Presentation and Attitude are
the key ingredients in being successful in an Interview.
Research the company you are interviewing
with. Look at their website, study
it. Learn things about the company
- How old is the company? How large is the company?
- What are its products or services?
- Who are its customers?
- Who are its major competitors?
- Have there been recent employee layoffs?
- Where is the company's headquarters located?
- Who are the managers? Research who you are meeting with. Can you find out more about them on LinkedIn or Google?
Practice your answers to sample interview questions. Provide well structured
answers, don’t go off point, and try to stay focused on what was asked.
Confidence and clarity are essential in an interview situation.
Talk to people who work in that particular company – learn as much as you can about
Make sure you read the job description
of the position you are interviewing for thoroughly. If there is no job spec available
try to get an understanding of what the role would entail.
Prepare questions to ask the interviewers as well, remember the interview is a two
Your first impression should just not be good but excellent.
To be successful in interviews you must be able to sell yourself to the interviewers
and remember that your appearance says more about you than you can say about yourself
in the all important first 30 seconds of any interview.
1. Dress Smart -
Grooming and first impressions are always important considerations. Plan what you
will wear in advance. The general rule is to dress formally, but if it is a very
relaxed atmosphere you may prefer smart casual.
2. Body Language -
Research has shown that only 7% of the message we send out is based on the actual
words we use. The rest is down to body language and tone of voice.
Your handshake is very important.
A firm (but not too tight) handshake, coupled with good eye contact and a relaxed
smile will give you a confident start.
Nerves make you slouch so
stand & sit tall and confident.
Don’t cross your arms as
this is frequently seen as a defensive posture or that you are uninterested in the
You can emphasise your seriousness,
interest, and confidence by making eye contact and tilting your head to catch questions,
Remember: Nerves are normal and to
be expected. If you are well prepared it will help you to relax in the interview
Top Interview Tips
Get as much information as
possible on the company - read all the latest news about the company, check out
the web site and try to speak with someone who has worked there.
Prepare answers to a range
of job and skill based questions that you can use
Put yourself in the interviewer's
seat! Try to think of questions that you might pose relating to your particular
If you are asked to bring certificates, references get them
ready well in advance to avoid having to chase around on the morning of the big
Be sure you know the time, date and location of the interview
and the name of interviewers.
Decide how you will
get there and when you need to set off to arrive in good time, anticipating.
Arm yourself with a few questions
for the interviewer showing that you have done your homework about the organisation
and its business.
Check the format of the interview
- it could throw you off if you're presented with a test of some sort that you were
Dress-wise - Keep it simple
Don’t ever make derogatory remarks about your current
or former employers.
Don’t over answer questions – keep your answers focussed.
Don’t let your discouragement show if the interview is
not going as planned.
Don’t get defensive and always remain positive.
Don’t be the first to inquire about salary, holidays or
bonuses during the initial interview.
Don’t appear over-ambitious, and attempt to control over-enthusiasm
that can be interpreted the wrong way.
Don’t appear over concerned with title.
Such an issue can be sorted out once the employer decides that they want
to employ you.
Interview Advice - At the
– Ensure that you go out of your way to be polite to everyone on the day of the
interview. I know of one particular company who seek feedback from their receptionist
about how she found her interaction with applicants attending interview.
Non Verbal Communications –Remember a firm handshake, direct eye contact and
a friendly smile. As the interview progresses ensure that you demonstrate a sincere
interest and enthusiasm for the job. Don’t leave the employer in any doubt about
– Many interviewees fail at interview because they lack focus during the interview.
You have to consider what the client is looking for when answering interview questions.
You Pre-Interview preparation will have covered this aspect but ensure that you
maintain focus at all times.
Answers Brief & Concise – Nerves at interview often mean that we start talking
and find it hard to stop. Keep your answers brief and concise. A short relevant
answer makes more of an impact that a long rambling and irrelevant one.
– This is what differentiates the interviewee at interview. Many interviewees tend
to talk in generalities but this does not convince interviewers. If you “talk the
talk” you have to “walk the walk”. Don’t wait to be asked for examples as this may
not happen. Get into the habit of supporting statements with hard facts.
Listen & Adapt – It is important to pay attention during interview.
Observing the interviewer can provide important clues. Don’t be afraid to clarify
A Positive Attitude – It goes without saying that it is important to maintain
a positive attitude and believe in yourself throughout. Beware of negativity particularly
when relaying information and experiences about previous employers.
A Two Way Process
– You must ask questions at interview. This will come up at the end of interview
normally with most employers asking you if have any questions for them.
Answering “No” sends out the wrong signal. It can give the impression
that you are not really interested in the job or lack confidence and assertiveness.
Use your judgment about the number of questions you ask. Remember that an interview
as a two-way process, you will see it is important for you to find out as much as
possible about the company.
Common Interview Questions:
• What do you know about the company?
• What do you think this job will entail?
• Why do you think you should get this role?
• What do you think you can bring to this role – i.e. what you have to offer?
• What was the best project you worked on and why?
• What was the best team you worked with and why?
• What are your three main strengths?
• What are your main weaknesses?
• Where would like to see yourself in five years time?
• Do work well as part of a team or do you prefer to work alone?
• Have you ever been in a position where you have had people reporting to you? Discuss.
• How do you work under pressure? How
you deal with it? Can you give examples of situations?
• Is travelling and staying away from home an option for you?
• Can you give the reasons for wanting to move jobs/companies?
• What are your professional achievements?
• Do you have any issues with working outside normal working hours?
• Can you communicate well with others? Give an example?
• Do you manage your time effectively?
Have you encountered any big difficulties in the last year? If so how did you overcome
Have you ever had any issues with delegating or not delegating?
What would you describe as the toughest decision you have ever had to make in past
positions? How did you deal with it?
Can you give me an example of where you came across a conflict in the work place?
If so how did you deal with it? What did you learn from it?
Tell me about yourself?
This is usually the opening question and,
as first impressions is key, one of the most important. Keep your answer to less
than five minutes, beginning with an overview of your highest qualification then
running through the jobs you’ve held so far in your career. You can follow the same
structure of your CV, giving examples of achievements and the skills you’ve picked
up along the way. Don’t go into too much detail – your interviewer will probably
take notes and ask for you to expand on any areas where they’d like more information.
If you’re interviewing for your first job since leaving education, focus on the
areas of your studies you most enjoyed and how that has led to you wanting this
What are your strengths?
Pick the three biggest attributes that
you think will get you the job and give examples of how you have used these strengths
in a work situation. They could be tangible skills, such as proficiency in a particular
computer language, or intangible skills such as good man-management. If you’re not
sure where to start, take a look at the job description. There is usually a section
listing candidate requirements, which should give you an idea of what they are looking
What are your weaknesses?
The dreaded question, which is best handled
by picking something that you have made positive steps to redress. For example,
if your IT ability is not at the level it could be, state it as a weakness but tell
the interviewer about training courses or time spent outside work hours you have
used to improve your skills. Your initiative could actually be perceived as a strength.
On no accounts say “I don’t have any weaknesses”, your interviewer won’t believe
you, or “I have a tendency to work too hard”, which is seen as avoiding the question.
Why should we hire you?
What makes you special and where do your
major strengths lie? You should be able to find out what they are looking for from
the job description. “I have a unique combination of strong technical skills and
the ability to build long-term customer relationships” is a good opening sentence,
which can then lead onto a more specific example of something you have done so far
in your career. State your biggest achievement and the benefit it made to the business,
then finish with “Given the opportunity, I could bring this success to your company.”
What are your goals? or Where do you see yourself in five years time?
It’s best to talk about both short-term
and long-term goals. Talk about the kind of job you’d eventually like to do and
the various steps you will need to get there, relating this in some way back to
the position you’re interviewing for. Show the employer you have ambition, and that
you have the determination to make the most of every job you have to get where you
want to be.
Why do you want to work here?
The interviewer is listening for an answer
that indicates you’ve given this some thought. If you’ve prepared for the interview
properly, you should have a good inside knowledge of the company’s values, mission
statement, development plans and products. Use this information to describe how
your goals and ambition matches their company ethos and how you would relish the
opportunity to work for them. Never utter the phrase “I just need a job.”
What are three positive things your last boss would say about you?
This is a great time to brag about yourself
through someone else’s words. Try to include one thing that shows your ability to
do the job, one thing that shows your commitment to the work, and one thing that
shows you are a good person to have in a team. For example, “My boss has told me
that I am the best designer he has ever had. He knows he can always rely on me,
and he likes my sense of humour.”
Why do you want this job?
Stress the positive aspects, which have
attracted you to the particular job in the first place. Think carefully about this
Why should we employ you?
Base your answer on your previous experience
and skills, you can add that there's a good fit between you and your job.
How would you describe yourself?
Don't be modest, be positive. State your
attributes and achievements always relating back to the job.
Do you have many interests outside work?
People pay too little attention to this
question. You can have excellent qualifications work experience etc, however hobbies
and interests can tell the employer even more about you. Interests define whether
you are sociable or solitary, and whether you can take on leadership roles. Remember
the GAA and community involvement may allow you to build up a rapport with the interviewers
– if you get the opportunity make sure you avail of it.
What qualities do you think will be required for this job?
Think outside the box. While the advertisement
may help a little, you should also think of the other qualities that may be required.
These include leadership ability, supervisory skills, communication skills and problem
What do you think you could bring to this role?
Find a quality unique to you. The interviewer
is looking for what you have to offer that would make you the best person for the
What are your greatest strengths?
Talk about specific assets that the employer
desires for the position.
Tell me a about yourself?
For this question you can talk about personal
characteristics and/or skills which transform into career strengths, for example,
you enjoy organising social events.
What did you think of your previous manager(s)?
This question shows your attitude to several
matters. Never speak negatively of anyone
To succeed in business today, we all need to be Team Players
Can you tell me about a
time when you helped a team you were part of achieve its goals?
Can you tell me about a
time there was conflict in a team you were in, what happened and how was it resolved?
Do you prefer to work alone
on a task or with others?
Does anything frustrate
you about working with other people on a daily basis?
Are you a member of any
teams or groups outside work?
Do you have any other questions?
Yes! Have questions prepared. This shows
your interest in the position. Don't ask any questions that were already answered
during the interview as this demonstrates a lack of attention.
Possible Questions to Ask;
When will the hiring decision
Would I be working as part
of a team or on my own?
Do career opportunities
exist within the company?
What are the characteristics
of employees that excel in this position or similar positions?
An interviewer will want to know what motivates you –ways of discovering this are
Would you describe yourself
as self-motivated? If yes, why?
Can you give an example
of a time when you made a suggestion to improve something at work? What happened?
Was it implemented?.
What was the level of supervision
in your last job?
What was your relationship
with your supervisor/manager like?
How would your last manager/
current manager rate your performance and how would you rate it yourself (self awareness)
If I was to ask your last
supervisor or a colleague to describe you, what would they say?
Complied by Collins McNicholas Recruitment & HR Services Group