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Tips for a Successful Interview

You have marketed yourself in your CV, now it is time to talk in-depth about your skills and experience.

The first and most vital thing is creating a good impression. First impressions are lasting.

First impressions are not only in the way we dress or look.

  • The way you act

(this is from the moment you leave home, the person interviewing you may be sitting in the same bus or be parked next to you in the car park)

  • How you handle yourself
  • Your appearance
  • Your attitude

Making a good impression

Dress and Appearance

  • Be clean and tidy both personally and in your dress
  • Dress in a way that is appropriate for the position you are applying for, but always smart, clean and tidy. Looking good at an interview makes you feel comfortable and will boost your confidence.
  • Don’t be tempted to have a quick cigarette to calm your nerves a few minutes prior to walking into the interview or during the interview even if it is informal.

Being on time for an interview

  • If you are catching the bus, check the timetables, catch the earlier bus and have a coffee in the local café.
  • Make sure you have the address and know where you are going. (consider doing a visit prior to the interview)

 During the Interview

  • Stay relaxed, friendly and polite. Most people feel nervous during an interview, it is okay to say you are feeling nervous.
  • If you are being interviewed by more than one person ensure you make eye contact with each person on the panel
  • Try to sit up straight, don’t slouch, smoke, chew gum, wear sunglasses, use slang terms or make negative comments about previous work colleagues or employers during an interview.
  • Listen to the questions, Query any points you are not sure about. Answer the questions thoughtfully
  • Present your skills in a positive way, even if you consider they may be weakness, talk about what you are doing to improve on your weakness.
  • Ask the interviewer questions that you have researched previously.
  • Always thank the interviewer/s for their time.

Body Language

  • Think about the message you body language portrays to the interviewers
  • Sit up straight leaning slightly forward, Don’t sit on the edge of the chair.
  • Eye contact is important, this starts with the initial introductions and continues throughout the interview. Look at the person who is talking or asking questions, answer starting eye contact with that person and then to all your interviewers.
  • Try to appear natural with your hand movements – this reflects you are feeling comfortable during the interview. Don’t over do any gestures


Preparing for the interview

Preparation is essential. It is important to know about the company, the position and how your skills could be used in that company or role. You will also show how keen you are if you can demonstrate you have done some research.

Research the company/organisation

  • What is the public profile, size of company, what are their products and services
  • Use the Internet, business magazines and brochures to find out
  • Do you know anyone who has worked there?

Anticipating questions

  • Review your CV, covering letter and any application forms you have completed
  • If you have a job description., look at the tasks or job competencies outlined, think about questions the employer may be asking.
  • Prepare answers to possible questions, think about a specific situation or example,

Situation- Specific situation that you have been involved in
Action – What you did
Result – what the result or outcome was

  • the interview panel may ask you questions where you need to use the SAR above, eg: how you deal with conflict or difficult situations, how you solve problems,
  • Other questions you may be asked: what are your greatest achievements or accomplishments and what are your goals, what are your career aspirations, why do you want to work for this company?
  • think how your skills and knowledge could be used in the position you are applying for

Being mentally prepared

  • Ensure you know the name of the person you will be meeting and their role in the organisation.
  • You may be asked to take a test before the interview. It may be an aptitude test or a test relevant to the position you are applying for.
  • You may be asked to give a presentation on a subject relevant to the position or organisation. Check that you have access to any equipment, eg overhead projector or white board.
  • You may be asked to take part in group activities with other candidates – to test your team or leadership abilities.
  • There are a number of different ways an interview can be conducted. It can be informal eg a chat in a office or store, formal with a panel of interviewers varying in numbers, You may go through a group interview where they are looking at team work and then be interviewed and tested individually.
  • It is important to be prepared for any scenario and interview style.

Asking questions

  • Ensure you have questions ready to ask. Your research into the company can help
  • Take any physical evidence of your achievements to interviews, such as examples of written work, qualifications or written referees. The Interview panel may ask to see some of these documents.

Lastly good luck with your interview and the preparation

It is a good idea to give your recruitment consultant a call after your interview to let them know how the interview went.  This also helps when the employer calls to discuss the interview your consultant is aware of your interview and your feedback.