Interview Tips

Some people always seem to excel at interviews. And it’s often down to more than just luck. The secret is preparation. If you know what you want to say beforehand, you’re already one step ahead of most other candidates.
Remember that the employer has invited you because they think you’re capable of doing the job. More than that, they’ll be hoping you’re the perfect solution to the vacancy.

Here are a few proven strategies that will help you take control of the interview and ensure that the whole process goes smoothly.

Do your homework

  • Make sure you have a good understanding of the company. Be ready to explain why you’d like to work there
  • Visit the company’s website — understand what’s going on there — new announcements, new products or business, etc.
  • Find out about any competitors — get an idea of the challenges that company may face. 

Making a great impression 

  • Look smart and professional. When it comes to dressing to impress, think more traditional than trendy
  • Take a copy of your CV with you. Even the most efficient companies can forget to bring a document
  • Give yourself plenty of time to get there — there’s nothing worse than arriving late and feeling flustered
  • A firm handshake can make one of the best first impressions
  • Try to relax and be yourself. The interviewer is interested in getting to know you and your personality
  • Be confident and engaging, smile and make eye contact. This will get the interviewer on side and make the interview more interesting
  • Focus on answering the questions and, if unsure, ask for clarification rather than answering incorrectly or appearing anxious
  • Keep your answers concise and don’t waffle. Remember, an interviewer has a lot of questions to ask and a limited amount of time in which to ask them.

    Finally, if you have questions to ask at the end of the interview then ask them. If they’ve already been answered then let the interviewer know — it reinforces how prepared you were. Avoid irrelevant questions about what to wear or how long you get for lunch – show dedication at this stage and find out about those details once you’re successful! 

Be prepared for these questions

How would you describe yourself?

  • How would your manager describe you?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
  • What motivates you?
  • Give an example of when you have coped well under pressure at work?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?

    This final question is particularly tricky. Obviously you can’t claim to have no weaknesses, but you don’t want to stress anything too negative either. It’s best to admit to any weak points and then immediately explain how you’ve overcome them.

    Suggested questions to ask

  • What are the opportunities for training and career progression?
  • What are my precise responsibilities?
  • What are the targets for the first six months?
  • How long will it take you to make a final decision?