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Interview Advice & Tips

Good preparation for your interview takes the pain out of the process!


A winning face-to-face job interview can take you from being a candidate to a new hire. Good preparation for your interview takes the pain out of the process; it will help you to relax, be yourself and excel in the interview – so it really does pay to do your homework.

As you get ready, follow these tips:

  • Know your CV
  • Know your potential employer – do some research
  • Understand commonly used interview styles and questions

Making a strong positive impression:

Succeeding at an interview is more than just giving great answers. Your potential employer will be evaluating your total presentation and performance – not just your verbal responses – before making a decision. Here are some simple things likely to leave a strong positive impression:

  • An interested, balanced approach
  • Open, informative replies
  • Maintaining eye contact
  • A firm handshake
  • Asking intelligent questions about the job
  • Preparation and knowledge of the company and industry
  • Enthusiasm for the role and the organisation
  • Clear thought about your career planning and objectives
  • A positive ‘can-do’ attitude
  • A smile

Here are a few suggestions as to things you might consider doing, or avoiding when at an interview with a future employer.

Often it can be the little things that can make a difference – if the interviewer has several candidates to consider, especially at a similar skill and experience level than the little details might make a key difference.

Do…

  • Plan to arrive on time or a few minutes early. Late arrival for a job interview is never excusable.
  • Greet the interviewer by their first name.
  • Wait until you are offered a chair before sitting. Sit upright and always look alert and interested. Be a good listener as well as a good talker.
  • Smile!
  • Follow the interviewer’s leads but try to get them to describe the position and duties early in the interview so you can relate your background and skills to the position.
  • Make sure you convey your good points factually and sincerely. Keep in mind that you alone can sell yourself to an interviewer. Make them realise why they need you in their organisation.
  • Always conduct yourself as if you are determined to get the job. Never close the door on an opportunity. It is better to be free to choose from a number of jobs rather than only one.

Don’t…

  • Answer questions with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Use the STAR technique (Situation, Task, Action, and Result) wherever possible. Share things about yourself relating to the position.
  • Lie. Always answer questions truthfully, frankly and as concisely as possible.
  • Ever make derogatory remarks about your present or former employers, colleagues or companies.
  • ‘Over-answer’ questions. The interviewer may steer the conversation into politics or economics. It is best to answer the questions honestly, saying no more than is necessary.
  • Let your discouragement show. If you get the impression the interview is not going well and you have already been rejected, don’t show discouragement or alarm. Occasionally an interviewer who is genuinely interested in you may seem to discourage you in order to test your reaction.
  • Ask about salary, bonuses or holidays at the first interview – unless you are positive the employer is interested in hiring you and raises the issue first. However, know your market value and be prepared to specify your required salary or range.

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