Interview tips

The key to doing well at interviews is preparation. The interviewer is looking to assess your strengths and weaknesses in relation to the role they are trying to fill. You must go to the meeting armed with as much information as possible regarding the organisation concerned.

  • Make sure you know the exact location and time of the meeting, as well as the full name of the interviewer and their position in the company. Allow more time than you think you need to get there – arriving late is an absolute no-no.
  • Dress smartly. It is expected in most cases. Avoid casual dress even if you know it to be the company policy. It is not appropriate at an interview.
  • The initial greeting with your interviewer is important. Look him or her in the eye, smile, shake hands firmly and wait to be offered a seat.
  • Before the day, research the company on the web, including its products, services and offices. You will need to formulate some pertinent and intelligent questions regarding their future plans. In addition to impressing the interviewer this is the best way to find out what the career potential is for you personally if you go to work there.
  • Refresh your mind about your own career history to date – you will be expected to talk this through with the interviewer in a confident and concise fashion. Never make any derogatory remarks about your current or former employers.
  • Try to be confident and articulate. Remember there is a balance between not talking enough and talking too much. Make sure you stick to answering the question you have been asked - constantly digressing is unlikely to be viewed positively. Do your best to come across as sincere and enthusiastic to be offered the role.
  • Try not to let the interviewer put you off your own performance if the discussion doesn't seem to be going very well. There are interviewers who will try to discourage you as a tactic purely to see how you react.
  • For permanent roles try to avoid raising the salary or overall package issue at the first interview unless the interviewer chooses to raise it. If they do, then you need to have carefully thought through your response in terms of understanding your market value and not pricing yourself out of consideration.
  • For a contract role you are pursuing via a recruitment company you should not discuss the rate/money issue at all with the interviewer. This is part of the agents role in the process, so if your interviewer raises it then refer he or she back to the recruiter you have been dealing with.