Let’s face it, interviews can be pretty tough. For some people, they can be enjoyable, for some they will be terrifying, and for some, they can be over within the first 30 seconds … you may just not know it if you are the interviewee.
Getting your small talk on point is probably more important than you may think. Being able to talk about a variety of topics like the weather, the traffic, the route you took to the office or the match last night (even though you were up most of the night doing research about the company and only caught the highlights whilst waiting in the car park) are all really important to the first impression you give of yourself.
So as long as you don’t mess up the first 30 seconds by spilling coffee down yourself, slipping out a swear word or offending the interviewer – you’ve probably made a pretty good start.
More good news – competency based interviews appear to be on the way out, and more relaxed “getting to know each other” interviews now seem to be the go to interview technique being used. I think this is great, because in most cases the business already like what they’ve seen on your CV, they enjoyed your video interview enough to invite you in, and in reality it’s now time for them to convince you that their business is a good fit for you, especially in such a candidate driven marketplace.
Whilst you are figuring out whether this is a place you could see yourself working, you will be asked some simple questions, some difficult and challenging questions, as well as some random questions that you just cannot prepare for. Some of the strangest ones I’ve heard are:
How many tiles are on the ceiling of this room? You have 5 seconds to give me your answer.
How many steps are there in the Eiffel Tower?
How do you make your cup of tea?
What do you do when you’re stuck in traffic jams?
For me, I’d try and calculate roughly half the number of tiles in the room and double it.
I’ve never been to Paris, so I’d guesstimate around 1,400 steps (its 1,710 apparently).
I don’t drink tea, but when making it for others I put the kettle on and put the bag in the cup, pour boiling water in, bang some milk in and wait until it looks the right colour, squeezing the tea bag against the side of the cup with a tea spoon along the way.
I am normally on the M6 driving to/from football when I am stuck in traffic, so I normally chat with the lads about how annoying the traffic is, whilst one of the others brings up a random football quiz for the rest of the guys to answer.
Anyway, in short – you can prepare for interviews as much as you like. For me, the key is to be yourself, be prepared and aim to answer questions with your gut instinct, as this is usually the right thing to say. It’s also so important to ask questions to establish whether you want to work there, as we spend so much of our life at work.
Finance & Banking Consultant