My interview was one on one based with the Marketing Director, and was the first stage of the interview process. It was explained to me that if I was successful, I would then be invited back to the second stage which would consist of a formal presentation and further questions.
The interview itself was very challenging and lasted 20mins. The interviewer had set down the person specification in front of me which was helpful, however the questions proved to be difficult. The first few questions were focused on the charity, and tested how much I knew about the organisation and why I wanted to work there. Then the questions were more focused on my personality and concentrated on what qualities I could bring to the role. I found that the majority of these questions were open ended such as "What are your best attributes", and the interviewer wanted me to provide long and detailed answers as they prompted me at one stage to add additional information. The interview then progressed on to more competency based questions in relation to the role itself, and the interviewer was keen to draw upon the experiences which I had gained through previous roles and voluntary work. There was a big emphasis on transferable skills such as multi-tasking, team work, communicating and writing. I believe that is why they focused a lot on experience. Following this, I was then presented with a problem solving based question where I had to describe how to manage negative comments on social media channels. I believe this was one of my strongest answers, as this is my area of expertise.
The interview concluded with the opportunity of me being able to ask a few questions. I felt this was the strongest part of my interview as I had prepared well for this. I asked "What is the work culture like at the Scottish SPCA" and "How would you rate your current social media presence?". I felt like the interviewer was challenged by these questions as they paused for a moment before answering them, especially the last one.
Overall, I thought that this was one of the most difficult and challenging interviews which I have been too, but I gained a lot from it. It improved my confidence, and made me understand how much I want to work within the Third Sector. I feel that this interview also made me appreciate the qualities which I do possess, and how much I have gained from previous experiences. The most useful element which I gained from this process was the feedback. I was told how sometimes my answers were not direct enough and that I sometimes provided unnecessary details. This proved to be very constructive as I now have improved upon this and understand the importance of providing direct, relevant and concise answers.
Most difficult question
The most difficult question which I was asked was "How would your friends describe you?"
Other difficult questions were:
"Which tasks from the job description would you find most difficult, and how would you develop your skills in this area?"
"What is your greatest weakness and how have you taken steps to improve this?"
"What is your dream job?"
The most important tip I would suggest would be to research the company/organisation thoroughly before your interview because the employer wants to know that you have a genuine interest in the work that they do, and that you share in their passion. Make sure to research their website, and read any publications which they have issued over the past year which give an insight into their yearly work.
I would also advise candidates to prepare answers to questions and practice them either in front of somebody else or even alone. This will boost your confidence and you will have a clear map in your mind of how to structure your answers. In my experience, I find that if I write key words down on post it notes it helps to cement what I want to say in my brain.
Another useful tip would be to research any current trends or recent news articles within your field of work, as this can be a common question which crops up. Even if not asked, it is always impressive to mention something which is of relevant discussion within the industry to show that you are actively engaging and interested in your work.
Always prepare at least two questions to ask at the end of an interview. This provides you with the opportunity to find out if the company/organisation is right for you as well. Try to ask questions that reflect your interest such as "Can you describe a typical day/week in this position?" , and "What aspects of your role do you find most enjoyable?".
Relax - it's very easy to get nervous, and even over - prepare. Just remember that the employer must believe in you if they invite you to an interview, so have confidence and make sure to smile. If your body language is welcoming and friendly, this will convey a very positive attitude. I know it sounds cliched, but if you really try to just be yourself and show that you have the ability to do the job, they can't fault you.
Experiences at the assessment centre
I did not attend an assessment centre for this particular job.
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