Accessibility Links

Interview Advice


Preparation:


Interviews need preparation so ensure you allow yourself adequate time to research and prepare before your interview.  

Research the Company:
It is important to find out as much as you can about the company before your interview.  The interviewer wants to know that you have done your homework and that you are aware of the company’s values, aims and objectives.  Having information to hand on the size of the company, the services/products they provide, and any current and new projects or developments will demonstrate to the interviewer that you have taken the time to research the company and will also allow you to prepare some questions you may want to ask.  Visit the Company Website, use Linked-In and talk to any contacts you may have within the organisation to gain as much information as you can.

Review the Job Description:
An important part of interview preparation is taking the time to thoroughly review the job description for the position you are interviewing for.  As you do, think about the skills, knowledge and experience that will be required to successfully complete each task and how your own skills, knowledge and previous experience relate.  Prepare examples of how you may have performed in similar situations or specific achievements from previous roles that could be used as examples of your previous successes.  The interviewer wants to know if you fully understand what the job will involve and why you think you would be good at it.  Being ready to answer questions relating to this will demonstrate your capability in the role and ensure you are able to answer job specific interview questions designed to determine if you have the knowledge and skills needed to perform the job.

Practice Interviewing:
Take the time to review some of the most common interview questions you will most likely be asked.  Being prepared to answer questions that come up time and time again in interviews can eliminate a lot of interview stress.
The more you prepare, the more confident you'll feel during a job interview.

Dressing for an Interview:
The first impression you make on a potential employer is the most important one. The first judgement an interviewer makes will be based on how professional you look and what you are wearing, so it is always important to dress appropriately for a job interview.  A candidate dressed in a suit and tie will make a better first impression than a casually dressed candidate.

Arrive on Time:
If you are unsure where you are going, it is a good idea to do a ‘dry run’ a couple of days before to ensure that you are able to find the location of the interview and don’t arrive late.  Print off a copy of directions and leave in plenty of time to allow for traffic disruptions.

What to Bring:
You may want to bring along a portfolio with extra copies of your CV, references from previous employers, and any questions you may want to ask at interview.  Some companies may also ask that you take along your passport or other specific documents they may want to view.


During the Interview:


Interview Etiquette:
Greet the receptionist, the interviewer, and anyone else you may meet in a polite, pleasant, and enthusiast manner.

Body Language: 
Body language is very important and can have a significant impact on how you’re perceived.  Certain studies and statistics have shown that up to 60% of the impression that you make at interview is through your body language. 
To make a strong impression, there are a number of ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ regarding body language that you need to be aware of:

Do:

  • Sit up straight - be aware of your body position and posture
  • Make eye contact - if there is more than one interviewer, ensure that you make eye contact with them all  
  • Smile
  • Listen attentively
  • Appear interested, enthusiastic and engaged
  • Shake hands firmly but not too firmly - too firm can be seen as arrogance, too weak can be seen as a pushover
  • Be respectful and professional

Don’t:

  • Slouch or lean back in your chair
  • Sit with your arms crossed
  • Interrupt the interviewer
  • Look down at your feet
  • Play with your hair or bite your nails
Answering Questions:
It is impossible to know exactly which questions will be asked at interview, but certain questions do come up time and time again — usually about you, your experience and the job itself – so you can be prepared to answer these questions if they arise.

Typical Questions you may be asked at Interview:

  • Why do you want this job?
  • Why do you want to work for this company?
  • What do you know about our company?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • What are your career goals?
  • What can you do for us that other candidates can't?
  • What do you think the main challenges will be?
  • What would you do in the first day/week/month/year?
  • What experience have you got from previous jobs?
  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • What has been your greatest achievement?
  • What would your colleagues and friends consider as your best qualities?
  • Describe a situation where you worked in a team.
  • Describe a situation where you used initiative.
  • Describe a situation where you dealt with confrontation.
  • Describe a difficult work situation/project and how you overcame it.
  • Why are you looking to leave your current position?
  • What are your goals for the future?
  • What do you expect to be doing in five year’s time?
  • Describe yourself in one word.


Strengths & Weaknesses:
Know your strengths, and mention ones that are relevant to the job you're being interviewed for. It's important to quote examples of when you used the skills; it's not enough to just say you have the skills. 
If you're asked about weaknesses, don't list many - only mention one.  Choose a minor flaw that isn't essential to the job and turn it into a positive, such as how you've worked on the weakness, or present it as an opportunity for development.

Typical strengths employers look for:

  • Communication - the ability to get on with a wide range of people
  • Team working - the ability to be an effective team leader or team member
  • IT skills - most jobs these days need some IT skills
  • Good attitude - hard worker, honest, polite, co-operative
  • Problem solving - using your initiative to identify solutions
  • Enthusiasm - employers like someone positive
  • Quick learner - so you can take on new tasks
  • Determination - shows you are focused on achieving goals
  • Flexibility - doing a variety of tasks to achieve a common goal.


Previous Jobs:
When talking about previous jobs, focus on the positives.  Think about what you learned whilst in the position and mention how the skills and experience gained there would be benefit and be relevant to the position you are interviewing for.  Do not criticise previous employers or focus on workplace disputes.  When responding to questions about why you are switching jobs, it's important to provide reassurance that you are moving on for career reasons, not just to get out of a bad situation.