Interview tips greatly appreciated!

  Why wont it work 13:12 02 Jan 2010

Hey, I hope everyone had a good New Years! I applied for a job a while ago and managed to get through the 'CV screening' and 'psychometric testing' stages. I am now supposed to have my first ever (proper) interview this coming week and I was wondering if anyone had any tips! I'm rather nervous as I don't really know what to expect! It's for a graduate store management position at a large well-known supermarket.

I have been unable to find very much about the interview- all I know is it's about the supermarket and its core business and there may be some verbal reasoning. I've spent quite a while researching this, although it's a pretty wide topic! There's plenty on the company as a whole, but not so much on lower-level store management. I worked for the company a few years ago on the checkouts, so I am hoping this have given me some insight into the workings of a store.

Probably due to the number and geographical spread of applicants, the interview is over the telephone. I'm not sure whether this is a blessing or a curse...? Mum likes telling me regularly that I am terrible on the phone which does worry me.

Anyway, any tips would be very much appreciated as I'd really like to get the job! (I think tip no. 1 would be NOT to warble on excessively as I have in this post... heh).

  wee eddie 14:00 02 Jan 2010

Have a copy of the CV, that you sent them, in front of you while you do the interview. Getting caught out on such simple errors is a no-no.

  morddwyd 18:32 02 Jan 2010

Watch out for seemingly innocuous questions.

"Why are you seeking a new job?"

Not "Because I don't get on with....". but "While I have been, and am, quite happy in my post, I believe the time has come to tackle new challenges"

"Would you say you have any weak points?" not "I don't have any" (Arrogant and conceited b*****), but "None that would affect my ability to do this job"

"Where do you see yourself in 5/10 years?" not "Still here, I'm in it for the long term" (unambitious) but "In your chair or very close to it"

"Why do you want to work for us?" not "Because the money and perks are good" but "I see this as a dynamic and forward looking company and I want to play a part in taking it forward"

You'll fool nobody, of course, but you'll show that you've done your homework and have set up for the interview.

  OTT_Buzzard 21:59 02 Jan 2010

1. Know as much as possible about the job you are applying for and the company that it's at. You cannot read too little. Keep notes in front of you.

2. Have examples.....lots of examples. e.g. when you have worked in a team, how you have dealt with tight deadlines in the past. In short, all the stereotypical interview scenarios. If it's for a grad position they will accept that most of your examples will stem from uni.

4. Treat it as a conversation, not just an interview. Ask questions, don't just answer them.

5. Have water handy as Fourm Member said, but mute the phone if you take a glug.

6. I part agree with morddwyd's comment on where do you see yourself in 10 years....employers are sometimes looking for people to put into a stable role. Less likely with a grad position though.

7. Do a practice interview with a friend. It may sound daft, but actually, if you can do a sincere interview with a friend who has done similar stuff it will help with the real thing.

8. RELAX!!

  OTT_Buzzard 22:01 02 Jan 2010

and never forget the existence of the number three. Nobody employs grad managers who can't count!

  Forum Editor 22:48 02 Jan 2010

people who are sincere and articulate - your persona is as important as your academic achievement, so be yourself.

My son joined a supermarket company in just the same way some years ago, as a graduate entry, and he's enjoyed the subsequent experience immensely. A very senior store manager with a major supermarket once told me that he would far rather take trainees who exhibit enthusiasm and like talking to people - he said he can teach such people everything they need to know about the mechanics of retailing.

Be yourself,and answer the questions honestly - don't feel you have to have something wonderful to say to everything that's asked. The purpose of the telephone interview is to eliminate those who are obviously not right for the business, and the fact that you've taken the initiative in asking us for advice tells me three important things about you:

1. You're open-minded

2. You are not over confident.

3. You're resourceful.

I'm sure you'll be just fine - come back to your thread and let us know when you've got the job.

  Simsy 07:27 03 Jan 2010

I can't help but feel there is something behind this... but I can't see what.

The only advice I can give is to not to take questions too literally. Ask yourself "What are they really asking?" Generally speaking, in many instances a question is asked not because a particular answer is being looked for, but to see if you have the ability to put a thought process into effect....

To give a specific example, a question that has often arisen at supervisory level at my place, is along the lines of;

"You get back after lunch to do such and such a task. Your assistant in this task is obviously the worse for a lunchtime drinking session. How are you going to deal with this?"

Now you may choose to answer this with various permutations of how you can either manage the task on your own, or delegate the simplest part of the task to the assistant, or call for a replacement assitant who's currently underemployed. All of these may be valid answers...

However, it's unlikely that any of these answers are at the crux of the question. The reality is that you can't be very prescriptive about a course of action, because each must be dealt with on it's merits. The one course of action that must be taken is the fact that at some point, probably after dealing with the incident as you see fit at the time, is that you must report it up! This is not something that can be swept under the carpet. In an interview situation it's easy to loose sight of this.

In summary, the question, "What would you do if this happens?" is really, "What are the consequences of this happening?"

With apologies if this doesn't help!

Good luck,



  Simsy 07:31 03 Jan 2010

If you're asked, What paper do you read, and you say "The Times", expect to have a follow up question about the contents of the Times that morning! Always expect follow up questions. They are used to check if you're telling porkies!

Know who the big wigs are at the company concerned, the names of the Chairman and Cheif Executive. If you are asked, and don't know, it indicates that you haven't researched the company... even if you have!



  michaelw 12:26 03 Jan 2010

Research the company so you know a lot about them. This will impress the interviewer.

The first 15 seconds of meeting will make them decide if they like you or not.

Keep eye contact.

Use open body language.

On the morning of the interview, just before you fully awake and keeping your eyes closed imagine yourself having a successful interview. This is the time when the unconscious mind is the most suggestive. Use your imagination to make it as real as possible. say out loud to yourself positive affirmations like; I am going to enjoy the interview, the interviewer is going to like me, i am going to get the job etc.

Good luck.

  Forum Editor 12:44 03 Jan 2010

"Keep eye contact.

Use open body language."

Great advice, except that the interview will take place over the phone.

  Forum Editor 12:50 03 Jan 2010

"I'm not sure about the telephone aspect...
I can't help but feel there is something behind this... but I can't see what"

Telephone interviewing is a very common practice - it enables interviewers to rapidly filter their way through dozens of applicants, and select those who are judged worthy of a personal interview. it can also be a very useful way of preventing visual distractions from clouding objective judgement. If I wanted to make sure I got the best candidate for a job, rather than the one who looked the nicest, I would use telephone interviews as a first resource.

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