Interview Advice & Questions
First impressions count at every stage of a job application from CV to first interview and you will not often get a second chance.
Remember you are up against competition and the only things that you want to stand out are positives and not negatives. You want to be keen, interested and interesting.
Arrive in plenty of time. Lateness is never excusable. Arriving sweaty and flustered will not be a testament to your organisation and you will already be on the back foot.
Smart suit, clean shoes, firm hand shake, a smile and eye contact will give the interviewer a positive feel.
Briefly glimpse around the office, is there a picture, a certificate, something that you can use to excite a quick question that you can use to create a little informal conversation to relax the mood?
Remember body language is important. You don’t want to be remembered in the post-interview analysis for being too nervous or too over-confident, striking the right balance is important and it does not harm to think about what image you want to project.
Your CV has got you to the initial interview stage, now a large part of the interview will come down to chemistry. Do you fit into the company ethos; are you personable and easy to talk to? What does your body language say about you?
Be a good listener as well as a talker. Do your homework. Go prepared with questions to ask about the company and think about what they are likely to ask you.
If it's an electronics design role make sure you have a sound grasp of the basics and check you are right by revising them, as often these will form the basis of the questions you will be asked.
Think about what you can bring to the company and how your skills dovetail with the company’s needs from the job description.
If it’s a sales role you must know your past figures and present projections and be able to instantly recall these figures because you will be asked for these and for you knowledge of the company’s competitors and their unique selling points.
You are selling yourself to the interviewer so be positive but not arrogant.
Stress your achievements carefully and do not get drawn into appearing boastful.
Ensure you do not fall into the trap of being negative about the company you are leaving.
An interviewer will question why you want to move from your present company. Even if you feel disgruntled, convey the good points about that company. Remember loyalty is an asset that is prized by people and disloyalty is not an impression you want to convey.
Always be honest.
Always concentrate. Even if the interview is going well, make sure you stay alert, it is the relaxed moments that can trip you. Always think about what you are saying, relating it to what you know about the company that is interviewing you, and the job that you will be doing for them.
It is an interviewer’s job to make you relaxed as the conversation flows so do not get lulled into a false sense of security and start talking about some clever little short-cut you have developed.
As the interview ends ask the interviewer how you compare against other candidates. What time scales are they working to? What areas do they feel you are lacking experience in? At least this gives you a chance to reply and maybe put their fears to bed. Don’t ask about salary, holidays, or bonuses at your initial interview.
Let the interviewer know if you are interested in the role and thank them for their time.
Try and get a face to face interview first rather than one on the telephone. In a telephone interview you cannot read the interviewer’s body language so you have to listen very carefully.
The interviewer will be gauging you on your tone of voice and creating their own mental picture of you. You need to convey enthusiasm and professionalism.
Again concentration is key, take the telephone interview in a quiet place where you are not distracted or can get flustered and preferably a place which is technology free. The interviewer will not see the email or text message coming in on your computer but they will notice your attention drop.
Summary of what the interviewer is looking for
- Career planning and objectives.
- Ability to convey information clearly and succinctly
- Good body language - eye contact, and a firm hand shake.
- Politeness and maturity
Typical Interview questions
- Why do you want to work for our company?
- Where do you see your career going and what are your ambitions?
- What do you enjoy most about your current job?
- Can you give an example of where you have managed conflict?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Describe what you have done in your career that demonstrates your initiative?
- Tell me about your 2 main achievements in your last job?
- Describe your personality.
- What does teamwork mean to you?
- Can you relocate?