How to excel in job interviews
April 25, 2019
Pronouns, STAR and phone numbers - these are just some of Melanie Byrne's tips for going into a job interview feeling prepared. As a Recruitment Lead at Accenture, Melanie has alot of tips and tricks up her sleeve. In this Q&A she reveals her advice for getting ahead in a recruitment process, whether it's at Accenture or another organisation.
So Melanie, what are your top interview tips?
Use the pronoun “I”
Using “I” instead of “we” is a small change but can have a big impact. It’s human nature to use “we” but get into the habit of expressing what actions you took as opposed to your team’s actions. It becomes ambiguous when you use the term “we”. It's amazing how powerful that can be to the person who is listening.
Prepare for "Why this organisation?”
This is a question that comes up throughout all interviews at any point in time. It's important to not just say, "I've heard good things from friends that are working there" but say what those good things are, and why they are important to you. It demonstrates not only that you've done your homework, but that our values are aligned.
Use the STAR technique
I’d recommend using the S-T-A-R technique when providing examples, which stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result. It is a good idea to have three or four recent work or project examples prepared that you can use to apply the STAR technique.
Research, don’t skimp
Never go into an interview unprepared. There’s so much information available these days so go beyond the basic research. Read news articles, blogs, and find out a bit about the interviewer you’re going to meet.
Rely on the safety of data
Not everyone is a natural at interviews and technologists are data-driven people, so use those figures to impress. Tell us dollars and hours you’ve saved or how you helped improve processes. If you are not a natural story-teller or just plain nervous it can be useful to rely on facts and figures to help get you into the swing of the interview.
What job seeker practices are out of date or unwelcomed?
Long CVs are definitely outdated. Keep them short, sharp and to the point. As is using the third person. I still see it a lot, but it's been out of date for a long time. Forgetting to include achievements and just listing a whole lot of responsibilities. This is your chance to shine, sell yourself, and make an impact. And don’t forget to include your phone number!
What questions do you encourage candidates to ask recruiters?
Ask about the next steps beyond this role. That shows me that you’re thinking about your career and not just this next job immediately in front of you. Ask about the team you’ll be working with, and what the ideal candidate will have done in their first six months to be considered successful.
What questions shouldn’t they ask?
I don't think there's anything you shouldn't ask the recruiter, because your recruiter is the connection between you and the company, so asking us about salary, timeframes, all of that is open. We need to discuss that.
When is the right time to talk about salary?
This is something we should discuss in our first conversation. Your recruiter needs to understand your motivation and expectations. This is to ensure this is the right role for you or if we should be discussing a different position that may be more suitable.
Technical skills are a given, but what soft skills do you look for?
We look for initiative, enthusiasm, honesty, intelligence, and attitude. Those things can make up for some gaps in knowledge. Technical skills can be taught however the attitude to want to learn is critical.
Being a consulting, client-facing organisation, we also look for people who are articulate, well-presented and demonstrate leadership.
Being a leader isn’t just for those with a matching title. Everyone can show leadership qualities in their day to day role. We are looking for potential too. Accenture can then help you to further develop and hone those skills
That’s the wonderful thing about the global network that we have here at Accenture, there is always someone or resources available to help you on your career path.
In summary, what are your top three tips to stand out and be noticed when you're job hunting?
Be passionate and show us that passion during your interview. Do your homework and understand the role and why you would be perfect for it. And relax, we want you to be yourself. We’re keen to see the real you.
Melanie recruits within the technology space specifically for Accenture's Salesforce, Workday and Liquid Studio. Check out the available opportunities on our careers page.