Interview Preparation

The job interview provides a window of opportunity to highlight your skills and experience. Prepare for it thoroughly and well in advance.

Each interview will be different, but it is up to the candidate, with the help of our recruitment consultants, to ensure that they have done everything possible to portray themselves in the best light in the interview.

Interview Preparation

Valuable Interview Preparation Tips

  • Make sure you have researched the company fully. Where appropriate, ask your consultant for any further information on the company or the person interviewing you.
  • Try to time your journey to the interview – a dry run can often be beneficial.
  • Look smart and make sure you are well presented – it is always better to look too smart rather than too casual.
  • Be familiar with your own CV and make sure you take a copy with you. It sounds obvious, but many people forget what they have stated in their own CV and are then embarrassed if the interviewer makes reference to something that catches them out.

During the Interview

There are many unknown factors in the interview itself, which cannot really be prepared for beforehand, but it is the most important part of the recruitment process, so making the right impression is essential!

  • Try to remain calm and confident throughout
  • Try to put yourself across as being as friendly and positive as possible – remember that this is a service industry role and therefore the way in which you interact with the interviewer will represent the way you will deal with people in general
  • Give clear answers that have been well thought through

Likely Interview Questions

  • Why are you leaving your present job?
  • Why do you want this job?
  • What are your strengths?
  • What motivates you?
  • Tell me about your day-to-day tasks?
  • How do you motivate your team?
  • How would your colleagues describe you?
  • What do you think of your current employer?
  • What do you do outside of work?
  • Which position have you enjoyed the most on your CV
  • Where do you see yourself in five year's time?
  • What have been your major achievements in life?
  • What questions do you have for us?

Note that it is common practice for interviewers to ask for specific examples of achievements, so it is good to have a few good examples in mind before the interview takes place.

How To Sell Yourself In A Job Interview

Prepare! Prepare! Prepare! In order to sell your skills and experience to the interviewer, you must research both the company and the job position. In addition, you need to be prepared to answer questions that the interviewer is likely to ask you.

Follow these tips to make the hiring gods choose you:

  • Focus on what makes you immediately productive. Employers don't want to wait for six months before you deliver benefits to them. Concentrate on what you can do for the company, not on what the company can do for you.
  • Present a fitting image for the part you seek. Walk, talk, and look the part. And be confident that you can actually do the job!
  • Being liked is vital. Act confident and be friendly with good eye contact, a strong handshake, and a lot of smiles. If in a comfortable situation, a few exchanging jokes and laughs can be made. But only if you feel the situation has gotten to that stage.
  • Memorise a 1 minute brief about yourself and your skills. Your branding brief should tell your story very quickly. Prepare a longer personal brief of 2 minutes that you customize for each job. This will also show then you have researched their company. You will gain bonus points for this!
  • Master a one-to-two-minute summary about yourself. Almost certainly you will be asked to respond to some version of the "Tell me about yourself" question that is not only about your skills. Memorise a short description of your background (education, experience, and skills) that matches your strengths to the job. Add a sentence or two about your curiosity, commitment, and drive to build on your already good skills base.
  • Don't chatter to fill a silence. You risk nervously blurting out harmful information. Instead, ask a question: "Would you rather hear about my skills in A or B?"
  • Avoid bringing up negatives. It is always difficult to answer the often-asked question, "What would you say are your weaknesses?" Where possible turn potential negatives into positives, for example, "I can tend to overthink things, but I have worked hard at processing information more quickly and have become more decisive." If pressed on why you are leaving your previous job or about previous working relationships, focus on the positive reasons for moving on and avoid trashing your boss or criticising your working environment.
  • Develop a storytelling knack. Prepare short little true stories that support your claims of relevant skills and accomplishments.
  • Ask about the next step. Don't leave without asking when a decision will be made and whether you can call back to check progress on the decision.

Answering Common Job Interview Questions

Interviewers will often ask questions designed to keep candidates on their toes or even to deliberately trip them up! Rather than just setting out to give people a hard time, this is method of ensuring they are receiving honest answers – not just what the candidate thinks they want to hear – or to see how people react under pressure. Below is a list of interview questions that crop up time and again and our advice on how to answer them. Remember, prepare as well as you can!

What is your most memorable accomplishment?

  • Relate an accomplishment directly to the job for which you're interviewing
  • Give details about the accomplishment, as if you're telling a story
  • Describe actual results

Where do you see yourself five years from now? How does this position fit with your long-term career objectives?

  • Say you hope your hard work has moved you appropriately forward on your career track
  • Describe short-term, achievable goals and discuss how they will help you reach your long-term goals
  • Explain how the position you want will help you to reach your goals
  • Strive to show your ambition, but not so much that you threaten the hiring manager

What is your greatest strength?

Anticipate and prepare to discuss up to five strengths, such as:

  • Skill in managing your work schedule
  • Willingness to do extra
  • Ability to learn quickly
  • Proactive in solving problems
  • Team-building
  • Leadership
  • Cool-headed temperament under pressure

Remember to...

  • Discuss only strengths related to the position you want
  • Use specific examples to illustrate. Include statistics and testimonials

What is your greatest weakness?

  • Turn negatives into positives. For example, because of the corrective action you took, you were able to transform a starting point of failure into a success story of strength
  • Balance a weakness with a compensating strength. For example, allow a weakness to be known, but balance that with a strength that makes the weakness disappear. So if you say your weakness is spelling, counter this with, "For that reason, I always spell check and proof everything twice."

Would you rather work with others or alone? How about teams?

  • Discuss your adaptability and flexibility in working with others or alone, as a leader or a follower
  • Give concrete examples
  • Mention the importance of every team member's contribution

What is your definition of success? Or failure?

  • Show that your success is balanced between your professional and personal lives
  • Relate success to the position you want
  • If you have to talk about failure, do so positively. Show how you turned a failure into a success or discuss how and what you learned from the failure
  • Demonstrate that you're a happy person who thinks the world is more good than bad

How do you handle stressful situations?

  • Give examples of how you've dealt with job stress
  • Discuss what you do to relax, refresh and refill
  • Give positive illustrations of how job stress makes you work harder or more efficiently

Is there anything else I should know about you?

  • Discuss any selling points the interview failed to uncover and relate those selling points to the job you want
  • Repeat the selling points you've already discussed and remind the interviewer why you're the best candidate for the job

Why should I hire you?

Your basic answer to this question should relate the work that you've done to the work you're going to do. It covers your unique combination of specific skills, knowledge (including education and training) and experience.

  • Prepare at least three key reasons that show how you're better than the other candidates
  • Use specific examples to illustrate your reasons
  • Tell something unusual or unique about you that will make the interviewer remember you

Interview Checklist

Make sure to use an interview checklist to make sure you are prepped and ready for the interview.

  • Have you reviewed the requirements for this position?
  • Can you identify which of your qualifications are most relevant for this position?
  • Did you research the position, company, and industry?
  • Do you know how people dress where you're interviewing?
  • Is your interviewing outfit clean, pressed and ready to go?
  • Do you know where the interviewing site is located and how long it takes to get there? NEVER be late for the interview! This is often a deal breaker. It is a good idea to leave yourself at least 30 minutes to spare. You can always have a cup of coffee across the street from the interview to kill time
  • Have you memorised a short brief to highlight your best selling points?
  • Have you rehearsed everything, from small talk to answering potentially dangerous questions?
  • Have you practiced answers to anticipated questions?
  • Have you prepared and memorised a list of questions to ask?
  • Have you researched the market salary for the position?
  • Did you gather everything you need? (a copy of your CV, list of references, and samples of your work, if necessary).

Are all the bullet points above checked? Then you're ready to go. Good luck!

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