competency that best demonstrate your skills and knowledge and are most closely matched to the role.

Practice narrating the examples using the STAR model. This includes:

  • Situation        describe the situation that you were in at the time
  • Task                explain what you had to achieve/or the problem you were solving
  • Action             tell them what you did to overcome the problem or achieve the objective
  • Result             tell them what the outcome was, and what your evaluation of this was

The STAR model will help provide structure to your answer as well as calming your nerves.

Finally, keep it natural, conversational and concise.

How to answer ‘Why should we hire you?’
By Karen McVicar

If you’ve successfully made it to the interview stage - well done, you’ve already demonstrated your CV/application is a match.

The interview itself is about YOU: confirming and bringing to life the information you’ve given so far.

‘Why Should We Hire You?’  Is a frequently asked question at interviews and even when it’s not asked explicitly, potential employers have this question in their minds: they will be comparing candidates’ various competencies and attributes.

You could respond with “because I can do the job and I really want to work for your company!”

Enthusiasm about the job and the company will be appreciated.

Broaden your response by thinking about the 4 areas below when preparing for any interview.

Your response should validate that you are the best candidate and:

  • Have a good understanding of what the role involves
  • You have applied the necessary experience, skills, knowledge in past roles
  • Understand the organisation; what it does and the market sector in which it operates
  • Are a match personally to the organisations culture, values and ways of working

Give examples that are relevant and actual  rather than hypothetical. Always give affirmative responses that engender confidence in your abilities.

I have been offered a job but the salary is lowered than expected. What tips can you offer on salary negotiation?
By Susan Devenish

We don’t realise that we negotiate life and events throughout our everyday lives, often from the moment we wake to going to sleep. However, we tend to reserve and plan the skills of negotiation for important issues. The importance and complexity of the situation does dictate our preparation time; however, all negotiations deserve a few minutes of groundwork. When we are offered a role, it is all too tempting to be relieved and to accept readily.  Better to say thanks and I can let you know in a day or so.  This gives you some thinking time.

Key points that will affect any possible salary/package negotiation line:

  • Function; Business development or front-line roles tend to have a higher base rate than manufacturing
  • How well you have interviewed! If you have the knowledge that you are above the average person for that role, can hit the ground running and contribute to the bottom line quickly,                 then more likely you can negotiate the first package on offer
  • Number of people at your level in that business-which may mean a tight range of salary base on offer
  • The current market for your role – the fewer candidates, more likely that a negotiation will take place

Ask yourself, is salary the only negotiation point? There are several tradeables:

  • If ££ are non-negotiable try to tweak working hours: 4 days not 5, flexible working times, time off in lieu if working any late evenings
  • Other tradeables include annual season tickets for travel to work, petrol allowances, car allowances, pension opportunities-all highly negotiable

Try not to assume that the first offer is the only offer.  Give yourself some time to consider all the options and give negotiation a try!

How can I succeed in my new job?
By Greta Gregory

One way to succeed in your new job is to plan like you’re a CEO. The new CEO would thoroughly prepare for the role by writing a 30/60/90 day action plan.  Whatever level you are at, you should do this too.

So, what should your plan include?

Understand the objectives – What are the objectives of the role, team and company?  What information do you need to gather to help you in your role?  What are the immediate and longer-term priorities? How will your performance be measured?  Regularly check in with your manager to ensure you are on the right track, adapt accordingly.  Don’t wait for the typical 90 day probationary performance review.

Who will aid your success? - Identify the key stake holders, the people that you need to meet quickly in order to make your job easier.  Write a list of the questions you may need to ask them, but also remember, their time is precious so be effective and efficient with your questions.  Listen and gather information and use it to help you in your role.  Be friendly and approachable, remember to smile!

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