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How To Succeed at an Interview


How to Succeed at an Interview

Every employer wants and needs to fill their vacancies with the best possible applicants. We hope the following guidelines we have set out will allow you to take another step in the right direction and become successful at interviews.

For some of us, we are not phased by interviews, for others however, it is an absolute nerve wracking and terrifying experience. There are various types of interviews and also interviewers. You need to be mindful of the fact that an interview is a two way meeting. Yes, it is time for the interviewer to find out more about you, but it is also a time for you to find out more about the job, the company and indeed, the interviewer.

Preparing for your Interview

  • It is essential to prepare before you attend an interview. By doing this it will automatically give you more confidence and your answers will be more free-flowing on the day.
  • Find out as much information as possible about the company, the job and the interviewer. By doing this you will in turn be more at ease at the interview.
  • Your consultant should provide you with a copy of the job description and relevant company information. Access the company website or local library for more information if required. Interviewers are always impressed by applicants who have taken the time to research the company, their culture, products and services, their competitors and their reputation.
  • Be clear about what skills and experience you may have that matches their job description and requirements and be prepared to point these out on the day.
  • Prepare for and anticipate potential questions. This will allow you to organise your thoughts and develop appropriate responses.
  • Know your CV thoroughly and be prepared to verify and discuss the information contained within your CV.
  • Dress for Success. Remember first impressions last and you must create a great first impression. With this in mind, it is essential you are turned out professionally, ideally in a suit with tidy hair and shoes. If female, be conservative when it comes to jewellery, make-up.
  • Plan your route. It is very important that you know exactly how to get there and to know how long it will take you to travel to the company. You may decide to take a dummy run prior to the interview, just to be sure.

On the Day of Your Interview

  • Set out with your directions to the company and your consultants contact numbers, to arrive about ten minutes prior to interview. This will allow you to compose yourself and relax.
  • Take along a copy of your CV, any certificates and references.
  • If presented with an application form to complete whilst waiting for your interview, ensure you complete it neatly and without spelling errors as this may play a part in the selection process.
  • When you meet your interviewer, act confident, shake their hand firmly, look them in the eye, smile and introduce yourself. Take a seat when invited.
  • Body language is of paramount importance. Sit upright, with hands by your sides. If you slouch it could appear that you are uninterested. Keep control of your hands as if fidgeting this can be distracting for the interviewer.
  • Maintain eye contact in a friendly manner and enjoy the conversation and remain composed.
  • Remember, this is a two way meeting, therefore be involved in the conversation and don't be silent, however, not over bearing to the interviewer by talking too much.
  • Ask questions, if there is something being said by the interviewer that you don't understand.
  • If they don't tell you the key areas about the job, ask them. This will allow you to highlight your skills and experience that may suit the role. Mention that you have carried out some research and make reference to some of their company's achievements, facts and figures, competitors etc.
  • AVOID, answers that are too short, being negative or making derogatory statements about former employers or positions, over answering questions, becoming uneasy when faced with challenging questions, answering without really listening to the question and what the interviewer is looking to hear, discussing salary or benefits and misrepresenting yourself.
  • The interviewer will have formed an impression of you within the first ten minutes and be trying to envisage you fitting in with their team and organisation and doing the job. With this in mind, consider what is going to make you stand out in the crowd and make the employer know the benefits of employing you. You should also have formed your own impressions of the interviewer, so keep this in mind if offered the position.
  • Always ask if there is anything else they would like to ask you. If the interview is coming to a close, never allow an uncomfortable silence to develop.
  • If you are interested in the position, tell them. Ask the interviewer what will happen next? Ask them if they think you are a suitable applicant for the job?. Stand up, smile, shake interviewers hand firmly and thank them for their time.
  • Contact your consultant to thank them and to provide feedback on the interview.
  • Send a thank you letter to the interviewer thanking for their time and re-iterate your interest in the position.

Questions You May Be Asked At Interviews

  • Why are you interested in this position?
  • What do you know about the position you are applying for?
  • How would you set about tackling this position if you are successful?
  • Tell me about yourself?
  • Tell me about your current/most recent position?
  • What do you like most/least about your current/most recent position?
  • What do you think the main differences will be between your present/past role and this one?
  • What are your three main strengths and weaknesses?
  • What kind of people do you most/least like to work with?
  • Do you prefer working as part of a team or on own initiative?
  • How would your current/previous manager describe you?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years time?
  • What do you know about our company?
  • How do you perform under pressure?
  • Give me an example of a situation where you had to work under pressure and how you coped?
  • How would you handle difficult clients/customers?
  • Give me an example of a situation when you had to deal with a difficult client/customer and what was the outcome?
  • Why did you leave your last position? Why are you looking to leave your current position?
  • What did/do you think of your manager?
  • Would you ever lie in the interests of your job?
  • Tell me three things that I can remember you by?
  • What are your salary requirements?
  • What motivates/de-motivates you?
  • What is your greatest achievement?
  • Would you be prepared to relocate?
  • Why have you moved employers a lot?
  • How would your colleagues describe you?
  • How would your friends describe you?
  • Tell me why I should employ you?
  • What is the most challenging experience that you have had to overcome in your life?
  • How do you like to be managed?
  • How do you get along with others?
  • Tell me how you would get the best from employees if in a management role?
  • Give me examples of where you were responsible for other staff members?
  • How would you deal with an employee that was under achieving?
  • How would you deal with an employee that was having a lot of absenteeism?

The above are some examples of questions that may well arise in an interview situation. Your consultant should always have an interview brief with you and go through a dummy interview with you prior to any interview you attend via our agency. Should you ever wish to contact us to assist you with preparing answers to the above or indeed any other questions you are unsure of how to answer, please feel confident to contact us and we would be delighted to meet you face-to-face to assist you. You will have a de-brief after each interview and we always aim to improve any responses you felt could have been better on the day. Remember it takes practice to become a good interviewee for most of us. After two to three interviews, you will be well on the road to success and taking that step in the right direction for you and your career. Always remember, if you are not offered a position, we believe that it wasn't the right one for you and that the right job is just around the corner.

Questions You May Ask At Interviews

  • If I am successful in securing this position, what are the most important tasks involved?
  • When can I expect to hear the outcome?
  • Do my skills and experience match the skills and experience you are looking for?
  • Who will I be reporting to?
  • Who will I be working with? How many people are in the department?
  • Is there training provided? What training opportunities are available within your organisation?
  • Does the company offer good promotional prospects?
  • What are the normal working hours?
  • Due to business requirements, will I be required to work longer/less hours?
  • What is the salary being offered? Are there any additional benefits offered?
  • When is salary reviewed?
  • Is there a staff appraisal system in place? If so, how often are employees appraised?
  • What computer system is in operation?
  • Is there anything else you can tell me that I need to know or should know about your organisation? Do you have any further literature regarding the company that I can take away and study?
  • Is there anything I could have done better today?

Success And Winning At Work

Its great when a new job is offered to you as you know you have been successful. To ensure your continued success, it is vital that you remain at the top of your game. You must be committed, enthusiastic with bags of determination to allow you to keep taking those steps in the right direction. You need a willingness to accept responsibility and remain motivated always steering yourself away from becoming involved in office politics. Be focused on your own job and carry it out to the best of your ability and where possible, above and beyond everyone's expectations. Keep the right attitude and get as much help from the experts as possible. This will allow you avoid knock backs and allow us to use our connections and experience to help you take these steps in the right direction for you and your career. Remember, don't just sit back and wait for something to happen, take control of your own career and be ready to take your next step in the right direction.