Interview tips

Some of us are confident in an interview situation. Some of us, however capable, dread the thought. There are so many different kinds of interview and, in fact, interviewers. You will need to remember that the interview is a two way meeting. It is the time for them to find out about you and you to find out about the job on offer and the company.


1. It is important to do some preparation before attending an interview. The more you prepare the less likely you will need to think on your feet on the day.

2. Find out as much as you can about the company, the job, the person who will be interviewing you and the culture of the company.

3. Your consultant will be able to help you with a copy of the Job Description and the Company Profile. Your local library or the Internet holds information on UK companies.

4. Employers are usually impressed by people who find out about their services or products, their size, their culture and their reputation.

5. In most cases the employer will already be in possession of your CV. Think about what skills or experience you may have that matches their job description and be prepared to highlight these on the day.

6. Take a copy of your CV, and any certificates or references with you. Not all employers will ask for them but you will be prepared.

7. Plan your route and start off early. Do a dummy run if you are not sure. Should you be delayed in any way, ring your consultant or the company to keep everyone informed. Please notify, if you decide not to go.

8. Please remember, PUNCTUALITY is of key importance. You will probably need 15 minutes to complete an application form.

9. Prepare some relevant questions by using our helpful question guide.

10. Offer precise and detailed answers to questions, highlighting any previous experience of a similar situation. Don't waffle! Be natural, be yourself, be positive and assertive about your replies. Don't criticise your last employer, it makes you look bad. Remember all the preparation in the world will not guarantee your success but it might just help you get the job you want.

11. First impressions count - are you well-groomed with tidy hair, conservative make-up, jewellery, clothes and shoes?

On the day

1. It is worth remembering that different types of companies may accept different standards of dress, e.g. a bank would be very different from a music company. But as a rule of thumb appearances do count and the first few seconds are vital.

2. Be polite to the receptionist and any staff you may meet before your interview as they could influence the decision.

3. Fill in your application form neatly and watch out for spelling errors as some people will judge you by the way you complete this form.

4. When you meet the contact - walk in confidently, shake hands, look them in the eye, smile and introduce yourself and if necessary tell them which position you have come for. Sit when invited.

5. Watch your body language. Your posture is important so sit upright, look keen and interested. Keep control of your hands - touching your hair, fiddling with a pen or a button etc., this can be distracting.

6. Maintain eye contact but do not stare. It is important to smile and look as if you are enjoying the conversation. If they enjoy talking to you they are more likely to want to meet you again. Experienced interviewers will be looking at how you compose yourself.

7. As we stated earlier, an interview is a two way meeting so try not to monopolise the conversation but definitely don't just sit there and say nothing.

8. If they don't tell you the key areas of the job ask so you can show them how your experience matches.

9. Try to show, without overselling the fact, that you have done some research. If you do not understand a point, ask for clarification.

10. The interviewer will be trying to envisage you doing the job, fitting into their culture and interacting with the other team members.

11. Try to remember questions that you have been asked at other interviews. Try to be diplomatic. It is important to consider what is going to make YOU stand out in a crowd. Make sure the employer knows the benefits of employing you. Never smoke - unless invited and even then, this is distracting so try to avoid at all costs.

12. Ask them if there is anything else they need to know. When the interview seems to be drawing to a natural close and all questions seem to have been asked and answered, don't allow an uncomfortable silence to develop.

13. If you are interested in the position, say so. Ask what the next stage is. Ask if the interviewer thinks that you are suitable for that job, stand up, smile, shake hands and thank them for their time.

Questions often asked at interviews

1. Why are you interested in this position? How much do you know about the job you have applied for?

2. What do you like doing best/least in your current position?

3. What do you consider to be your strengths/weaknesses?

4. What skills could you bring to the job?

5. What kind of people do you like to work with or what people do you find it difficult to work with?

6. Do you prefer to work in a team or alone?

7. What do you know about our company? What is your opinion of our company?

8. Can you work under pressure? Describe any incident when you have had to do so.

9. How do you see your future?

10. What was the most responsible duty you carried out in your job? Who did you report to?

11. What is your health record?

12. How would you handle difficult clients/customers?

13. Why did you leave your last position? Why do you want to leave your present company?

14. What salary are you looking for?

15. What are your leisure interests?

16. Why do you want this job?

17. What motivates/de-motivates you?

18. What is your greatest achievement?

19. What is the biggest mistake you have ever made?

20. What did you learn from this?

21. Why have you moved employers a lot?

22. Would you be prepared to relocate?

23. How would employees describe your management style?

24. Why should I employ you in this position?

25. What is the hardest thing that you have had to overcome?

26. What do you want to achieve in the next five years?

27. How do you like to be managed?

Questions that need to be asked at interviews

1. I'd like to know more about the company. Is there a guide?

2. Who will I be working for?

3. Who will I be working with? How many people in the department?

4. Are there promotion prospects - to what post and when?

5. What are the exact hours I'll be working?

6. Are there any periods when business peaks? What effect will this have on the job if any?

7. Are there any training schemes from which I may benefit?

8. What is the exact salary and are there fringe benefits?

9. When is the salary reviewed?

10. What computer system is used?


If you apply the majority of the above tips you will certainly increase your chances of – SUCCESS!

CSI sincerely wish you the best of luck with your career.


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