Interview Guide

Before the interview:

Once an interview has been arranged, try to find out some information about the company; this could involve visiting the company or looking at their website (if they have one). After this, if there are any questions you have with regards to the company, write them down and ask them at the interview. Asking the interviewer questions will actually work as an advantage as it will show you really are interested in the company and the position you are applying for.

One of the easiest things you can do before an interview is practise. You can do this at home in front of the mirror. You may feel silly doing this but it will prevent you from sounding so nervous at the interview and it will also give you a general idea as to what you are going to say before you even begin! Also, you may find some recruitment agencies in your area who will allow you to perform a “dummy” interview with them. If you wish, contact us and we will find an agency in your area that will do this for you.

On the day:

Believe it or not, some people under-dress (or even over-dress) when attending an interview. Try to keep jewellery and perfume to a minimum. As with a CV, first impressions are the most important!

You may find it useful to take a pad and pen with you to the interview – this will give you the opportunity to make notes and allows you to keep track of any questions you are planning to ask the interviewer.

Ensure you arrive on time for your interview. If you turn up late the interviewer may look at you as someone who will always be late if you were given the position. Consider planning your journey before the interview and if possible try to arrive around 15 minutes before your appointment to allow you to get prepared. Using the website, Streetmap will allow you familiarise yourself with the surrounding area.

When you go into the interview try to be aware of your body language. When shaking hands, make sure your grip is firm – this shows confidence. Everyone gets nervous at some point but if you appear too nervous, the interviewer might think you are not capable to do the job.

When answering interview questions, avoid making negative comments about previous jobs or bosses. A common mistake is complaining about responsibilities you were given in a previous position. Remember: employers want to hire someone who is positive and enthusiastic.

After the interview:

After the interview, send the interviewer a thank-you letter, thanking them for taking time to interview you. This allows you to polish up on any details you may have overlooked in the interview. It is also polite and professional to say “thank-you”.

We advise you to apply for more than one vacancy at a time as this helps to prevent you from feeling demoralised if you don’t get one job. It is easy to become down-heartened about lack of success in interviews but try to remember most interviewees may be turned down just because, on the day, there happened to be somebody who seemed more suitable – not because you were not good enough!!

During an interview, the recruiter may ask questions to assess your attitude towards employment, including:

  • What targets and goals have you set aside for your career?
  • What qualities do you have that you feel contribute most to your career development?
  • How would you describe yourself in terms of your ability to work as part of a team?
  • How would you evaluate your ability to deal with conflict / hostile situations?
  • What long-term targets and goals have you set for your career and how will you measure your success?
  • What do you believe are the characteristics of a successful employee?
  • Would you say that you could easily deal with high-pressure situations?

Turn that negative into a positive!!

In most interviews, you’ll be asked something along the lines of, “describe your weaknesses”. What you might not be aware of is your opportunity to turn these questions into a positive! Other questions which provide this opportunity include:

  • Why are you looking to leave your current employer?
  • What would your peers say are your weaknesses?
  • How would you deal with a colleague who you felt was underperforming?
  • If you disagreed with a senior member of staff, what approach would you take?

Other tips:

In general, you should aim to answer all questions using a positive answer. For example, if you’re asked why you left your last job, don’t say, “I didn’t get on with my Manager”.

Prepare, prepare, prepare! Preparing for an interview is the best way to help ensure success. However, there will be occasions where the interviewer will try and throw you with an unexpected question – providing an invaluable opportunity to shine.

With 20+ years of experience writing CVs, it still puts a smile on my face when I hear a client has secured an interview Lee Tonge - Founder and Director


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