Friday, December 15, 2006

Can you do the job?

Before an employer decides to give someone a job, they need to be
convinced that the person can either do the job properly or learn
it quickly. It comes as no surprise to learn therefore that ‘Can you
do the job?’ questions are the most common. They’re also the ones
people spend most time preparing for.
‘Can you do the job?’ questions are those that directly or indirectly
seek to ascertain your ability to perform the duties inherent in a
job. They include questions that seek to clarify your:
• skills;
• knowledge;
• experience;
• key achievements;
• potential performance.
Examples of ‘Can you do the job?’ questions include:
• Can you give us an example of a time you had to communicate
something that was complex and controversial? How did you
go about it?
• Tell us about one of your key achievements?
• An irate client rings and gives you a blast over the phone. How
do you handle it?
• What do you think you can bring to this position?
• Can you give us an example of a project that you had to plan
and organise? What steps did you take?
• How would you describe yourself? (At first glance this may not
strike you as a ‘Can you do the job?’ question, but effective inter-
viewees always look for ways to highlight their skills.)
• What would you say makes an effective manager of people?
• Why should we employ you?
• What do you regard as your greatest strength?
• The most important duty in your job will be to look after the x,
y and z. Tell us how you intend going about it.
Three types of ‘Can you do the job?’ questions
Unless you’re being interviewed for a job that’s almost identical to
one you’ve already had, it is likely that you will be asked three types
of ‘Can you do the job?’ questions. These are:
• questions about duties that you have performed before (see
Chapter 3);
• questions about duties that you have not performed but whose
skills you have mastered (see Chapter 4);
• questions about duties that are entirely new to you (see
Chapter 5).
Finding out as much about the job as possible
The first thing you need to do is take a very close look at the duties
and requirements of the job you’re applying for. It is these duties and
requirements that will form the basis of your answers. There are
several ways of collecting this sort of information:
• scrutinising the job advertisement;
• accessing a duty statement—if there is one;
• contacting the employer or recruitment agent to clarify the main
responsibilities of the job.
In an ideal world, you would have access to a detailed job
advertisement, an up-to-date duty statement and an employer happy
to discuss the main responsibilities of the job. Unfortunately, all too
often the reality is that job ads are thinly worded, duty statements
are non-existent and employers do not have time to return your
calls. However, it is critical that you find out as much about the job
as possible before sitting down and thinking about your answers.
The best source of information is either the employer or the
recruitment agent. Job ads and duty statements are useful (sometimes
they’re all that you will have); however, duty statements can often
be out of date and job ads can lack sufficient information.
Talking to the right people can provide you with insights that
often cannot be picked up from the written word. You might find
out, for example, that the position you’re applying for was made
vacant because the previous incumbent had poor interpersonal
communication skills and became aggressive when anyone expressed
a differing opinion. In such a case, it is likely that the employer will
be looking for a replacement with excellent interpersonal
communication and team player skills. You’d have a far better chance
of winning the job if you had accessed this information before the
interview and taken the time to prepare your answers.
Talking to an employer to find out more
If you’re able to talk to the employer, be sure you’ve got your questions
prepared. The last thing you want to do is waste their time by
stumbling through poorly thought-out questions. If the employer
does not return your call, do not throw in the towel. Often the
person who answers the phone can be an invaluable source of
information—especially in small to medium sized enterprises. There’s
a good chance that they know a great deal about the position, or
they might know someone else who does and is willing to talk to
you. Here are some useful rules when talking to an employer before
the interview:
• Avoid small talk and get straight to the point. Small talk will be
seen as sucking up—which, of course, it is!
• Avoid asking too many questions—just ask the important ones,
unless the employer has made it obvious that they’ve got lots
of time on their hands and is willing to talk to you.
• Never ask frivolous questions—those that can be answered from
the advertisement or that a good applicant would be expected
to know the answers to.
• Where necessary, provide a succinct reason why you’re asking
the question—the employer may not understand the significance
of the question and could draw the wrong conclusions.
• Thank them for their time and tell them you’re looking forward
to the interview.
A quick word about duty statements
Duty statements are simply a summary of the main duties of a job.
Whilst they’re a great source of information, they can be out of
date. So, if you’ve been sent one, make the effort to find out whether
the information on it is still valid. Checking on a duty statement
can represent a great opportunity to contact the employer and ask
a few questions. Unfortunately, duty statements are usually the
preserve of large organisations. Smaller companies generally lack
the resources to write them.
Gleaning information from a job advertisement
When you scrutinise the job advertisement, make a list of all the
duties/requirements associated with the position. The idea is to try
to read between the lines as much as possible. The more duties and
requirements you come up with, the more thorough your preparation
will be, which will lessen the chances of being caught unprepared
at the interview.
The four steps to interview success
The four steps to interview success are designed to capture all the
relevant information you need to construct interview answers within
a simple-to-manage framework. This method features four columns,
with the headings shown below in Table 3.1.
Table 3.1 The four steps to interview success
Step 1
of the position I’m
applying for
Step 2
What I’ve already
done that relates
directly to the duties
listed in step 1,
including overcoming
Step 3
Current or past
Step 4
organisational and
By filling out each of the columns in the table, you are effectively
collecting all the information you’ll need to answer a broad range
of questions. Most importantly, it’s your relevant information, not
information gathered from other people’s answers you’ve read
elsewhere. Once you’ve captured the required information, your
next step is to put it together in response to a range of likely interview
questions and then practise your answers.
Behavioural questions
One of the key advantages of the four steps method is that it lends
itself to addressing a popular questioning technique commonly referred
to as behavioural questioning. You can recognise one of these questions
every time an interviewer asks you for specific examples to back up
a claim you have made, including the steps you took and the obstacles
you encountered. Behavioural questions are designed to uncover the
actions (behaviours) behind an outcome or a duty, and cannot be
successfully answered without preparing the third column.
If you’re a graduate or a new entrant to the workforce, there’s
still a good chance that you will be asked behavioural questions;
however, they will be limited in scope. Instead of asking for
employment-related experience, interviewers will ask for study- or
life-related incidences. For example, the interviewer may want to
know how well you function in a team, so may ask you about the
last time you had to complete an assignment with a group of students.
The same principle applies to communication skills, planning and
organising, conflict resolution, your ability to cope with change,
and so on.
Using the four steps
Once you’ve come up with as much information as you can about
the job, you need to start thinking about preparing your answers
regarding duties you’ve performed before. All you need to do is recount
your past actions and achievements and link them to the new job.
But be careful not to take these interviews for granted. It is all
too easy to fall into the trap of not preparing because you think
that the questions will be easy. However, just because you’ve performed
the same duties does not mean you will be able to articulate the
details of what you did and how you did it. There’s a big difference
between doing something and actually having to talk about it in a
succinct and coherent fashion.
Your first step is to select all the duties/requirements of the new
job that you have performed before and recount your past actions
and achievements in a way that will make the creation of effective
answers easy. Use Table 3.1 to capture all the information you will
need, including what you did, how you did it, the context in which
you did it and the outcomes. A more detailed explanation of each
of the steps, including what to include and not include in each
column, follows.
Step1: Duties or requirements
List the duties and requirements of the job you’re applying for in
the first column.
Step 2: What you did and how you did it
The second column (step 2) contains the core of your answers,
including the obstacles you overcame to satisfy the duties or
requirements listed in step 1. When filling out this column, avoid
writing broad-ranging or general answers, though this may not
always be possible. The idea is to break up the duty or requirement
listed in step 1 into its primary tasks or components. It helps if you
ask yourself the following question: In order to complete the duty
or requirement in step 1, what individual actions did I take, including
any actions I took to overcome obstacles? Then list these in a logical
Avoid rushing through this step, especially if it has been a while
since you’ve performed a particular duty. A good idea is to write all
the things you can think of and then reduce the list down to the
key points. Include specific examples.
Be careful not to over-elaborate when filling out the second
column. Doing so can inadvertently lead to answers containing far
too much detail. Given that many interviewees feel they have to
show off their hard-earned knowledge, it is easy to go overboard in
step 2. But, in the vast majority of cases, you are not required to
cover every contingency when answering a question. Try to avoid
talking for longer than you should, thus boring the interviewer. Most
interviewers are able to draw sensible inferences from the main points
in your answer. If they want more information, they’ll ask for it.
If you do have lots of great information that you absolutely feel
cannot be left out, then go ahead and list them in the second column,
but be selective about what you use at the interview. Only choose
the most relevant points. You can leave your other points for other
questions or, if there are no follow-up questions, pat yourself on
the back for being thorough in your preparation.
Not providing exhaustive answers at an interview makes a lot
of sense when you factor in the importance of rapport-building
during the course of an interview. Remember: building rapport with
the interviewer is the most important thing you can do at an interview
and talking too much works against that all-important goal.
How long should my answers be?
Some answers can be as short as one word; others may run into
many sentences. It all depends on the question and the circumstances.
Here are some helpful guidelines on keeping your answers within
acceptable parameters.
Let’s make some reasonable assumptions. Say your interview will
run for 40 minutes. Take away five minutes for settling and the
exchange of pleasantries. That leaves you about 35 minutes. (It never
hurts to ask how long the interview will run, but ask before the
interview, not at the actual interview, lest you give the impression
that you’re in a hurry to be somewhere else.) Now, let’s say the job
contains ten main duties and requirements and that the interviewer
has prepared two questions per primary duty/requirement. That
means you have to answer, at a minimum, twenty questions within
35 minutes, which means you’ll have a little under two minutes per
question. This does not mean that you set your timer at one minute
and fifty seconds for every question—it simply means that it is
reasonable to assume the interviewers have left a little less than two
minutes to get through their primary questions.
However, it is also reasonable to assume that the interviewer
may want to spend more time on particular questions. If you’ve
done your homework, there’s a good chance that you’ll know
beforehand which questions the interviewers will wish to spend a
little extra time on. If not, it’s up to you to be as alert as possible
during the interview. Look out for any clues (such as body language
and tone of voice) that may indicate the interviewer is placing extra
importance on particular questions. The point is that it’s OK to
spend a little extra time on these sorts of questions.
Avoid subjective or liberal interpretations of questions. Listen
very carefully to the question, and answer it. This sounds obvious,
but people do have a bad habit of assuming that the interviewer is
wanting to hear a whole lot of other things. Just stick to the question.
If interviewers have other questions, there’s a good chance they’ll
ask them.
Step 3: Context
Once you’ve listed what you did and how you did it under step 2,
it is important to give some thought to the context or situation in
which you did it. Without context, your answers will sound empty
or only half-completed. In fact, as we shall see a little later, it is
often a good idea to begin your answers by giving the interviewer an
insight into the context in which you performed the duties. For
example, it’s better to start an answer by saying, ‘I planned and
organised my work in a fast-paced entrepreneurial environment
where clients wanted everything in a big hurry’, rather than saying,
‘I planned and organised my work by ensuring that my work schedule
took upcoming events into account’. Whilst there’s nothing wrong
with the latter, the former is a better beginning because it sets the
scene and gives the interviewer a better insight into the environment
in which you worked.
By talking about context, you’re giving the interviewer a better
appreciation of the work you did, as well as its relevance to the job
you’re applying for. Without a clearly articulated context, your
answers will consist of little more than a bunch of tasks you
completed. And there’s a good chance interviewers will adopt one
of those indifferent expressions indicating that, no matter what you
say thereafter, they have decided you’re not getting the job.
Please note that you only need to establish context once for each
job you did. Repeating context for the same job is nonsensical and
is likely to make the interviewer think that you bumped your head
against something hard on your way to the interview!
Step 4: Outcomes
This step involves writing down the key outcomes or results of your
actions. One of the things I’ve noticed over the years is that many
people find it difficult to articulate the good things that have resulted
from their work. When I ask them why, I soon discover it’s because
many of them don’t think in terms of outcomes. Unfortunately,
their thinking is primarily confined to what they did, and sometimes
how they did it. However, outcomes or achievements are arguably
the most important aspect of your work. There’s little point in doing
all the right things if you don’t achieve any positive outcomes. From
an interviewer’s point of view, outcomes are critical.
When thinking about outcomes, it is useful to separate them
into organisation and personal categories.
Organisational outcomes
Organisational outcomes include any improvements accrued by the
organisation as a result of your work. Sometimes these are easy to
quantify, especially if you’ve been involved in making, selling,
installing or changing something. When thinking about organisational
outcomes, many people confine themselves to the evident outcomes—
or the things they actually did. Examples of evident outcomes include
such things as implementing a new filing system, changing report
templates or building a new database for keeping track of customer
contacts. Needless to say, it is important to mention these outcomes
at an interview. However, the shortfall with evident outcomes is
that they fail to articulate their primary benefits to the organisation.
Saying you implemented a new filing system is great, but your answer
would be much better if you also articulated the benefit of this new
filing system to the employer. For example:
• Productivity rose by 5 per cent.
• Quality of service, as measured by customer feedback, improved
• Customer service levels improved by 12 per cent.
• Staff satisfaction and moral improved by over 8 per cent.
• Turn-around times nearly halved.
‘Best guess’ estimates are fine in this situation.
You will have noticed that most of the above outcomes are
quantified. In general, quantified outcomes sound a lot more credible
than just saying something ‘improved’. However, if you do not have
specific numbers to talk about, approximations will do—providing
you can back them up. Unfortunately, many interviewees feel they
cannot talk about the specific improvements their efforts led to
because they worked for an organisation that did not measure
outcomes. If you find yourself in this situation, you should not allow
your employer’s failure to measure to deter you from articulating
‘best guess’ improvements. You are entitled to say to the interviewer
that, even though the benefits to the organisation were not measured,
you estimate that improvements were in the range of x per cent. But
be warned—do not go making over-inflated claims, otherwise you’ll
lose credibility. And be sure you can justify your ‘best guess’ claims.
Here are some phrases that may assist you in articulating outcomes
that were not measured:
• Anecdotal evidence strongly indicated . . .
• All the feedback we received showed that . . .
• The stakeholders were unanimous in their praise.
• Senior management felt that the goals were more than met.
• Judging by the time saved, we estimated that productivity
improved by . . .
Here’s an example of an answer that includes employer benefit
outcomes that were not measured:
As result of the new filing system, time spent by staff locating
certain documents decreased significantly, which gave them
more time to concentrate on other work. Even though we
did not measure precisely how much time was saved, the
feedback I received from the users strongly indicated that
productivity improved by at least 5 per cent.
Personal outcomes
In their rush to talk about organisational outcomes, interviewees often
neglect to talk about their personal outcomes. Articulating personal
outcomes can be a very effective interview technique, particularly
when those outcomes are directly relevant to the job you’re applying
for. It’s also an effective way to highlight an important skill or
insight to an interviewer who seems to be incapable of asking
appropriate questions.
Personal outcomes include any benefits you have accrued as a
result of your work. These can include:
• learning new skills;
• improving existing skills;
• gaining new insights;
• various forms of recognition, including promotion or monetary
For example, stating that, at the end of a big project, you felt a
wonderful sense of accomplishment (a very natural thing to feel)
signals to the interviewer that you’re the sort of person who is motivated
by working on and successfully completing a large project. Here are
some examples of simple but effective personal outcome endings:
As a result of working on the project, my planning and
organisational skills improved dramatically. (skills-based)
By the end of my stay with company x, my insight into the
legal aspects of occupational health and safety requirements
had improved significantly. (knowledge-based)
One of the pleasing things about working with the project team
was discovering how much I enjoyed working in a team en-
vironment. I always thought that I functioned better working
solo, but I discovered that I was highly effective working as
Suggested activity: Personal outcomes
Before you go on, see whether you can come up with three personal
outcome endings of your own.
Putting it all altogether
Having created your answers, you need to bring together the
information you’ve captured in the four steps in order to construct
answers that can be used to tackle a broad range of relevant questions.
One of the main advantages of using the four steps is that you can
easily construct answers that address a range of questions relating
to the duties and requirements in step 1. Here are some important
tips to help you construct an answer.
Posing questions to yourself
The first thing to do is pose a question relating to the duty or
requirement listed under step 1. Start off with a question that you
feel comfortable with, then answer it using the information in the
other three columns. At the start, it is a good idea to write your
answers down. This will give you some all-important structure and
direction. However, committing answers to paper does not imply
that you have to memorise them word for word. In fact, doing so
can be counter-productive—for two reasons. First, precise word-for-
word answers are suited to highly specific questions, and there is no
guarantee that you will be asked the specific question you’ve prepared
for. Second, memorising answers to such a degree can rob you of
two of the most important skills used in interviews: flexibility and
an ability to think on your feet. The important thing is to memorise
the main points of your answers. You are not required to regurgitate
them in exactly the same order using exactly the same sentences.
Once you’ve written your answer down and practised it to the
point where you’ve achieved a satisfactory level of fluency (without
referring to your notes), you can ask and answer other questions
relating to the same duty or requirement. Two to three questions
for each of the duties/requirements under step 1 should suffice. You
can do more if you choose; however, you’ll probably find that, with
more questions, you’ll be repeating your answers.
How to pose your own questions
Generating your own questions is a simple process if you tackle it
from the perspective of the interviewer. Put yourself in the shoes of
the interviewer and ask yourself what questions you would need to
ask to ascertain whether the interviewee could perform the relevant
duty or job requirement. You will need to take into account
behavioural questioning techniques, which are designed to uncover
the specific actions behind stated claims. An example of a behavioural-
based question relating to working in an entrepreneurial environment
is: ‘Tell us about the way you dealt with working in a fast-paced
entrepreneurial environment. What steps or techniques worked for
you?’ Notice the key phrases: ‘the way you dealt with’ and ‘What
steps or techniques worked for you?’ This question is trying to un-
cover the key behaviours underpinning successful work in an
entrepreneurial environment.
By asking yourself such questions, there is a good chance that you
will come close to anticipating the interview questions—or at least
be more precise about the intent of the interview questions. The actual
question at the interview probably will sound different to the question
you posed yourself, but its intent or purpose will be similar. In other
words, even though questions may be worded differently, the content
of your answers should be relevant to the interview.
Where possible begin your answer with the context (see step 3).
Think of context as the foundation upon which you build some of
your answers. The clearer the context, the more sense the rest of
your answer will make to the interviewer. The interviewer will know
what sort of environment you were working in and how important
your duties were to the success of the job, not to mention your own
Once you’ve established context in one question you do not
have to keep on mentioning the same context for every question
relating to the same workplace. Only mention context again if a
new one is being discussed.
What you did and how you did it
Once you’ve established context, you’re free to launch into the heart
of your answer: the specifics of what you did and how you did it
(see step 2).
Finishing your answer with an outcome or outcomes
As much as possible, try to conclude with a positive outcome.
Summarising the above points, here’s what a question and a full
answer might sound like:
Question: Tell us about the way you dealt with working in a fast-
paced entrepreneurial environment.
Whilst working for this company, an important client needed
changes made to one of the orders she had placed and she
needed these changes completed within a very short space
of time. Given that a number of our clients worked in un-
predictable environments, these requests were not uncommon.
Our job was to ensure that we could meet them, otherwise
we’d effectively be out of a job.
This establishes the context—step 3. Amongst other things, this
opening tells the interviewer about the significance of your work.
The way I dealt with working in such a demanding environ-
ment was to ensure that my planning took into account the
fact that matters could change at any minute. For example,
I made it very clear to my clients and colleagues that, due to
the nature of my work, I might be changing appointments
or sending someone else instead of myself. I also avoided
making long-term commitments. Coping in such a hectic
environment also meant that I had to make some fundamental
changes in the way I thought about work. I had to quickly
jettison the idea of working predictable hours and performing
foreseeable tasks. I also had to come to terms with the idea
that work can often be unpredictable requiring a great deal
of flexibility. Now I could never see myself going back to a
settled working environment.
I also had to be prepared to learn new things quickly as
the need arose. For this job, I had to learn the basics of
PowerPoint and Access in a few days and apply them on the
job. Retraining becomes a way of life, as does learning to
work well with others.
This reflects step 2: what you did and how you did it. The answer
clearly and succinctly states what actions were taken (planning),
and gives specific examples of how they were taken (e.g changing
The outcomes of my work were very motivating for me. Not
only did we consistently meet the client’s requests, but we
had an excellent record in terms of our customer service levels
as measured by our twice yearly customer service survey.
This is an illustration of step 4: outcomes. In this case, two
organisational outcomes have been stated: ‘consistently met client’s
requests’ and ‘excellent customer service’. And there is one personal
outcome—‘high levels of motivation’.
This answer is a thorough one, and you would probably not use
all of it in response to a single question. However, thorough preparation
is a wise precaution. You may choose to use only a part of this answer
in response to a team player question and keep the rest in reserve
for another team player question or a question requiring similar
skills. Feel free to ‘cut and paste’ your answers as the need arises.
The elements of a good interview response contained in this
answer include the following:
• It provided specific examples.
• It mentioned learning the basics of PowerPoint and Access.
• It stated what you did and how you did it—for example, chang-
ing appointments; avoiding making long-term commitments;
learning new things quickly as the need arose; retraining; and
letting go of the idea that work is predictable and inflexible.
• It stated outcomes and mentioned being motivated by outcomes,
including consistently meeting clients’ requests and an excel-
lent record in terms of customer service levels.

It avoided meandering all over the place.
One of the strengths of the four steps is that we can answer a
range of questions relating to the duty or requirement under step 1.
Below are responses to some other questions relating to working in
an entrepreneurial environment.
Question: Which part of working in an entrepreneurial environment
did you find most challenging?
Given the short time frames and levels of work required, the
most challenging aspect for me—at least in the beginning—
was meeting the client’s tight deadlines. (step 3).
I met this challenge by improving the way I planned for
contingencies, by training myself in several software packages
including PowerPoint and Access, and by putting into place
measures that improved the communication amongst key
stakeholders. (step 2).
The outcomes were very positive. Not only did I begin to
meet the client’s deadlines, but I also put into place
communication procedures that improved organisational
efficiency. (step 4).
Question: What did you enjoy most about working in an
entrepreneurial environment?
The part I enjoyed most was meeting the tight deadlines set
by the clients. I always felt a deep sense of satisfaction every
time we successfully overcame a difficult challenge (step 4).
A lot of planning and well-organised work needed to be
completed before the deadlines were successfully met. (steps
2 and 3). For example, we needed to ensure that all members
of the team were continually communicating with one another
and that everyone had the required training. I enjoyed working
in a fast-paced and challenging environment which stretched
me on a daily basis.
Question: How do you manage the pressures of working in a fast-
paced entrepreneurial environment?
I manage it quite well. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that I
enjoy working in such an environment. The strategies that
work for me consist of ensuring that I’ve got all the right
skills to do the job, including good communications skills
and the ability to work well with others. Just as important
as skills, however, is the right state of mind. I enjoy working
at a fast pace and in a challenging environment where change
is the only constant. I could not imagine myself working in
a slow-paced and predictable environment.
Remember, the four steps simply provide a means by which you
can capture lots of relevant data in a simple way. There’s no reason
why you cannot alter some aspects of the model to suit your own
needs. It is designed to be flexible. Here are two important examples
of how the four steps can be used differently.
First, you do not have to fill each column. For example, if you
have no personal outcomes worth mentioning, don’t invent them
for the sake of filling out that section. The same goes for the obstacles
under step 2. In some cases, people encounter very minor obstacles
when performing certain duties—so minor, in fact, that they’re really
not worth mentioning. Always leave out trivia. The idea is to fill
each of the columns only with information that was important to
the job and that you think will be relevant to the interviewer.
Second, you can alter the headings under the four steps to suit
the question you’re addressing. For example, for questions that relate
to qualities or issues that are not skills related and/or do not readily
lend themselves to step-by-step procedures, the heading of the second
column can be adjusted to simply read ‘Examples’. Such qualities
would include loyalty, honesty, integrity, work-related values or
beliefs, and hobbies. Because values-related characteristics such as
the above are qualities which do not require skills or technical
knowledge, and which do not lend themselves to a sequence of
actions, this column would simply list examples of when you behaved
loyally or honestly (rather than how you did something). Here are
some examples of questions where step 2 may be adjusted:
• Tell us about some of your interests outside of work.
• We’re loyal to our employees and would like to think they are
loyal to us. Can you give us an example of you behaving in a
loyal manner?
• Do you prefer a quiet workplace or one in which there is some
• Do you enjoy following rules?
• Do you prefer following established step-by-step procedures or
making it up as you go?
Suggested activity: Using the four steps
• Select a duty or a job requirement that you’re familiar with and,
using the four steps to interview success, capture all the relevant
information you can think of (see Table 3.1).
• When you’ve entered all your information, pose yourself two
questions using the behavioural questioning technique referred
to in this chapter.
• Practise your answers aloud until you’ve reached a satisfactory
level of fluency.
Summary of key points
• ‘Can you do the job?’ questions are generally the most common
questions asked at interviews. They are concerned with ascertaining
your skills, knowledge and experience.
• ‘Can you do the job?’ questions can be split into three categories:
– questions about duties that you have performed before;
– questions about duties that you have not performed but whose
skills you have mastered;
– questions about duties that are entirely new to you.
• Your first important step to preparing your interview answers is to
find out as much about the job as possible.
• The four steps to interview success provide a simple-to-use framework
with which you can capture all the relevant information you need to
construct interview answers. As well as capturing what you did and
how you did it, it also compels you to think about context and
outcomes. It is ideally suited for answering behavioural questions
and can be used in a flexible way.
• Beware of long-winded answers.
• The most effective way of putting together the information you capture
using the four steps is to pose to yourself hypothetical interview
questions and then answer them out loud until you become fluent.
• A good interview answer will generally contain the following points:
– a context;
– specific examples;
– what you did and how you did it;
– outcomes;
– it will get directly to the point.

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