If you’ve been in your current role for some time, you may feel you are a bit rusty sitting in front of an interviewer.
Alternatively, you may be an old hand at interviewing, but it always pays to be prepared.
Here are our top tips on how to prepare for and how to conduct yourself during an interview...
Research the company.
What are its products or services? What size is it? Who are their competitors?
Your consultant will be able to help you with information about the company and where to find this; but you should conduct some personal research (the company’s website, brochure, social media, figures etc).
Pick out your skills or achievements that are directly relevant to what this company is looking for and rehearse these.
Be prepared to explain any unusual parts of your CV, such as any time taken out from employment, education, or traveling.
How will the interview be structured?
Most Interviews follow a similar format, but some may contain technical and/or psychometrical tests. Usually, interviews will include the following.
Questions based on your CV to explain your career path and ambitions
Pick out your skills or achievements that are directly relevant, and rehearse these General questions about you
How much do you know about the job?
What interests you about the job?
Who and what were you responsible for in your last job?
Can you give an example of when you coped well under pressure?
Do you prefer to work as an individual or as part of a team?
What are the biggest achievements so far in your career?
What do you see as your strengths and weaknesses?
What are your long-term goals? How are you going to succeed in achieving them?
Are you considering any other jobs?
Asking relevant questions shows you are interested, organised and able to plan ahead:
Salary and benefits are important, but an employer will be more impressed if you ask questions about the company, the department and the job first.
The following are good questions to ask:
Who you would report to
Who you will be working with
Promotion prospects and career progression
How the role is important to the company
What direction the company/dept is going
What projects are current / on the horizon
Whether there is a second or third round of interviews.
When you are likely to receive feedback / get a decision
How long the interviewer has been with the company and why they like it there
Ask if there is anything the interviewer is unsure about regarding you and if they have any queries you can clear up.
Find out about the details of the interview
What’s the date, time and location?
Allow plenty of time for travel; aim to arrive at least 15 minutes early
If you are held up, phone ahead and let us know
If possible, do a trial run (check transport timetables or parking availability)
Find opportunities to sell yourself, relating your skills to the job
An employer is looking for determination, enthusiasm and a willingness to learn
Concentrate on positive words!
Who will be interviewing you?
There may be technical interviewers, Managers / Directors or HR / Personnel staff, or a mixture of all of them. Don’t forget they will all have their own view on the company and what they’re looking for from this role
How should you dress?
First impressions are important! Dress suitably, be well-groomed and wear something you are comfortable in
Your consultant can advise if you are unsure, but a suit and tie for gentlemen and trouser suit or jacket and skirt are recommended for ladies unless you have been told otherwise
Gentlemen should be clean-shaven unless they have a beard (no stubble)
If possible wear a slightly different outfit for a second interview at the same company
What should you take with you?
Relevant certificates and references
Notepad and pen for notes - If you want to take notes during the interview do make sure that the interviewer is OK with this
Your prepared questions – if you don’t write them down beforehand you may forget what you wanted to ask!
During the interview
Switch off your mobile
Shake the interviewer’s hand firmly when he/she offers
Look alert and sit upright, eye contact is important
Be yourself and be honest at all times
Listen carefully, concentrate and don’t interrupt
Talk slowly and clearly
Keep your answers clear and to the point
Take time if necessary before answering a question or ask for clarification if you are unsure of the meaning
Don’t be afraid to admit if you can’t answer the question
Don’t criticise your current employer, or reveal confidential/controlled information/documentation
Find opportunities to sell yourself, relating your skills to the job. An employer is looking for determination, enthusiasm and a willingness to learn
Concentrate on positive words such as “enthusiastic”, “interesting” and “enjoyable” etc
Ending the interview:
Thank your interviewers for their time – however you feel the interview has been
If you are impressed by what the interviewer has had to say and by the company in general let them know that you feel that way
If you want the job don’t be afraid to tell the interviewer that you want it and would like to work with them
After the interview
Please call your consultant as soon as possible with your feedback – the sooner we have your feedback and know you are out of the interview, the sooner we can ascertain feedback for you from the client