An interview is an opportunity to sell yourself and find out more about the opportunity, company, current and future prospects, the team you could be joining, and the people interviewing you. Listed below are some tips that may help you.

Please note that the following points are just a guide. Interviews vary from interviewer to interviewer, company to company.

Interview Tips

Preparing for the Interview:

  • Research the company via their web-site
  • Request company brochures / literature to gain further insights into the company
  • Research their reputation if possible
  • Ask your recruitment consultant (if you have one) for a job description to establish how much of your skills, experience and qualifications are relevant
  • Take an up to date copy of your CV to the interview, a notepad and pen may also be handy
  • Prepare some questions to ask at the interview
  • Allow plenty of time for the journey and aim to arrive at least ten minutes early, this may give you a chance to read company literature often kept in the reception area
  • Don’t forget to check bus / train timetables or parking availability
  • Fold two paper towels into your right pocket – dry any sweaty palms before shaking hands using a firm and solid handshake
  • Look the person in the eyes as you smile and shake hands. Saying their name as you’re introduced helps to remember their name for later
  • Invest in a spray breath freshener – no one ever failed an interview because of overly fresh breath!
  • Smile with your eyes, relax, breath deep, enjoy – interviews are an exciting, fun time!
  • Demonstrate enthusiasm! If you’re not interested or even slightly bored – it clearly shows!

Possible Interview Questions

Possible Interview Questions

This list is not exhaustive; however it gives some sample questions. Extensive lists can be found searching ‘Interview questions’ on Google:

  • Why do you wish to leave your current job / last job?
  • How much do you know about the vacancy / company?
  • What do you see as the main functions of the vacancy?
  • How do you visualise a typical day?
  • What interests you about the position?
  • Give an example of when you coped well under pressure?
  • Who and what were you responsible for in your last job?
  • What are your long-term goals and objectives with this role?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • When have you had an opportunity to show initiative?
  • How do you motivate yourself?
  • What skills or experience do you have that make you right for the position?
  • What has been your biggest achievement in your career to date?
  • What do you see as the satisfactions of the job?
  • What do you anticipate the frustrations to be?
  • What qualities do you have that make you right for this position?
  • How do you analyse your own performance?
  • How do you think that you could improve your own performance?
  • If you could change one aspect of your current or last role, what would that be and why?
  • What are you looking for in your next role?
  • What do you hope to achieve with this role?
  • Choose 5 words to describe yourself?
  • What 5 words would your previous boss use to describe you?
  • Describe a time when you received negative feedback about your performance?
  • Are you considering other vacancies?

Questions You Could Ask

Some likely questions you could ask are:

  • Please explain the company culture / ethos?
  • What are the company’s growth plans?
  • Why has the vacancy arisen?
  • What is staff retention like?
  • Ask for more information about the duties and responsibilities required in the role?
  • Ask about training opportunities, promotion prospects etc
  • Find out more about the people / team you would be working with?
  • Find out about their recruitment process – next step in the process? Timeframes?

At the end of your interview, if you’re interested in the opportunity, you should leave your interviewer with the sincere impression that you’re very interested and keen to proceed to the next level. You should thank them for their time out of courtesy. If you’ve demonstrated an appropriate amount of interest and enthusiasm, combined with the required skills and experience they need, your interview is likely to proceed to the next phase. Well done!

Questions You Could Ask

Follow up

You most likely accepted a business card from the person interviewing you, so drop them a very quick thank you email for their time if you’re interested in the opportunity. Usually in the next half working day works well. Copy your recruitment consultant in on the email also. A timely email re-confirms your enthusiasm and interest and often assists with moving the process forward quicker.

More Tips

Consistency

Some interviewers will ask the same question in a number of different ways to check for consistency, so ensure you always answer to the best of your honest ability. If you’re not sure of an answer, or didn’t understand the question – say so. Ask them to repeat the question if needed. It is better to ask twice or even three times than to answer a different question.

Two way street

Job interviews are a two-way street, where a potential employer will also need to be interviewed as to their suitability for your career. Ask relevant questions that show you are interested and take notes.

How to Ace an Interview: 5 Tips from a Harvard Career Advisor

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