Interview questions & how to answer them.

Interview questions & how to answer them.

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A CV gives the employer a quick summary of who you are and what you are capable of. The bullet point list of skills and achievement are a great introduction – if done well. 

The interview process is your time to shine!

Employers want to see why you are the best person for the role. How well will you fit in with the team? How do you handle situations? And get an overall sense of why you want the job.

In order to gain these insights, employers tend to throw in different types of questions.

What are the common types of interview questions?

1. The introduction interview question 

 “Can you tell me a bit about yourself” 

Ugh, why do we find it so difficult to talk about ourselves? This question is so simple but so easy to mess up if you haven’t prepared.

If unprepared your brain can go into a frenzy of – what about me? my personal life? Me at work? Ahhh! – which comes out at the interview as ” Eh not much to tell just work away and hang out with my friends”

Ross from FRIENDS slow clapping

Despite it’s relaxed, non-professional tone, it is actually a very important question. You are giving the interviewer their first impression of who you are. Focus on your skills and achievements, giving a brief summary of what led you to where you are – in relation to the job description. This is achieved by touching on areas of academia, what you enjoyed and how that led you to the industry or this particular job.

2. The behavioural interview questions 

Behavioural questions are there to demonstrate how you react in certain situations. It may be structured as a general question or specific to the company you are interviewing for. It is becoming more popular that the question would be relevant to a problem the company come across as they want to hear how you would react in that particular scenario. Before your interview, you should have a few real examples of problems you have solved as it will give you something to bounce off of.

This is where the STAR method comes in handy:

  • Situation – Describe a similar situation to the question asked
  • Task – What goal were you looking to achieve?
  • Action – Describe the actions taken to address the situation. Go into specific details.
  • Result – This is not the time to be modest. By demonstrating how you managed to turn a situation around helps the interviewer see what skills you could bring to their particular issue or example.

3. The negatives interview questions

You have just spent  10 minutes describing how wonderful you are and what an asset you will be and BAM the interviewer hits you with a negative spun question.

 “What are your weaknesses?” – This question will come up or something equivalent so you should have something in mind to avoid panic. Try to avoid the cliche of “I’m a perfectionist”. Ideally, you want to pick something that can be framed in a positive manner.

By picking an attribute that you can back up with a means of improving you are actively putting a positive spin on your answer. For example, ‘I can at times find it difficult to handle criticism however I do recognise that learning from those who are more experienced teaches me to learn from previous mistakes and in the long run helps build my confidence by strengthing my skills’ 

Mary poppins

4. The probing interview questions

“What led you to …” These questions usually placed just after a particular question and are a way of digging into a subject a little deeper. Don’t be put off by these questions, use it as an opportunity to enhance another skill.

Go on - Father Ted GIF

Finally “do you have any questions?” – You should always have a question to ask to conclude your interview.

Think of this as your cherry on the cake. If you don’t have a particular question you need the answer to, then have a generic one on standby.

For more Interview tips why not check out our other blog? 

 

Murray Recruitment| 01698 501130

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5 Top Interview Tips| Prepare and Prosper

5 Top Interview Tips| Prepare and Prosper

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“I can’t remember the last time I had an interview…I wouldn’t know where to start”

“I’ve been to countless interviews and seem to be getting nowhere”

Do either of these sound familiar? You are not alone; the job search journey can be a stressful and daunting prospect but it can also be an exciting opportunity to push yourself to achieve your perfect role. By following some of our top tips during your interview, you are sure to prosper and get the results you are looking for.

Find the perfect role for you…

1. Have confidence in your ability

Take a moment and think…can I do this job? Do I have the skill set needed? Chances are the answer is yes! Most people don’t apply to be a brain surgeon having never gone to medical school, and we are assuming you are the same. You have seen a job advertised that you believe you can perform so hold on to that confidence as you head into the interview. You know what you are doing, there is a reason you have been shortlisted!

2. Do your research

You have a portable encyclopaedia in your hand, your phone, so there is no excuse not to scour the internet to research the company you are applying to or check over every inch of the job description. Read over what the company stand for, what they are trying to achieve and what they expect of you. Going in with your eyes wide open gives you an automatic step up to what attributes the interviewer is looking for.

searching mobile phone

3. Be honest but be smart!

Most people think because they are selling themselves, they must embellish stories. The truth lies will trip you up and make you lose focus, that being said it’s important to answer appropriately. For example, if asked why you are leaving your current role and the truth is you want more money, express this in a way that enhances YOU. Talk about your skills, attributes and experience in terms of the market rate. Employers like value for money – you don’t want to appear greedy.

4. Competency-based questions

Competency-based questions aren’t there to trip you up, they are designed to identify key skills and attributes which are deemed necessary for a particular role. Remember step 1. confidence in your ability? You know what you are doing, you’ve done this before, you have studied this…breathe…think… explain a situation where you have experienced a similar issue, what did you do to make it better? What were the results? Simple! You don’t need bells and whistles just a concise, recent & relevant example.

For tips on the most common interview questions asked and how to answer them check out our other blog! 

5. Body Language

Nerves are normal…being nervous means you care about the result which is good! Most interviewers WANT you to succeed, they aren’t there to interrogate or frighten you. If you find your mind goes blank or you don’t understand a question or you get a little tongue-tied take a moment to breathe, ask for clarity and get your head back in the game. Fidgeting out of nerves is a different story… it’s distracting and annoying!

1/3 of the message conveyed through words – 2/3 through non-verbal Keep in mind that whilst you are selling your skills the company want to know you buy into THEM. Sit forward, make eye contact, listen and respond to what the interviewer is saying.

You want this job…show them this!

Final thoughts

Working within the recruitment industry we interview all of our candidates as well as receiving feedback from clients from a number of industries. With this; there are a number of bad habits candidates seem to have picked up. To avoid falling into the trap of making these common errors why not check out our short blog on Interview mistakes? 

Find the perfect role for you…

Murray Recruitment | 01698 501130

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[Editors note: originally published in October 2018 this blog has since been updated Feb 2020]

 

Meet the team – Paul McGinness

Meet the team – Paul McGinness

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What brought you to recruitment?

It was by accident; I had left the air force and was working for Virgin Media outside in the cold and could see everyone cosy in their office so I thought “I want that!” I sent my CV to a recruitment company and the hiring manager was ex-forces so we clicked… 10 years on I’m still in the recruitment game (different company though).

What do you specialise in?

Engineering and Technical positions. I much prefer that side to the commercial. When recruiting for E&T it’s black and white, do you have the qualifications and can you do the job? I like that.

What is your biggest flaw?

I take things too personally and have no patience for … [choosing words carefully] …people with no common sense and people that follow the crowd instead of being themselves.

What has been your biggest career highlight so far?

It has to be the air force as my whole family are ex-forces …I am actually the only one in my generation (in the family) that has done it.

In recruitment its how much I have learned. I have been exposed to markets I never would have thought of and at times thrown in at the deep end.

After a stressful day, you find yourself with an hour of spare time on your own – what do you choose to do?

HAHAHAHA spare time on my own! …[once the laughter stopped...] I would sit on the couch in complete silence in my pants & enjoy the peace!

Who is your idol?

I don’t have one! I push myself for ME and for my family. I am individually driven and not motivated by someone else’s actions.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Always be yourself, don’t worry about what people think of you and don’t be so hard on yourself!

Random Question from the Hat of Chat – You are having a dinner party who are your 5 guests of honour (dead/alive) 

  1. Ricky Gervais – just for the laughs 
  2. Hitler – just to find out what goes on in his brain
  3. Dave Grohl – again for the laughs
  4. Freddie Mercury – He would just have the most amazing stories to tell!
  5. Margaret Thatcher – Just so I could tell her to get out!

…oh no wait…ugh they are all vegetarian I think!

 

To contact Paul for any enquiries email Paul@murrayrecruitment.co.uk 

The Elite – a different level of candidate

The Elite – a different level of candidate

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What is The Elite?

We are a recruitment consultancy. Actually…strike that, we are finalists for being the BEST recruitment consultancy in Scotland. So our passion is going to be to find you a new job. It’s what we do!

However, we thought you might fancy a little added extra!

By applying to be one of The Elite,  your key skills will be made into a star profile where YOU will be boosted on our website and social media.

Don’t worry we don’t use any information that will give away who you are (that can be our little secret).

We direct top companies and hiring managers to YOUR profile as our recommended choice for the job. Our Director, Lauren, will personally speak to clients about you and what you can bring to the role.

Oh, and did we mention the prize draws?

The perks don’t stop at you getting a brand new job. If you become star candidate of the week you are automatically placed as one one of our shooting stars…meaning you can win a prize.

Gold Glitter StarHow do I get The Elite status?

To become one of The Elite, simply send your updated CV to info@murrayrecruitment.co.uk with the subject THE ELITE. Our experts recruiting team will then check through the CVs and contact you as normal to help you find a job.

If your CV stands out from the rest you will be nominated as one of our ELITE candidates.

At the end of each month, our star of the month will be created. If you are our star of the month (our Elite Shooting Star) it means you get a little prize! All of our Elite Shooting Stars will be collated over the year to reach our final of ‘ELITE CANDIDATE OF THE YEAR’.

What happens next?

Get working on that CV as you want to really show why you are the best of the bunch! Need some tips? Here are some tips on how to make your CV stand out! 

If you have any questions or anything you want to discuss with the Murray Recruitment team just give us a call – 01698 501130

Lauren Murray Lynsey Nicole Paul  Laura Emma

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How to make your CV stand out

How to make your CV stand out

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When you think of making your CV stand out, what steps do you think of?

Fancy font?

Colourful captions?

A photo?

These things may make your CV literally stand out but not necessarily for the right reasons.

It’s all about the content.

Your CV is your foot in the door. So you want to make sure the shoe you are wearing makes an impact.

Keywords to keep in your head – ‘why’ and ‘need’

The content in your CV needs to give a snapshot of WHY you are the one to choose. So many people focus on the who. This is who I am, this is who I have worked for. The employer doesn’t want your autobiography they want to know why they need you. This is what you want to display on your CV. This is what is going to make you stand out.

So how do you achieve this?

To be honest it’s about adjusting your mindset. You don’t want to list your duties but instead, demonstrate characteristics and/or skill. For example; in my job description I handle the social media accounts and create engaging content. To display this on my CV I want to remember my ‘WHY’ and ‘NEED‘.

  • Managing social media accounts creating content which increased social following by 70% in 8 months.

The purple section is the part that makes this one bullet point stand out from the other applicants who all handle social media accounts. I have given a why and a need to employ me.

Get to the point

When it comes to displaying what your previous experience entailed, bullet points are your best friend. By formatting your points of interest as a list format, the reader’s brain can process the information so much more easily. It comes down to psychology, even when writing this blog by keeping sentences short and punchy makes it far more appealing to read than having long paragraphs.  Long paragraphs tell us, “this is a big thought that your brain is going to have to stretch for.”

Keep them wanting more

You want to highlight the key points. It can be tempting to delve into more information and get your point across, but you want the reader to want to know more. This opportunity will come in the interview, so keep it punchy and to the point.  You can find out some top tips on what not to do at your interview by clicking here! 

For more information and tips on the skills, you should demonstrate in your CV check out our ‘5 Skills’ blog

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Meet the Team – Lauren Murray, Managing Director

Meet the Team – Lauren Murray, Managing Director

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What brought you to recruitment?

I was working at the reception of an agency and loved the hustle and bustle of the place and everything that came with recruitment. I started working for a recruitment company but essentially was working really hard for someone else vision and I had my own. Company Culture has a lot to do with it, I almost gave up on recruitment at one point. I realised (luckily for the rest of us) that it was the company dynamic I didn’t like. So…I created my own.

It gets difficult and there will always be challenges to face but I love it! I put my heart and soul into what I do every day, to make the company culture I wanted.

What do you specialise in?

I am a people person! I love engaging with people and bringing solutions to their problems. I will always go above and beyond to provide the best service. Even helping with things outwith our areas of business. I like to help!

What is your biggest flaw?

Talking!

I talk too much which I suppose goes hand in hand with what I do…but I do go off track sometimes!

What has been your biggest career highlight so far?

Opening the business! We are reaching our 10 year birthday this year! I genuinely enjoy my work. I think everyone would always say if I could be doing anything id be a billionaire and lying on a beach but when it comes to reality I am definitely doing what I want to do.

After a stressful day, you find yourself with an hour of spare time on your own – what do you choose to do?

Probably exercising! It gives me a buzz…I love it, but it’s low on my list with having the kids.

Who is your idol?

Oh! Eh…

I don’t actually like to focus on external factors. I focus on whats going on with me & I know how I want my life to be.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Face your problems head-on! Too often I let challenges I had, drag on and just procrastinate …but the problems are always still there. So just get it done!

Random Question from the Hat of Chat – If there was a book about your life what would it be called and where would we find it in the bookshop? 

WTF! – an Autobiography by Lauren Murray

To contact Lauren for any enquiries email Lauren@murrayrecruitment.co.uk

 

Murray are Mentoring

Murray are Mentoring

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Mentoring Circles

We are delighted to announce our latest venture – mentoring!

For the past 18 months, we have been working closely with Job Centres across the Central Belt of Scotland. Having attended various open days and recruitment drives we were delighted to help so many people on their venture back to work, whether it was placing them in fantastic new roles or helping point them in the right direction.

 

Our company tag line is ‘we change people’s lives’ because that is what each one of us strives to do. Give someone the chance to have job security, a place of belonging and the confidence to boost their life further, because we know, a job is more than just a way to pay the bills!

With this, we were delighted to be asked to participate in a new programme called the ‘Mentoring Circle’.

For 3 weeks, Murray Recruitment will be offering insight and expert knowledge through workshops, teaching the younger participates vital skills and techniques from CV writing to nailing that interview, all with the end goal of a new job!

 

This mentoring programme is an exciting venture for not only the participants but for the team at Murray Recruitment as nothing makes us happier than watching someone’s confidence grow and realise the true potential they have.

 

To find out more of our success stories or to find out how our mentees are getting on click stay tuned to our website and social media pages!

To feature in one of the success stories send us an email 😊

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Your job search | a guide to looking for a new job

Your job search | a guide to looking for a new job

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It’s almost that time of the year again. The lists are being made and the promises of being good are upon us.

That’s right – it’s almost time for the New Year Resolutions!

According to a study carried out in 2019, 55.6% of British employees are dissatisfied with their job. With figures like this, it’s not surprising that the search for a new career will be at the top of many peoples resolution priorities.

Before you go distributing your CV to the masses, here are some things to consider to help you get the best of your job search.

person searching on laptopThe Search

Before you begin your search ask yourself a few questions, and be honest. Why are you dissatisfied? What are you looking to gain that you aren’t getting from your current role?

Make a list of what aspects are “desired” and what are crucial deal breakers. For example; wouldn’t it be great to not have to travel far for your job? Sure, travelling less for me would be nice but it’s not the reason I wanted to look for a change. My priority was to focus on a specific industry that I had experience in and wanted to develop. By having a clear indication of what your priorities are you will be able to streamline your search.

Everyone has a different priority, for some, the job is a means of paying the bills – whereas for others they are looking to work within a certain industry. There is no wrong answer, your job requirements are personal to you and your circumstances so keep that in mind when searching.

stick figure juggling GIF Consider your skillset

A piece of advice I would give is to talk through your skillset with someone. Often we take for granted the things that we do well if it comes easily to us. By speaking with someone else they can help identify areas that you wouldn’t have considered. It is also important to take your personality traits into consideration. Call centres, for example, do not suit my personality. I remember years ago looking for a job and I just wanted something quickly after being made redundant. I applied for a call centre role, knowing I don’t like talking on the phone at the best of times. But hey, a job is a job right? Well, I got the job and 2 months later I was so miserable I ended up back on the job search!

In short, I wasted the companies time, my time and was left feeling deflated and anxious. All because I picked something that wasn’t suited to me.

person writing in notebookThe CV/Cover letter

If you google CV Tips you will receive 540,000,000 results. I am not going to give you a full breakdown of how to write your perfect CV as the truth is, it is all dependant on the individual, however for some basic tips you can check out a previous blog

Instead, I want to talk to you about personalisation. Rather than having a one CV fits all, tailor your CV for different jobs/industries by looking closely at the job spec. You don’t need a complete overhaul each time you apply for a job, but if you are applying for certain industries you might want to focus more on different skills to suit the industry.

people linked up together networkingNetworking

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Never was there a more truthful statement. If you have the opportunity to attend networking events then I would stress that you do so. If you are not inclined to attend networking events then begin to build strong relationships via LinkedIn. More opportunities arise the more people you know within certain industries – studies actually show that 70% of offers job seekers receive are a result of networking.

Clean up your social

While we are on the topic of networking and social media there are some things to consider while on your job search.

40% of employers have admitted to being put off a candidate after seeing inappropriate content on social media. With over 600m Linkedin Users compiled of job seekers, businesses, recruiters, CEOs and hiring managers, its easy to see the impact inappropriate content could have on your audience.

For a guide on what to be mindful of with your social media check out this previous blog! 

Murray Recruitment | 01698 501130 | www.murrayrecruitment.co.uk

 

These 5 skills on your CV help you stand out from the rest.

These 5 skills on your CV help you stand out from the rest.

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Imagine for a moment that you are the hiring manager and you have placed an advert for a job. It’s a popular advert and you are inundated with CVs. This is great news, you are sure to find a candidate…it’s just going to take a while and a lot of reading.

Now, imagine you are one of the many CVs on the desk. How are you going to stand out? Before you start altering fonts and borders let us give you a few tips.

To stand out you need to display the key skills that make a stellar candidate.

1. Team player

It’s great to be able to work on your own initiative. It’s a fantastic quality to be able to work independently but it is crucial to show that you are a team player. Essentially a company thrives when everyone, no matter their role, is pulling toward the one goal. By demonstrating that you work well with a team helps employers see that you buy into the company and respond well to positive company culture and that you would fit in with the existing team.

2. Drive and ambition

We are not saying you should be threatening to take the CEOs place but displaying your passion and drive, whether it’s within your career or accomplishing a goal within your role helps show that you are not only capable but actively achieve to meet your targets.

3. Executing a strategy

How do you operate? You have a list of tasks, how do you tackle them? Showcasing on your CV your ability to create a strategy and planning helps demonstrate how you best deal with practical tasks. One point to remember is when highlighting your ability to create a strategy you should also show how doing so impacted results.

Example: “by creating a 3-month content plan I was able to increase social engagement by x% while freeing up time to work on  Project Z.

4. Problem Solving

Planning gets you so far, but life often throws little curve balls at us to keep us on our toes. One fantastic quality in any candidate is to have the ability to think on their feet or to think outside the box. Where possible, try to highlight that you are able to deal with alterations in a plan and successfully execute the task.

5. Building Relationships

I know we have covered being a team player but this is a little different. How are you at dealing with the external clients? How do you deal with customers? Can you demonstrate your ability to have a rapport that creates a long-lasting relationship? Showing your strengths in this area helps demonstrate you are capable of working independently, and that those you deal with trust you as a company representative. Employees act as brand ambassadors. If you are proven to be a trustworthy brand ambassador you stand out as a vital member of any team. It’s a very sought after quality to have. As the saying goes “people buy from people” 

Now you have the amazing CV why not check out our Interview Tips? If you found this article of interest please share it with your network.

 

Murray Recruitment| 01698 501130 | www.murrayrecruitment.co.uk

5 tips on what NOT to do at your interview

5 tips on what NOT to do at your interview

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All job interviews are different. Some have a panel of people asking you questions, some are done as part of a mass team. Some have problem-solving games, others get straight to the nitty-gritty. There are lots of tips out there on how to get the best out of your interview (including our fantastic blog ‘5 Top Interview Tips’) but more interestingly are the things NOT to do.

Working within the recruitment industry, we encounter these interview no-nos more often than you would expect. It was therefore only natural that our next blog should cover what not to do during your interview.

         1. Don’t have your phone on display.

Phones are a massive part of our daily lives, our handheld encyclopedias are always just a thumb swipe away waiting to burst news headlines and gossip into our lives. The illuminating screens and the constant pinging notifications- let’s face it they are a massive distraction.

However, it’s not the notifications that are the issue. The problem we face time and time again is the interviewee answering the notifications!

“I just need to get this” or “two seconds sorry” and answering a call mid-interview happens time and time again. Nothing screams bad manners and shows a lack of interest more to the interviewer than this action so to err on the side of caution – put your phone on silent and put it away.

 

      2. Don’t bad mouth your employer.

A very common question asked during the interview process is “Why are you leaving your current position?”. This question is a fantastic opportunity for you to show your ambitions, your skills and your personality in a subtle way. Statements such as “I’m looking to develop my skill set further” or “I’m looking for a new challenge” are great. The reality, however, is that many people use this question as a way of displaying the negatives.

“I hate my job!”, “my boss is awful” “I just hate the place”

Answers like this are a giant red flag. Your interview is a means of showcasing not only your skills but your attitude to work. Bad mouthing your current/previous employer is not the way you want to present yourself.

     3. Don’t overbook your day.

“How long is this going to take, I have an appointment in half an hour” – Fitting interviews in around your busy schedule can be difficult but if it can be avoided try not to overbook yourself at the time of interview.

 

       4. Don’t avoid answering the question.

Your CV acts as an introduction to who you are. It should present a summary of skills, experience and goals. The keyword here is ‘summary’. When it comes to the interview process the interviewer wants to give you the opportunity to delve into your summary further. It’s a golden ticket to have your opportunity to shine.

So why do so many people take it the wrong way?
Interviewers and recruiters are often faced with the statement “it’s on my CV” – If you are attending interview after interview it can be tedious going through your history but this is a sales pitch – you are selling yourself, whether it’s written on your CV or not, take the opportunity to explain just how good you are!

       5. Don’t leave without having a question up your sleeve.

Finally the parting words “Do you have any questions for us?”. Many people panic with this which can mean they ask something that can be deemed inappropriate; such as asking how soon they can take a holiday. Questions of this nature before you have your foot in the door, doesnt leave the best impression. Instead, it is always a good idea to have something up your sleeve to show you have taken an added interest in the company or role. Make the question less self-orientated.

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