Successful Interview Preparation

Interview preparation and research is key to a successful interview, there is nothing worse that meeting a candidate with a great CV but they cannot articulate why they want the role or have not researched the company and what they do.

First Impressions – Body Language Counts

You are on interview as soon as you pull into the car park or walk into the reception area.

  • Present yourself with confidence. Be warm and friendly to the receptionist they are often asked their opinion.
  • Shake hands firmly when introducing yourself to the interviewer and make eye contact.
  • Don’t sit down until you are invited to. If you are being interviewed by more than one person and you have an opportunity to, choose a position that allows you to face all interviewers directly.
  • To demonstrate your enthusiasm and that you are actively listening lean slightly forward on the seat and nod in agreement at appropriate moments and maintain eye contact with the interviewer.
  • Remain alert with good posture – don’t slouch or cross your arms.
  • Be aware of nervous habits – don’t doodle on notes, click a pen, run hands through hair etc.
  • Do not chew gum in interviews
  • Pause before answering questions.
  • Don’t worry about silences from the interviewer they give you time to think.

Make sure you do your Research

  • Make sure you know the nature of the company’s business and when it was established.
  • How many locations they operate from – UK and internationally.
  • How many people they employ.
  • Visit the office location before the interview.
  • Plan where to park and the journey time.
  • Visit their website but also use other sources for information e.g. Search Engines, local press, ask friends and colleagues.
  • Establish what the interview processes will be.
  • Prepare for any assessments

Review the Job Description

  • Read through the job description and your CV
  • Highlight areas in your CV which demonstrate skills and experience required in the job description
  • Make a note of any areas which you feel you do not have specific skills and experience in and know how you would address this if questioned in the interview.
  • Prepare scenarios which demonstrate your skills and experience.

Typical interview questions to be prepared for

Being interviewed is a little like playing a role in play. Rehearse your answers and you will feel more relaxed on the day.

Most Common Questions asked

  • Tell me about yourself?
  • Why do you want to work for …….?
  • Why do you want this job?
  • Why do you want to leave your current job?
  • Which job have you enjoyed the most and why?
  • What don’t you like about your current job?
  • What relevant experience do you have for this position?
  • What motivates you?
  • Do you think ambition is a good thing?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  • What are your strengths & weaknesses?

More in-depth questions

  • What is the most enjoyable aspect of your current job?
  • How would your current line manager describe you?
  • How would the team you manage describe your management style?
  • How do you feel you would adapt to a new working environment?
  • What particular skill do you have that your current employer will miss if you leave their employment?
  • Give an example of how you have dealt with a problem or conflict within the workplace?
  • Is the customer always right?
  • What is the most difficult decision you have had to make?
  • What mistakes have you learnt from and why?
  • Sell me this pen?
  • Why should our company offer you the position?

Prepare questions to ask at the end of the interview

Take a written list of questions with you to the interview.  If the interviewer has answered all your questions you are able to demonstrate that you had given this part of the interview some thought by checking the list.

  • How long have you worked for the company?
  • What is the best thing about working for the company?
  • Can you describe a typical day in the role please?
  • How long would it be before you would expect me to be fully competent in this role?
  • How do you think I would fit into the team?
  • Would it be possible to see where I would be working?
  • Are there any opportunities to progress within the business?
  • Do employees have regular performance reviews/appraisals?
  • Does the company offer training – internal or external?
  • How many people are you interviewing for the position?
  • How long do you envisage it will be before you make a decision?
  • Try and ask one or two questions that are specific to the company/industry sector or job description.

Know the Dress Code

  • Ask the agency what the dress code for the company is
  • Drive by the office when staff will be arriving or leaving

Whatever the dress code a good idea is to “Dress above the Rest” Presentation is always commented upon amongst interviewers – make sure you make a good impression.

Please see our other blogs for information on CV writing, Social media Tips, working with Recruiters and more or follow on Facebook and Twitter for updates.

If you need further assistance or have any questions on this article please feel free to contact us on 01252 734848 or email us at



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