Prior to Interview
Review your CV – re-acquaint yourself with your CV so you can prepare answers for potential interview questions.
Review job description – review the job description and clarify with your consultant any questions on the role or its responsibilities.
The company – research the company and the interviewers you will be meeting. Good sources include information on their website, recent news stories and people in your network.
Location and Time – ensure you are aware of the exact location and arrive 10 minutes before the interview is due to commence.
Meeting the interviewer – offer a firm hand shake and maintain eye contact.
Dress – confirm the dress code of the organisation and dress accordingly, always err on the side of formality.
Interview Format – Ensure you are aware of the interview format. The most common interview technique is competency based interviewing. The interviewer will focus on specific examples from your previous work experience. Prepare a number of relevant examples so you can clearly articulate specific times that demonstrate your experience and skills. There are other interview formats including psychometric, presentation, case study and panel interviews.
Start of Interview
Confirm the interviewers are the individuals you expected to be present. If there are any unexpected interviewers present make sure you ask their background including job title and role in the company. Ensure regular eye contact is maintained with all interviewers throughout the interview. Engage with all interviewers including any that are quiet, as following the interview everyone will be asked their opinion.
1. Tell me about yourself?
A common way to start an interview, allows you the opportunity to give a concise introduction and overview of your recent work experience.
2. What are your strengths?
Support all answers with specific examples and ensure answers are related to your work experience.
3. What are your weaknesses?
Do not focus on a weakness that could be an important attribute for the role, rather focus on a weakness that can be seen as a positive.
4. Why are you looking to leave your current organisation?
Focus on your desire to progress your career and avoid the temptation to describe any negatives from your current job.
5. Why do you feel you are suited to this role?
Use this question as a chance to confirm you are fully clear on the position. If unsure ask questions to gain clarity before detailing a couple of relevant reasons, supported with examples.
6. How do you cope when working under pressure?
Use a specific example where you had to work in a high pressure environment and how you coped.
7. What do you dislike about your current job?
Avoid the temptation to detail a list of dislikes, rather focus on a positive reason as to why you are looking, for example career progression.
8. Do you work better in a group or as an individual?
This is a good opportunity to highlight positive examples from your recent work experience. Include an example of working within a group and as an individual.
9. What salary are you seeking?
You should be aware of the salary range prior to the interview. Particularly if this question is asked at a first interview stage it is advisable to avoid entering into a detailed conversation regarding salary expectations. Explain that salary is one of your motivations and before being in a position to answer accurately you would like to understand more about the role and the organisation.
10. Professionally where do you see yourself in 3 years time?
Explain that as you are still learning about the company it is difficult to confirm where you see yourself in 3 years time. Explain that currently your focus is on your next career move and joining an organisation that encourages development.
11. How much do you know about us?
Describe their products, market, competitors and any recent positive news articles.
12. What are your interests outside of work?
Detail a couple of interests but ensure it is clear your focus is on work and although you have interests outside of work they do not interfere in any way.
13. How would your current / previous manager describe you?
Give positive examples from a recent appraisal or meeting you have had with your manager.
End of Interview
When preparing for the interview, take the time to think of a number of questions to ask. Example questions include:
What would you expect the successful candidate to achieve in the first 60 days?
What reservations do you have about me?
Can I clarify any answers in more detail?
What is the biggest challenge in this role?
When the interview is concluding confirm next stages and timescales.
If the interview is arranged through a consultant call them after the interview to discuss your feedback. Whether successful or not ensure you receive detailed feedback as it will help you improve your interview technique.