Without a doubt, the key to a successful interview is preparation. As soon as the interview is arranged, start thinking about your potential new employer, your aspirations and any questions you would like to ask.
Research the company before the interview, visit their website, and use search engines to find information about the company, their sector and the role.
Read the job specification in detail and relate your experience to the role.
Ask your Recruitment Consultant about the interview format and about any extra information they may have about that role and company.
Prepare answers to potential competency based questions - these highlight abilities, skills and behaviours necessary to fulfil that role.
The most important step is to make sure that you're somewhere quiet where you can fully concentrate. Speak confidently and positively, and try not to rush your answers. Prepare notes as you would for a normal face to face interview, and have a copy of your CV so you can make references to it (such as strengths, achievements, work experience and future plans).
FACE TO FACE INTERVIEW:
Dress smart and professionally, but be conservative - less is more in terms of colour, accessories and make-up.
Plan to arrive at least 10-15 minutes before your interview, as this will allow you to avoid any traffic issues and spend a couple of minutes to unwind and relax.
During the interview:
- Ensure your phone is switched off.
- Ensure a firm handshake and a comfortable level of eye contact during the interview.
- Avoid slouching; sit comfortably and stay alert. Do not chew gum. Smile - this tells the interviewer that you are confident and enthusiastic.
- Listen to what is being asked of you and give relevant, concise answers rather than rambling on.
- Give honest answers - don't pretend to know something if you don't!
- Know your CV and achievements inside out and be prepared to answer detailed questions about them.
Remember that this is your chance to showcase yourself. Show off your knowledge of the firm as well as your attributes, experience and enthusiasm.
Typical questions you may be asked:
- How much do you know about the vacancy / company?
- What do you see as the main functions of the vacancy?
- How do you visualise a typical day?
- What interests you about the position?
- What skills or experience do you have that make you right for the position?
- What qualities do you have that make you right for this position?
- What has been your biggest achievement in your career to date?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Give an example of when you coped well under pressure?
- Describe a time when you helped a colleague?
- When have you had an opportunity to show initiative?
- What motivates you?
- How do you motivate yourself?
- What de-motivates you?
- How do you analyse your own performance?
- How do you think that you could improve your own performance?
- What are your long-term goals?
- Why do you wish to leave your current / last job?
- If you could change one aspect of your current / last position, what would that be and why?
- What are you looking for in your next position?
- Choose 5 words to describe yourself?
- What 5 words would your previous boss use to describe you?
- Describe a time when you received negative feedback about your performance?
- Are you considering other vacancies?
Typical questions to ask:
Ask relevant questions that show you are interested but that also prove you have done your research, for example:
- What are the future plans of the company / position?
- Who are your competitors?
- What are the company's growth plans?
- What is the company culture / ethos?
- Ask about training opportunities, promotion, prospects etc.
- Ask for more information about the duties and responsibilities required in the position (If not already covered).
- What is staff retention like?
- Why has the vacancy arisen?
Ask about the interview procedure, whether there is a second or third round of interviews.
Ask plenty of questions that show you are interested in the company and position.