Interviews & Assessments
The Preparation Begins
Read the job profile thoroughly to clearly understand the role. If you need more information about the position, send an email to the contact person listed in the posting and don’t be afraid to ask relevant questions. Do your homework and look at the ministry website, press releases and information. Research the position and the organization to prepare for an interview.
Assessment methods will vary depending on the job duties. Some examples include a written component or test, providing samples of your work, preparing a presentation, an oral interview that may have situational and/or behavioural questions and past work performance (reference) checks.
The interview can be conducted by a panel, in a round robin format, by telephone, in person or virtually (for example, by Skype or Lync Meeting).
There are four types of interview questions:
- Knowledge-based - testing knowledge of procedure, legislation, policy, computer applications
- Situational - what action would be taken in a hypothetical situation?
- Behavioural - what action was taken in a particular situation?
- Role and organizational alignment – what do you understand about the position
Behavioural Interview Preparation
- Review competencies in the job profile
- Find examples from your past experiences that illustrate your competencies and successes
- Prepare your best examples of how you have demonstrated the competency
- Choose recent, relevant work examples (usually within the last two to three years)
- You may be asked for a reference for your examples
- You may or may not be able to bring notes into the interview
- Use the STAR technique
The STAR technique works well to develop your competency examples.
Situation: Describe the situation. Be brief but give enough detail so that the interviewer fully understands the problem that you faced and your role. Include when and where the situation occurred and who was involved. You may need to provide more background if context is critical to explaining your example.
Task: What was the task that needed to be accomplished? What was your specific role in the situation? Why were you involved? What were you expected/expecting to achieve?
Action: Actions should be the focus of your example. Logically take the interviewer through the steps you took to handle the situation or resolve the problem. What were your actions? Use "I" not "we." Give enough detail that the panel will fully understand all of your actions and why you took them. What did you do or say? Why did you take this particular approach? What did you think or feel? Who did you consult or interact with and why? What challenges did you face and how did you resolve them? This may include the behavior of others as it directly relates to your actions. Keep your answer clear and concise; talk about what you did, not what you might do. The panel may ask you questions to clarify information.
Result: What were the results of your actions? The results should link back to the task. Describe the results or outcome of your actions and the event. Describe what happened, what you accomplished and what you learned. This may include how you felt about the outcome and why.
- Do your homework – research the job, the organization before you arrive at the interview
- Always arrive early for your interview
- You may or may not be able to take notes with you into the interview. If you are allowed to take notes in, you should make your notes brief and in bullet form so that you can quickly look down and ensure you haven't missed key points. You may be asked to leave your notes behind when the interview is over
- The interviewers may ask you follow-up or probing questions to elicit additional information or more clearly understand your responses. Listen carefully to the questions and answer them clearly and concisely
- Do not make any assumptions in your interview responses. Describe your interview responses as if you were talking to someone who knows nothing about what you do, the situation or your role. If you do not provide the verbal information, it is not possible to give you marks
- Examples should be recent and work related. Recent is usually defined as within the last two to three years
- Consider including any follow-up in the situation if there was any and any learning for you. Learning can be something that worked well that you would use again or something that in hindsight you would do differently next time
- Monitor your interview time based on the number of questions asked by the interviewers. For example, if the interview is one hour and four questions, your responses should be approximately 10-15 minutes each
Competencies describe the behaviours, attributes, traits and motives that you demonstrate when doing your job—they enable you to do a job well.