Tips to conduct a structured interview

It is most likely to be effective in obtaining specific information against a set of clearly defined criteria

Most jobs are filled through interviews. The interview has two main purposes – to find out if the candidate is suitable for the job, and to give the candidate information about the job and the organization. All candidates should be offered the same opportunities to give the best presentation of themselves, to demonstrate their suitability and ask questions of the interviewer.

A structured interview designed to discover all relevant information and assess the competencies of the applicant is an efficient method of focusing on the match between job and candidate. It also means that there is a consistent form to the interviews, particularly important if there are a number of candidates to be seen.
Unstructured interviews are very poor for recruiting the right person. The structured interview is most likely to be effective in obtaining specific information against a set of clearly defined criteria. However, not every manager is skilled at interviewing, and may not be able to judge efficiently the applicant’s skills and competencies. Ideally all interviewers should receive training, including equal opportunity aspects of recruitment and relevant legislation.

Interviews need not be formal. The length and style of the interview will relate to the job and the organization. Some vacancies may call for a formal interview panel, some for a less formal, one-to-one interview. The interviewers should consider the job and the candidates when deciding on the nature of the interview. All interviews, whether formal or informal, need careful preparation if they are to be successful. Each candidate should leave with a sense of being treated well and fairly and having had the opportunity to give their best.

Preparing the interview
The interviewer should prepare by
1). Reading the application form, job and person specifications to identify areas which need further exploration or clarification
2). Planning the questions. In some interviews it is appropriate to ask only one or two questions to encourage the candidate to talk at length on certain subjects. In others, it may be better to ask a series of short questions on several different areas. If there is more than one interviewer, different people can cover different topics, such as job knowledge, training, qualifications, etc. Do not ask for personal information or views irrelevant to the job. Do not ask potentially discriminatory questions such as “Are you planning to have children in the next five years?”

Conducting the interview

Conduct the interview in an environment that will allow candidates to give their best. Arrange for there to be no interruptions, divert telephone calls and welcome the candidate(s). if possible, let the candidate have a brief tour of the place. This is particularly useful in the case of people new to the job market – school-leavers, returning men and women – who may have little or no experience of what to expect in a workplace. It may also prove valuable in offering an additional opportunity to assess the candidate’s interaction with possible colleagues.

Consider whether any adjustments need to be made to accommodate an interviewee who has indicated a disability on the application form – it is easy to overlook simple adjustments that may be reasonable to make. It is common that both interviewer and candidate are nervous. Thorough preparation will help both. Be careful not to fill silences by talking too much – the aim of the interview is to draw information from the candidate to decide if they would suit the job. The candidate should do most of the talking.

The interview process

Introduce yourself (and other interviewers if present). This gives the candidate time to settle down.
Give some background information about the organization and the job, so that everyone focuses on the objective.

Structure the questions to cover all the relevant areas, and do not ask too many ‘closed’ questions. Open ended questions will encourage the candidate to speak freely – they often begin with ‘what’, ‘why’, ‘when’ or ‘how’.

Avoid leading questions.

Listen, and make brief notes as necessary on salient points.

Have a time frame and keep to it, allowing sufficient time for candidates to ask any questions they might have.
Make sure the candidate is familiar with the terms and conditions of the job, and they are acceptable. If not, and the candidate is the best one for the job, then some negotiation may be necessary – be careful to avoid inadvertent discrimination.

Tell the candidate what will happen next and when to expect to hear from the organization.

Prepare well to clinch the deal: Your job search is not over until you have accepted a job offer

It is no secret – your job search can be a drag. And it can be very draining on your psyche. Maybe if we go in-depth to see what really is all involved in a job search and what it entails, it will help you gain perspective.

The mental preparation
You have to be in the right frame of mind for a job search. If you are not, then it can mean a very stressful and tense time for you. It can also cause you not to put your best into your job search. If you are dreading doing something, what do you tend to do? Do you procrastinate? Do you just hurry through it and not really take the time to care how good it is? This is where the problems start and that is why you have to begin your job search with enthusiasm and hope for the future.

Job search document preparation
A good job search needs a good resume and cover letter. Correction – it needs a great resume and cover letter. Have you ever know anyone to be very successful in their current job and then you catch a glimpse of their resume when they start job hunting and you are stunned by how amateurish it looks? Now, you know that this person is successful in his own right but looking at his resume, how would any future employer know that? This happens more than you know – at all career levels. It also makes your job search stall before it really can even get started.

Interview skill preparation
If you do not know the walk and talk, then how do you plan on landing the job you want? Getting comfortable in an uncomfortable situation is crucial to your job search success and can determine whether your job search lasts two weeks, two months or two years.
Knowing that, why do so many job seekers take this part of the process for granted? People seem to feel confident in their abilities to convey all the important messages that will help get job offers. They ‘know’ the things to do and things not to do. Are you overly confident? Maybe now is the time to freshen up your interviewing skills. 

Talk to everyone
When you are job hunting, everyone you meet can be your friend. You never know who knows someone who is hiring for a position that would be perfect for you. Having that inside tract is a great way to really boost your success rate of landing job offers. If the hiring manager knows someone who knows you, then you must be okay, right?
Your job search is not over until you have accepted a job offer. So if you still don’t have one in hand, keep applying a job openings that are appealing to you, that you are qualified for and that you feel is a good step for your career. And do not stop until you have reached your goal of a better – more rewarding – job.

Why we should not rush the job search

Target each CV towards each job vacancy, including only the information that the particular employer organization will find relevant

In a recent survey of more than 5000 UK job-seekers by, it was found that 60 percent spend less than two hours working on each application following a job search, all inclusive of the time it takes to write a CV and cover letter, and to prepare for an interview.

What does this reveal? It seems that many of us think that when we are looking for a job, we have to cram in as many job applications as possible. The laws of probability determine that the more jobs we apply for, the more chance we will have of getting one, right? What we do not realize is that it just does not work like that.
An employer organization will hire you because your application and interview were of a high quality. You made the effort to show that you have what that organization values in terms of both capability and enthusiasm for the particular role. You will not get hired by any organization just because you happened to apply to 99 others. That just does not make any sense!

 It is not advised to spend all of your job-seeking time slaving over your CV instead of getting out there and making connections. But if you are going to use a CV, put in the time and effort to ensure it actually helps you get a job. This does not mean that you have to write pages and pages. Target each CV towards each job vacancy, including employer organization will find relevant.

Your job cover letter also has to be targeted towards each different opening. Those of us who like to save time by mass e-mailing a template and just changing addresses and the name of the company each time need to re-think our strategy.

One of the top ‘don’t dos’ for job interviews is to be under prepared, but we still all too often fall into the trap of thinking ‘preparation’ is just about wearing a nice suit and revising our answers to all the stock questions. But what about researching the company before you go in there? This gives you a feel for the values and direction of the organization, which will help you target your answers in the interview.
It will also give you fuel for questions to ask the interviewers. It may seem like it is just a formality when they ask if you have any questions, but asking intelligent, specific questions will show you are genuinely interested in the organization and what it is about. Even if you do not believe any of this is true, the interviewers might just ask you straight out if you have researched the company.

When In MY Career should I Do An MBA???

The Degree is not enough to guarantee a job when you Finish

A Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA) is a significant additional qualification to gain. If you are considering doing an MBA, it would be reasonable for you to wonder whether you should do the MBA now or later and also what your chances are of getting a job after you graduate.

In the UK, it is normal for individuals to obtain their MBA some years after graduating. Typically individuals who self-fund their MBA do so in their late 20s to early 30s (it is later for those funded by their organizations). Therefore, the ‘norm’ is 7 to 12 years after you have finished your first degree. What this means is that you have experienced one or two employers, possibly different types of work or indeed specialized in one discipline. 

From this base, students take their MBA and then transition into the next phase of their career. The next employer sees the value add of the MBA on top of the early career experience—this is of more value potentially than a student completing their MBA straight after their first degree. This has been the prevailing view in the UK and not necessarily the one most prevalent in other areas of the world.

Finally, the degree is not enough to guarantee a job when you finish. Remember, the job market is very competitive.


Seeing problems in a more clear and relative light leads to a whole new perspective on life in general.

When it comes to choosing a volunteer position, you may already know about the most common benefits of doing so – that is gaining experience and helping a cause. But there are more less well known benefits of volunteering. Here are some most compelling hidden benefits why it might be a good option for you.

Feel good: Though you may be helping out and that in itself is a benefit, you will actually feel good about doing so. The chances are very, very good that you will also get a sense not only of accomplishment, but also of doing the right thing for the community or other entity that you are serving with your volunteer work.

Future employment prospects: Another hidden benefit is the quality it adds to your resume, no matter what industry you are going into. Having volunteer work on your resume says something about your reliability, integrity and work ethic-that you are willing to work for free and for a cause for the sake of the community and possibly your career. 

Cause and effect: The world of volunteer work offers a much quicker effect to your actions in most cases than for profit world. So if you are volunteering for a specific cause, you will notice that your actions at work are soon realized through a positive result for one or many of the people or entities that the mission seeks to serve.

The bigger picture: Volunteering for a cause also allows a person working for the mission to gain a better understanding of what is important than might have been thought previously. In short, chances are, if you volunteer, you will notice that your everyday problems that consumed you prior to volunteering, seem very small or inconsequential in comparison. It shows you that your problems are probably really not worth anything when compared to the cause you may be fighting for.

Adds positivity:  Seeing problems in a more clear and relative light leads to a whole new perspective on life in general. You will find, in most cases, how you view problems and negative situations is changed after volunteering for a bigger cause than yourself. You will be more positive about what happens to you, and more optimistic about being able to combat the issue, since you have been able to make positive change in a bigger cause.
Determines your strengths: Lastly, volunteering for a mission or cause can help you realize you best strengths.

The pitfalls of job advertising

Accurate targeting of prospective employers is a far more effective way to conduct your job search

When you initially look at a job advertisement, do not be fooled into thinking that it is not for you or that you do not conform to the specifications contained within the advert. Most adverts are written to rule candidates out rather than in, as they target specific levels of experience and knowledge. Very often there is a sublime message within the advert based on financial recompense for this position without actually stating the figures attributable to the job.

It is a far easier for a recruiter to rule a candidate out based on specific criteria such as experience, qualification, and knowledge base rather than the more subjective criteria such as personal attributes or characteristics, strengths or personality. This is ironic considering that personality plays such a big part in the interview process itself. However at the initial screening, these factors that are considered. 

Do not rely on job adverts, recruitment agencies or head-hunters as your primary link to the job market. Get out and network. Take the initiative and make the calls to firms and organizations that have captured your attention and for whom you feel you would like to work.

Remember that accurate targeting of prospective employers is a far more effective way to conduct your job search and is not nearly as demoralizing as receiving rejection letters because you failed to meet as little as one of the criteria set out.