Interview Techniques

1. Preparing for the interview

• Research and find out as much as possible about the company

• Look at the company website or get a copy of the company literature

• Have prepared an up to date copy of your CV to take with you

• Other relevant information may impress the interviewer i.e. Training Certificates, Record of Achievements and excellent References from previous employers look good

• Make sure you have a clear understanding of the job description

• Be confident you are qualified for the position

• Prepare yourself with questions the interviewer may ask, and have answers ready in advance.

2. The Interview

• Always dress smart, preferably in a suit

• Arrive on time, try and plan your journey beforehand. If you are delayed, notify the company immediately, explaining the delay and estimated time of arrival

• Introduce yourself with confidence and courtesy. Ensure a firm handshake

• You need to listen very carefully to questions. Make sure you understand the questions before you answer

• Speak clearly and do not give yes/no answers only. Give your answers and support them with relevant experience from past jobs

• Always try to offer positive answers, show them that you are motivated to get the job done well

• Don’t be negative about your past companies or jobs, and don’t put blame on others

• Ask lots of questions during the interview

• Ask questions about the actual job and questions about the company. This will impress the interviewer and show that you are enthusiastic

• Don’t over emphasise on salary, your goal is to sell yourself and get an offer of employment. Talking about money will come secondary

• Turn your mobile phone off during the interview

• Show confidence, courtesy and tact throughout the interview

• Thank the interviewer and say you “look forward to hearing from them”.

3. Interview questions

Here are some common questions that employers may ask:

Tell me about yourself and what you have been doing?

The employer wants to hear about your career history, your skills and qualifications.

What aspects of your job do you enjoy?

The employer wants to find out if you enjoy the things the job has to offer, try and match the duties you enjoy with the duties the position offers.

Why do you want to leave your current position?

The employer is trying to understand your reasons for leaving. Be positive, and tell them it’s for career development, more experience, new challenge, change of environment etc. Never mention the fact it could be for more money and don’t be negative about your previous employers.

Why do you think you will be good for this position?

The employer is finding out whether you have the right skills, experience and personality for the role. Give evidence of past experiences, tell them what you would enjoy about this role and what you could offer the position and company.

What do you know about the company?

The employer is testing to see if you have researched the company. If you have, this will show them you have initiative, are eager and have an interest in the company.

Where do you see yourself in 3 years?

They are looking to see where your goals lie, and whether you are likely to stay with the company. It’s always a good idea to advise them you want to stay and progress with the same company, and maybe a step up the ladder.

How do you cope under pressure?

The employer is finding out how you cope in a busy or pressured situation. Give positive examples of past experiences when you came up against deadlines or pressurised situations and how you overcame them.

What are your greatest strengths?

This is a common question, so be prepared. Get used to saying 3 or 4 positive strengths you have, for example, how you work with your colleagues, your ability to pick things up quickly, your computer skills, positive attitude, flexibility or reliability etc. Try and match up your strengths that would fit in with this position.

What are your weaknesses?

Again, another common question, but a difficult one. The employer is trying to find out if you have any weaknesses that would affect this role. Don’t just say you have none. Have at least one weakness that you can turn into a positive, for example, lack of computer skills, but willing to learn and the ability to pick things up quickly.

What has been your greatest achievement to date?

The employer is saying are you an achiever? Identify an experience, it could be work related, it may not. Advise what skills you used and what benefits came from it.

Other questions that may be asked:

How would your work colleagues describe you?

How would your boss describe you?

How do you prioritise your workload?

What would you do if a colleague in your team wasn’t pulling their weight?

What areas of your skills do you want to improve?

How do you measure your own work performance?

What is your biggest problem you have had to face recently?

What keeps you positive and motivated?

4. Questions to ask the interviewer

It’s a good idea to ask some questions about the actual job and some about the company, here are a few:

What will be my main responsibilities?

What is the team like?

Who will I be responsible to?

How has the position become vacant?

Could you tell me what the training and development will be like?

What computer systems do you use?

Is the company still growing?

Is this the head office?

Who are your competitors?

When would you want me to start?