Interview Advice

How to Prepare for an Interview

Prior to an interview you should always research the company and relevant department. This can be achieved through a number of means. Looking at the company website offers a valuable opportunity to assess the way in which the organisation presents itself to the outside world. In addition, it is advisable to obtain a copy of the company accounts and any company literature available, as well as keeping abreast of any recent press-coverage the company may have received.

Conducting the necessary research will not only allow you to appear more professional and enthusiastic to a prospective employer, you will also be in a better position to ask questions and ascertain whether the organisation is right for you.

It is important to prepare questions as these are often encouraged by the interviewer and demonstrate both interest and the desire to find out more.

Consider the following examples:

  • What training programmes does the company offer?
  • What future plans does the company/department have?
  • Why does the interviewer like working for the organisation?
  • What IT systems does the company use?
What the Interviewer is Looking For

Ordinarily an interviewer will ask you to talk through your CV. The interviewer will no doubt have this information in front of them; the purpose of this exercise is the assessment of both your communication skills and the attitude you take towards your work. They will be assessing the way you come across; whether you are confident, friendly and whether your answers are clear and concise. Overall, the interviewer will be gauging what it would be like to do business with you.

The following are examples of questions you may be asked in a standard interview:

  • Why are you leaving your current job?
  • What have your main achievements been in your present position?
  • What did you enjoy the most and least about your role?
  • What would you add to our organization?
  • What makes you stand out from other candidates? Why should we employ you?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Why are you interested in this position/organisation?

General Advice

First impressions count.  As a consequence you should always wear a suit and ensure that you arrive on time.  It is also important to smile, make eye contact and shake hands with the interviewer.

During the interview you should look the interviewer in the eye and avoid fidgeting: touching your face or hair can be an indication of nerves and should be avoided.

Remember that an interview is an opportunity for you to learn about the company as well as for the interviewer to learn about you.

You should always be yourself; there is no point pretending to be someone you are not. An interviewer will be both assessing your ability to do the job and making judgements about what it would be like to work alongside you. As a general guide, imagine what you would look for in a candidate if you were conducting the interview. What would impress you?

Always take care not to appear negative. If you have a criticism of a former employer it is best to phrase this in objective terms, balancing the good with the bad.

After the Interview

It is crucial that you contact your consultant immediately after the interview has concluded to convey your initial thoughts. This will enable the consultant to contact the recruiter promptly, reinforcing the positive impression you will hopefully have created during the interview.

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