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Preparing for a Job Interview

When you are invited to an interview, be confident that the hiring manager likes your profile enough to be considering you for the position. The interview process is a way for the client to ensure you will fit into the company culture, the team, and the role - they will want to get a feel for your personality, experience, and potential. But it’s also a chance for you to discover if this is a company you want to work for.

Before your Job Interview

Prepare, prepare, prepare. We can’t emphasise this enough. If you choose to use a recruitment agency to help you find your next role, then your consultant will brief you thoroughly on the company and job ahead of your interview. But it’s still vital that you are clear on the following:

  • Where, when, and with whom you are being interviewed.
  • The company, including culture and the role.
  • The clients they have and who their competitors are.
  • Whether it is a new position – if so, why? or, if someone is leaving the position - why?
  • What your expectations for the role are.

Pre-match your skills to the role as this will give you an edge in the interview. Think about relevant examples of how you’ve used your skills during projects you have completed and be prepared to use these when answering competency-based questions.

What can you bring to this company, why do you want to work for them and what are your career objectives? These are all questions you should be asking yourself ahead of the interview.

Interviewers are likely to ask you why you are leaving your current position so be prepared – be positive, negative answers do not generally go down well in an interview situation. Think about any questions you may have about the company. Go beyond the usual and think about whether the information is freely available on their website. 

Our Job interview survival tips:

What to take to your job interview:

  • Pen and notebook in case you need to make notes
  • Your CV to help remind you of talking points
  • Academic certificates and/or work examples if requested
  • Pre task/Presentation if requested (Consider a backup copy in case of technical issues)
  • Photo ID/Passport
  • Breath mints or gum
  • A bottle of water

Dress appropriately for the interview. Even though some companies may have a dress-down policy, it may not be appropriate for you to dress in this way. If you're unsure, the key point to remember is that it's better to be too smart than too casual. Only opt for a more casual outfit if you're certain that's acceptable - if there's any doubt, go for smart business attire. Whatever you choose, make sure that your clothes are ironed and your shoes are clean.

Easy tips for job interview success:

  • Use eye contact and shake hands with a firm, but not knuckle-crushing grip!
  • Try to remain calm and hold your hands still if you have a habit of fidgeting when nervous.
  • Be concise and listen carefully to the interviewer.
  • Be enthusiastic about yourself, your experience, and the position they are offering.
  • Ask questions but wait until the 2nd or 3rd interview to ask questions regarding the specific terms and conditions.

Good questions to ask your interviewer are: 

  • Can you tell me more about the team I would be working in?
  • Can expand more about the day-to-day responsibilities of the role?
  • How could I impress you in the first three months?
  • What does an ideal candidate look like to you?
  • Are there opportunities for training and progression within the role/company?
  • Where do you think the company is headed in the next five years?
  • Can you describe the working culture of the organisation?
  • What do you enjoy about working here?

4 ways to make a good first impression:

As you're preparing for the interview, think about ways you can show yourself in a positive light:

  1. Punctuality - arriving late will increase your stress levels and give the employer a bad first impression, so do your best to arrive in good time.
  2. Positivity and enthusiasm - be polite and professional with any staff you meet before or after the interview and, if you're feeling particularly nervous, remind yourself that the worst thing that could happen is not getting the job. During the interview, respond to questions with positive statements, be enthusiastic about the job and avoid badmouthing your previous employers or university tutors.
  3. Body language - give a firm handshake to your interviewer(s) before and after the session. Once you're seated, sit naturally without slouching in your chair or leaning on the desk. Throughout the interview, remember to smile frequently and maintain eye contact.
  4. Clarity - answer all questions clearly and concisely, evidencing your most relevant skills, experiences and achievements. It's acceptable to pause before answering a difficult question to give yourself thinking time, or asking for clarification if you're unsure what a question means. When answering, don't speak too quickly.

After the Interview

Feedback your thoughts on the company, interview, role etc ASAP to your consultant so that they can work quickly on your behalf. They can share your enthusiasm, or otherwise, about the role to the client to assist the decision-making process. This process obviously runs both ways and you will be informed of any client feedback at the same time.

If you’re not using a recruiter, it’s a thoughtful gesture to send a follow-up email to your contact at the company expressing your thanks for being invited to the interview and how enthusiastic you are about the role.


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