Interview Techniques

Your application has been successful and now you have an interview. Well done. Now you will need to prepare systematically to give yourself the best chance of success.

Pre interview

You will need to consider the following;

  • What further research do you need to do so that you can answer questions about the company or the post?

You will have researched the company for your application, but see what else you can find out about them, and think about why you want to work for them?

  • Do you know your CV really well as you will be asked questions about what you have written?

Interviewers will often cross check the information in your application form and CV with your responses in interview.  Make sure you are able to answer any questions.

  • Are you clear about the form the interview will take?

Interviews can take different forms. Look at your invitation to your interview. Does it make it clear what type of interview it is? Is it an interview panel? Has it got a test or practical skills element?  Is there a role play element? Some interviews comprise of an element where you show what you can do.

  • Check where the interview is, how long it will take you to get there and how much contingency time do you need to allow for travel problems.

Allow enough time to get to an interview, find the right room and catch your breath before starting. Lateness is never a good start and will not impress an employer.

  • Is it expected that you will visit the company or organisation before your interview?

Some businesses and organisations expect you to visit, either before applying or before the interview to be shown around. Factor in this time.

  • Think about what general or specific interview questions are you likely to be asked?

Research the kind of questions the employer might ask. Many interview questions are about your competency to do the job so make sure you have thought about examples from your experience so you can demonstrate this.

  • Is there someone you know who will give you a mock interview and feedback to you afterwards?

If you are unfamiliar with interviews, ask someone if they would give you a mock interview. Try and find someone who has been an interviewer, or has been interviewed and can talk you through the process. This way you experience the kind of questions you might be asked and have time to think about how you respond.

  • What are you going to wear to create the best impression?

What you wear says a lot about you so make the best impression immediately. Don’t ignore the impact of the shoes you wear or the bag you carry. What does the employer expect you to be wearing?

  • Personal presentation

In addition to what you wear, think about other aspects of personal hygiene like hair, makeup, teeth, breath, nails, body odour, etc.  All these aspects help inform an impression and you want yours to be as positive as possible. For example, don’t overuse aftershave and perfume, this is an interview not a night out!

  • What strategies do you know to calm your nerves?

Google some of the strategies and choose what’s best for you. One tried and tested one is just to practice taking a couple of deep breaths and gathering your thoughts before speaking.  

  • Have you prepared any questions to ask the interviewer?

Interviews will often finish with the interviewer asking if you have any questions for them. Do your research and be well prepared with some questions about the company or the job role. However it maybe something you want to clarify from the interview or a matter that hasn’t been covered.

At the Interview

The planning and preparation you have done will now make you feel more at ease. Remember that your interview really starts as soon as you arrive as you are making an impression from that point.  Remember,

  • Be polite.

  • Smile. It helps develop positive relationships quickly and will reflect a positive attitude.

  • Shake hands with the right amount of pressure (Not limply or with a vice like grip)

  • Eye contact is really important.

  • Confidence comes with good preparation, but avoid coming over as arrogant.

  • Speak clearly and be positive.

  • If you are unsure of a question, ask for it to be repeated or ask if your understanding of it is correct before you answer.

At the end of the interview, thank the interviewers for the opportunity of speaking to them.

After an Interview

Hopefully you will have got the job. However, if you are unsuccessful and there is some opportunity for feedback, do take it. Find out why you were unsuccessful and learn from any points for the next time.