Attending an interview

Great News! You have been invited to attend an interview. It is safe to say that the employer is definitely interested in what you have to offer.

But remember the old adage:

"When you are asked to attend an interview you can consider you have the job. Then you have an hour to talk yourself out of it!"

For some people the whole interview process can be a nerve wracking experience and for others a breeze. Whichever category you feel you fit into there are still many ways to boost your performance on the day and increase your chances of success.

Follow our interview guide to help you through this process - from receipt of invitation through to job offer.

  • The key factors

    • Try to boost your confidence and ensure you perform at your best on the day
    • Teach you how to really sell yourself
    • Secure your dream job and get the salary you deserve
    • Don't forget you can speak to our consultants on 01727 811634 to learn more about how we can help you succeed in you potential opportunity.
  • Interview Preparation

    • Look committed and find out as much as possible about the company.
    • Visit their web site for more information on the company.
    • Read their annual report, which you can get by telephoning them.
    • Read the job description carefully.
    • Make sure you meet all the criteria detailed in the job description.
    • Be confident that you are technically qualified to do the job.
    • Have examples from your previous roles to demonstrate your ability to do this job
    • Confirm Details / Location
    • Write down the interview time and date to enable you to double-check.
    • Ensure that you have the correct address / building number etc.
    • Obtain a map showing the direction / route to the company address.
    • Make sure that you know whom to ask for at the reception desk.
  • Interview Essentials

    • Look your smartest and show your most professional side during the interview. A company is more likely to hire someone who is well presented and who will therefore best represent their company.
    • Arrive on time.
    • Obtain clear directions for the location of the interview and plan your journey, allowing plenty of time to arrive. If you are unavoidably delayed, notify the company immediately giving the reason and your estimated time of arrival.
    • Introduce yourself courteously.
    • Express yourself clearly.
    • Show tact, manners, courtesy, and maturity at every opportunity.
    • Be confident and maintain poise. The ability to handle your nerves during the interview will come across as confidence in your ability to handle the job.
    • Be prepared to show how your experience would benefit the company.
    • Take time to think and construct your answers to questions to avoid rushing into a vague and senseless reply.
    • Demonstrate that you are sufficiently motivated to get the job done well and that you will fit in with the company's organisational structure and the team in which you will work.
    • Anticipate questions you're likely to be asked and have answers prepared in advance. Uncertainty and disorganisation show the interviewer that you are unprepared and unclear what your goals are.
    • Always talk in a positive manner.
    • Maintain eye contact with the interviewer.
    • Be assertive without being aggressive.
    • Thank the interviewer.
  • Interview Pitfalls

    • During the interview ensure that you do not allow the following to happen:
    • Be late for the interview. Tardiness is a sign of irresponsibility or disorganisation and the employer could take it as what to expect in the future.
    • Arrive unprepared for the interview.
    • Say unfavourable things about previous employers.
    • Make excuses for failings.
    • Give vague responses to questions.
    • Show lack of career planning - no goals or purpose could convey the impression you're merely shopping around or only want the job for a short time.
    • Show too much concern about rapid advancement.
    • Overemphasise money. Your interviewing goal is to sell yourself to the interviewer and to get an offer of employment. Salary discussion is secondary.
    • Refuse to travel and/or relocate. Always be open for discussion concerning travel and relocation. The employer may be talking about future plans, not present.
    • Show any reservations you may have about the role/company. You can always turn down second interviews and job offers after you have had time to appraise your concerns in the cold light of day.
    • Leave your mobile phone on during the interview
  • Top questions asked at Interviews

    Top questions asked at interview, and how candidates should answer them to impress

    "Why do you want to work for us?"
    Explain why you see the company as an attractive employer. Financial package should never be given as a reason, but think about things like the company culture, training program, company structure, the ability to cross-train into different technologies, or the company's ethic. Obviously these need to be relevant and well researched.

    "Where do you see yourself in five years' time?"
    Think about where you really want to be within a company: in a lead role with a team under you; or a lead consultant; or a director of the company. Be ambitious but realistic and have direction in your answers. Do not say " I would like to be in your position".

    "What are your strengths and weaknesses?"
    Talk specifically about the positive things you've achieved to illustrate your strengths rather than generalising and make them relevant to the role you are going for. Try to show your weaknesses in a positive light and give examples of where you have addressed and overcome your weaknesses.

    "Why did you apply for this job?"
    The candidate should be careful not to mention a desire for promotion or money. They should really focus on the actual content of the job, referring to the possibility of learning, new challenges, or the prospect of putting their previous experience to work in a new role. They should always provide examples with their answer, rather than just simply stating 'I'm ready for the next step.'

    "Why should we hire you?"

    Many companies will ask the candidate to sell him or herself using their strengths. Prepare a list of your strengths beforehand and think about how they relate to the job. I would advise people not to be modest and to only speak about their weaknesses if they are asked directly. Of course you should avoid being arrogant as much as possible, but arrogance comes across in body language more than anything else.

    "What are your major achievements in terms of your career, education and life to date?"

    Achievement means different things to different people. It's not so much the actual achievement that's important in a candidate's answer, but the way you present it. This question always provides a good indication of a person's level of self-awareness.

    "What motivates or drives you?"

    For some people this could be learning or work/life balance, for others it could be money or professional acceleration. The answer really tells the interviewer about what makes someone tick. Not everyone wants to be a board director, and an interviewer isn't necessarily going to see it as a weakness if you don't. It's important to be honest.

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