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Job Interview Tips

Interviews need not be frightening

Interviewers with professional employers will not be trying to trip you up. They will simply be trying to encourage you to be yourself. The key to success is preparation!


If you do not prepare for an interview the interviewers will know. Spend time preparing the following points before the big day:

  • Find out as much as you can about the employer. Their website is not enough - check for other references on the internet, in the press or speak to someone who knows the company
  • Plan your journey; ensure you know how to get there and how long it will take and where you are to park. Plan to arrive at least 10 minutes early
  • Make sure you know who your interview is with so you know who to ask for when you arrive
  • Study the job description to remind yourself exactly what the company is seeking
  • Take at least 1 copy of your CV and know your CV inside out as you will be asked questions on it!
  • Think of the answers to questions you could be asked about your CV and how you meet the requirements of job description
  • Consider taking your passport, visa or birth certificate etc, if available, to show you are eligible to work in the UK

Potential questions

There are only 4 key questions at interview:

1. Why have you applied?

2. How competent are you?

3. Do you fit the team culture?

4. Can we afford you?

Of course these questions will be asked in many different ways but be prepared.

To get a step ahead of the competition consider how you might answer the following questions:

  • Tell us about yourself? This part can be rehearsed lasting around 4 minutes but make sure all information is relevant to that job and drawing out the key points you would like them to know
  • What do you know about our business? Make sure you know the structure of the company and the main customers and competitors
  • Why should we appoint you? Focus on the strengths you know they want as stated in the advert. Who you are as a person is as important as your education and experience. Try not to be arrogant whilst trying to be positive
  • What do you feel are your weaknesses? Acknowledge you have weaknesses and always trying to turn them into a strength
  • Why have you applied for this job? Be enthusiastic about the company's reputation, your interest and the skills you have to offer. Why did you leave your previous job? Make sure you are not critical of your previous employer
  • Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years? Be honest but think what impact your answer will have on your success - would you employ someone who says they want to leave in a year or so?
  • What are your remuneration expectations? Be realistic
  • Tell us how you have dealt with a difficult scenario at work or in your private life?
  • What achievements are you most proud of and what do they show about your personality?

The interview

  • Dress smartly - you never get a second chance to make a good first impression- accessories should be kept to a minimum
  • Give a firm handshake, smile, stand up straight and look the interviewers in the eye. Wait to be invited to sit.
  • Show enthusiasm and energy.
  • Think about speaking more slowly at first until you are feeling comfortable.
  • Keep good eye contact throughout.
  • Smile
  • Be honest with your answers and if you really do not understand a question say so
  • Always answer the questions with examples but do not talk to long going off the point
  • Do not criticise your past employers
  • It is good to have a couple of questions about the role and the career prospects - but do not ask about the pay at this stage

Questions to ask at your interview

  • How does this role fit in with the overall structure of the business?
  • What training opportunities do you offer within the company?
  • How will my performance be measured and how often?
  • What would be the priorities for this vacancy in the first three months?
  • When and how will I be informed about the results of the interview?

Key points to remember

  • Many Candidates are not successful when asked for a second interview because they did not prepare as well as they did for the first.
  • If you have a telephone interview do not be lulled into thinking that your interview is just a chat. Make sure it is arranged in advance so that you are in a quiet location where you can concentrate and not in a rowdy pub. Act as professionally as you would in a face to face interview.
  • BEWARE - ensure your Facebook security settings allow only your contacts to see your entries. Photographs of drunken orgies and ill considered comments should not be in the public domain if you are serious about your professional career.