Interviews can be daunting for everyone and it isn’t always clear what employers are looking for. The good news is that it is a skill that can be practised and perfected. The more carefully you prepare, the better you will do. Check our interview hints and tips and below to prepare for your next interview.

Research the company

Get to know the company and their industry before your interview. Familiarise yourself with their website and LinkedIn page along with searching on Google and social media platforms .This will help you feel confident when you walk into the interview.

You may be asked questions specific to the company/industry, therefore, it’ll score you extra points if you can show off your newfound knowledge. It will also help you discover any questions you have about working there.

Did you know 77% of hiring managers automatically reject resumes because of typos and grammatical errors?

Personal presentation

It almost goes without saying that, whatever you choose to wear, it needs to be clean, inoffensive and fairly neutral in colour. It’s a good idea to research the company dress code or find out what’s appropriate from the company’s HR department or the recruiter. A good general rule is to aim for a notch above the general office wear you identify during your company research.

Consider the role and industry. If you’re interviewing for a corporate position in finance or law, wear formal business attire. For men, this means a matching suit and tie. For women, it means a tailored dress, trouser suit or skirt suit. However, for less formal positions and workplaces, business casual may be the correct option.

What to take?

It’s always best to take along a copy of your CV as a point of reference. If you have been asked to take along any other documentation, ensure that it’s in a professional bag, such as a briefcase or handbag rather than stuffing it into your pocket. 

Getting to the venue

Check in advance how to get to the interview venue, and how long it’ll take. Make sure you leave plenty of time to get there and aim to arrive a little early. 

Present yourself well in reception, and be polite to the staff. From the moment you enter their offices the company will be observing your character. Give the person interviewing you a nice firm handshake (not too firm) while maintaining eye contact.

In the reception area and during the interview try to maintain good posture sitting upright and maintain eye contact with the interviewer. Also, be enthusiastic and confident during the interview, but don’t be too relaxed as this can come across as arrogant.

Closure

At the end of the interview, you will be asked if you have any questions. This is your opportunity to demonstrate your questioning technique and interest in the role / company. Never decline to ask questions at this point, ensure that you have several prepared.

This is also a good opportunity to ask more indirect questions relating to how you can fit into the company. Such as how do you see me fitting into the team? What do I need to do to ensure I have a second interview? 

Remember – At the end of your first interview be sure to find out when you can expect to hear something from them. Don’t be aggressive in your questions, you want them to like you not fear you! Smile and shake hands with all the interviewers and tell them that you look forward to hearing from them soon.

Typical interview questions

Tell me about yourself?

The interviewer doesn’t want to know if you’re a cat person. Talk briefly about your achievements to date. 

Why do you want to work for us?

A little research and you’ll be able to talk compellingly about the business and how you will fit in. 

Give an example of when:-

Even if you’re not in a management role, you must cite an example where you took the reins. Remember, be yourself when answering competency questions, use real life examples and relate them to your experience, how you reacted or how it made you feel. These are not trick questions; they’re designed to create the best match between an individual and an organisation.

A good structure to remember for these kinds of questions is STAR – Situation, Task, Action and the Result. This will ensure you cover the important points that the interviewer is looking for.

A little bit of preparation and you’ll quickly realise that competency based interviews represent an unprecedented opportunity to describe some of your finer moments to a captive audience.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Talk about strengths that satisfy the selection criteria and allude to weaknesses irrelevant to the role. 

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Research the company structure to pitch your aspirations more realistically than ‘I want to be on the board by then.’

What is your greatest achievement?

Use the selection criteria to identify which of your achievements called for skills the interviewer is interested in. 

Why should we hire you?

Describe the skills and experience you’ve gained that qualify you to fulfil the duties listed on the job description. 

Are you a team player?

You need to provide examples to back up your emphatic ‘yes’. 

Why are you looking to move jobs?

Avoid saying anything negative about your former employer, managers or colleagues. This can be a deal-breaker question so it’s important that you answer this question in a forward-thinking manner. 

Reasons could be that you are looking for an opportunity for growth, a career change, you’re relocating, your role / job description may have changed.

Do you have any questions for us?

Use this opportunity to build rapport, referring back to a key point in the interview and developing it. 

Fact: 65% of candidates that don’t make eye contact don’t get the job

Final interview hints and tips

It always leaves a lasting impression if you call or email the interviewer to let them know it was nice to meet them, thank them for their time, and to confirm that you’re still very interested in the opportunity.

Always remember that the interview isn’t just about what skills and experience you have, it’s a chance for you to let your personality show and to prove that you’d be a good fit for the team. Have confidence in yourself, believe that you’re capable of landing this job. After all, they called you; they decided your CV / application were worthy of an interview. So practice potential questions and your answers, but also work on building confidence in yourself and having a positive outlook.

For more information on our vacancies, check out our jobs page.

Do you have a video interview coming up? Check out our video interview preparation guide for more interview hints and tips.

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