Interviews – especially ‘one-way’ video interviews, can be a daunting aspect of any selection process.
- But what if you were able to watch video examples of what good and bad answers ACTUALLY look like?
- What if you could know the secret to predicting 3 out of every 4 interview questions?
- And what if you had access to the marking guides recruiters use to assess answers for motivation, competency or strength-based questions?
Let’s take an example. One of the most important categories of interview question is that designed to examine your motivation for applying. Examples include:
- Why are you interested in joining us?
- What specifically interests you about working within this sector?
So what does poor look like?
Watch these short video examples that illustrate many typical candidate shortcomings.
The sample answers are in response to the following motivation questions:
- Why have you applied to IBM technology consulting?
- Why have you applied to the NHS Management Training Scheme?
- What interests you about the actuarial position with us?
Look out for commentary from the recruiter’s perspective in the top left hand corner.
What does better look like?
Let’s turn our attention to how answers can be improved.
Watch this full length video example that demonstrates some of the the key answering components we’ll go on to explore in the next section.
- Why have you applied to IBM technology consulting?
Again, note the accompanying recruiter commentary.
How am I being assessed?
A recruiter is typically looking for 3 key answer elements:
- multiple ‘strands’ of reasoning for your motivational interest.
- that strands are illustrated with examples drawn from thorough research into the job role, organisation and industry.
- that personal evidence and examples are used to demonstrate why the recruiter should believe your reasoning
By no means easy, those who can combine all 3 elements really set themselves apart.
Structuring your answers
Let’s look at an example of an answer using a structure called the ‘Circle of Motivation’
The Circle of Motivation (or ‘3Rs’) is a simple model that encourages a ‘multi-layered’ approach to motivational answers that meets these 3 key answer elements:
Reasoning: The 1st layer represents a key ‘pillar’ of the argument for your interest. Examples include:
- “The programme offers an incredibly varied opportunity to engage with all aspects of health-related policy….”
- “First Actuarial offer really bespoke advice to an expanding and prestigious client-base…”
In reality, many candidates may offer quite similar reasons for their interest. They key is what happens next…….
Research: The 2nd layer allows you to begin to differentiate your argument by using SPECIFIC evidence drawn from the research you’ve undertaken into the organisation/ role opportunity. Examples include:
- “…the opportunity to work on projects such as the recently announced NHS 10-year plan or current mental health initiatives…..”
- “…an example of which is a case study I saw on your website relating to the RSPB client account, which required transitioning the client’s risky defined benefit scheme to…..”
Siting these types of specific researched examples for each of your core reasons allows you to pass the recruiter’s ‘blind test’ – i.e. the researched examples are only applicable to this particular opportunity/ employer.
Relevance: The final layer is often that omitted by most candidates but in reality is the most important – Why does the reasoning matter to you and how can you prove it? Examples include:
- “In my final year dissertation, I carried out research into some of the factors affecting the rise in childhood obesity within communities that…….”
- “At University, I was a member of the ‘mentoring crew’ for 2nd year Maths students requiring an ability to break down complex theories and models……..
Best practice: A few tips on using the 3R’s in practice:
- 3 is the magic number: Within a typical 2 minute answer, the ‘Circle of Motivation’ can be utilised to give multiple strands of reasoning within the same answer (as a guide, 3 strands is typical)
- make it personal: when conducting research into the role/ employer, look for examples that relate back to you in terms of academic subjects, projects, work experience, recent news items or anything else that helps provide evidence of a genuine personal interest.
- layer-up: If it’s difficult to justify each reason with an accompanying research and relevance layer, try to give at least one additional layer to back-up your answer.
What does good look like?
Let’s look at another example of the ‘Circle of Motivation’ in practice.
Our candidate is once again answering the same motivation question but this time using the ‘layered’ approach: Reasoning, Research & Relevance
Look out for annotated examples of the 3 layers of Reasoning, Research and Relevance on the left-hand side of the video.
Learn more about all aspects of graduate-scheme and internship interviews with access to the full eCareersGrad online course: Interview Success
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Now access the full interview success course including:
- 14 sample video answers highlighting what good looks like (and doesn’t) with recruiter commentary
- Sample interview questions along with 15 recruiter answer marking guides
- Illustrated answer structures, interactive exercises, questions for the interviewer and more.
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