You only get one chance to make a first impression, so it is important to get it right. The following tips should help ensure you are in the best position to maximise your chances of success from your interview.
- The more prepared you are for an interview, the less nervous you will feel and the better you will present yourself
- Always research the company thoroughly before an interview – look at their website, press releases and on social media
- Make sure you pay attention to their values and culture, so you can see if you will be a good fit
- Plan your journey well in advance, consider a practice run and aim to arrive early
- Make sure you know your CV and be prepared to discuss the content of it. Make sure you take a copy with you to the interview
- Prepare a brief overview of your career to date so you are prepared to sell yourself well if asked. This should be no longer than 10 minutes
- Prepare some questions to ask the interviewers – for example;
- Questions around specific duties or accountabilities of the role
- The company’s future plans
- Career progression and development opportunities
- Consider some of the questions you are likely to be asked and plan your answers – for example;
- Your achievements
- Strengths and weaknesses
- Why you are interested in the role and the company
- Dress in smart business attire unless advised otherwise
- Arrive 10 minutes early to allow you time to collect your thoughts – always call ahead if you are going to be late
- Greet your interviewer with a smile and a firm handshake
- Maintain good eye contact throughout the interview and smile often
- Be aware of your body language – avoid folding your arms, fidgeting or biting your nails
- If you are being interviewed by more than one person, ensure you engage with everyone in the room when speaking
- Listen carefully to the questions asked and answer concisely, relating your response to your own experience
- Always use the STAR technique when answering competency-based questions (explain the situation, the task, the action taken and the result)
- Make sure your answers are specific and highlight your own experience
- Always use positive language and be aware of the tone and pace of your voice
- Take the opportunity to ask the questions you prepared before the interview
- At the end of the interview let the interviewer know that you are interested in the role
Things to Avoid
- Long answers that do not directly answer the question
- Controversial jokes or remarks
- Discussions about salary/ package expectations unless the interviewer brings it up
Second interviews vary significantly between companies, so it is difficult to provide a lot of advice on how to prepare. However, there are some common denominators that will always help you:
- Request feedback from your 1st interview and prepare for more in-depth questions around any areas of concern they have
- Prepare questions to ask the interviewers based on additional information that you didn’t get in the first round
- Do not assume that a 2nd interview means you have the job – it is often the case that companies are choosing between 2-3 candidates
Frequently asked questions
It is very rare that you will know in advance of an interview what questions you will be asked, so we have compiled a list of commonly asked questions to help you to prepare:
1. Career history
- What are you looking for in a new role?
- Why are you looking for a new position?
- Describe your best achievement in your career to date?
- Where do you see yourself in one/ five years’ time?
2. Company information
- What do you know about the company?
- Why do you want to work for us?
- What attracts you to this role?
- Why do you believe that you are the best person for this role?
3. Personal information
- Tell me something about yourself?
- What are your hobbies/ how do you spend your time out of work?
- What are your key strengths and/or weaknesses?
- What are the key things that motivate you?
- Describe your management style?
- What do you look for in a manager?