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Interview Techniques and Preparation

Red Snapper Recruitment can provide a one-on-one interview technique and preparation service for policing professionals.

A well written CV will help you get an interview.  It is at the interview where you convince the employer you should be appointed to the job.  An obvious statement, however, too many job seekers under prepare for interviews.

Set out below is a summary of the interview technique and preparation session we deliver to our registered job seekers about to interview.

Preparing for the interview

It’s important to recognise the interview is an opportunity to set out your stall and demonstrate why the employer should buy your labour.  You need to sell yourself and deal with any objections the ‘buyer’ or the employer may have.   To do this effectively you need to prepare well.

Before the Interview

Ensure you have a copy of the job description and person specification.  Match the required competencies and experiences with anecdotal examples drawn from your work experience – and always write them down.

If you identify competencies in the job which you do not possess or do not fully possess – don’t panic!   Employers recognise the rarity of a perfect fit. They just need to believe you are able to learn these new competencies.  Therefore, ensure you can show the necessary abilities.

Write down the questions you want to ask.  Ensure they are focused on you, not the job or organisation.  So, don’t ask questions about pay, conditions, holidays etc.  This comes once you have received an offer, and then is the time to start negotiating.  Don’t waste valuable time during the interview discussing them, you should also:

  • Ensure you take along a copy of your CV
  • Ensure you have the correct address. Arrive at the address half an hour before.
  • Ensure you wear appropriate business dress

In the Interview

Have your CV, written anecdotal competency evidence and the questions you intend to ask at the ready.  Inform the interviewer you may refer to some pre written notes.

Body Language

Sit up straight, make good eye contact without staring and make sure you smile.

Answering Questions

Your answers should do more than just state facts, they should persuade.  The easiest way to do this is to break down your answers into two parts.  Part one is the factual answer for example…’Yes, I am an experienced criminal investigator……….’ and part two is the follow on persuasive element of your answer, which uses anecdotal evidence.

So, for example, the answer to the question ‘would you consider yourself to be a highly experienced criminal investigator’?

The full answer would be:

‘Yes, I am an experienced criminal investigator.  I am PACE and PEACE trained.  I work on a case load of 20 criminal investigations at any one time.  I have experience of working on a range of cases with different allegations of economic crime, theft and assault.  At the moment my case load consists of 4 cases of …………etc’

Remember to refer to your notes in your pad.

Dealing with mistakes

The interview forum is a tense one.  The interviewer knows this – they have been interviewees themselves. Don’t panic if you make a mistake.  The organisation is not attempting to employ a flawless human being- they don’t exist.  They do, however, want to employ a mature adult who can quickly identify and calmly correct mistakes.

If you make a mistake see it as an opportunity to demonstrate you mature attitude.  Demonstrate to the interviewer that making mistakes does not faze you. It is, however, important to you that you ‘own’ the mistake by identifying and correcting it within the interview. Common mistakes include:

  • Proceeding through an interview without giving substantial answers with anecdotal evidence to demonstrate you have the key competencies
  • Forgetting the question being asked – Common if lengthy questions are being asked
  • Forgetting the point of your own answer by being reduced to a rambling halt.
  • Whatever the mistake, simply point it out and ask for permission to begin your answer again.
  • The above is a taste of the interview preparation expertise we deliver to our candidates.

Last edited: 4th June 2018

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