Interview Overview

Interview Overview

Purpose of Interviews

Most employers select people for jobs by giving them an interview. An interview enables an employer to decide whether or not you are suitable for the job on offer. It’s also the perfect chance for you to ask questions and decide whether or not it is the type of job you think you would like.

Preparation is Key

You only get one chance to make a first impression so here are a few useful tips to help you get it right first time. Before going for an interview, do your research. Check out the company’s website or read relevant industry magazines. Knowing about the company and their business will show that you have initiative, drive and are motivated by the company and the job. It will also help you to feel more confident during the interview.

Make sure that you are clear about your own interests and goals. Be prepared to explain why you want the job and why you think you would be suitable. Prepare and anticipate potential questions. This will help you to organise your thoughts and develop good answers. Know your CV inside out and be able to give specific examples to back up the information you have listed. Always treat a second interview or any subsequent interviews in the process as you would the first.

Don’t Leave Home Without:

  • Copy of your Curriculum Vitae
  • References
  • Examination Certificates
  • Change for a parking meter if you’re driving
  • Contact numbers and directions to the company.

The Interview

Remember that it’s perfectly normal to feel nervous about an interview. A certain amount of nerves can even help you perform better. Here are a few things you can do to help you feel more confident and improve your interview skills.

  • Be sure that you read and know your CV in advance of interview
  • Be well prepared – know who you are meeting and the interviewers’ position in the company
  • Research the company – always check their website
  • Arrive early to allow time to compose yourself
  • Dress appropriately – smart/professional
  • Be polite to anyone you meet in the building
  • Create a strong first impression, be polite and self-assured
  • Make eye contact immediately when greeted
  • Politely shake your interviewers hand with a firm grip and a warm smile
  • Wait for the interviewer to invite you to sit down
  • Have an easy non work related topic of conversation ready to discuss
  • Be relaxed but don’t slouch
  • Position yourself so that your body is facing the other person
  • Watch your body language – look the interviewer in the eye and don’t cross your arms
  • Let the interviewer lead the conversation
  • Listen carefully to the questions being asked and ask them to repeat or rephrase the question if you are unclear
  • Be honest and objective whilst answering questions and maintain good eye contact throughout the interview
  • Answer what you have been asked and try not to go off on tangents
  • Do not interrupt the interviewer
  • If you are interested in the position, make sure they know
  • Thank the interviewer for taking the time to meet with you.


  • Answers that are too short
  • Being negative
  • Providing detail or information other than what is required
  • Becoming frustrated or uneasy when asked stressful questions
  • Making derogatory or negative statements about former employers
  • Misrepresenting your skills, experience or educational background
  • Poor body language
  • Using offensive language.

Questions You May Be Asked…

  • Tell me about yourself
  • What do you do in your present position i.e. duties and responsibilities?
  • What do you like about your job?
  • Is there anything in your present job you would prefer not to do?
  • Why do you want to leave your present position?
  • What are your weaknesses/best qualities?
  • How would your immediate supervisor describe you?
  • Where do you see yourself in three years' time?
  • How do you work/interact with others?

Employers should not ask you what salary you require, however, this can be a tricky question, so always ensure you are armed with the current market rate and what your last salary was (if you feel that will give a good indication of your expectations), and a ball park figure of what you would be happy to accept, but always be realistic!

You can also say that using your skills in the role, progression opportunities and looking at the overall package (healthcare, pension, etc.) are important considerations for you, i.e. not just salary.

Questions You Can Ask…

At the end of the interview, you will be given the opportunity to ask additional questions. Develop some that will help you understand the job’s parameters and potential e.g.

  • If I am successful in securing this position what are the 3 most important tasks I need to work on?
  • What training opportunities are available?
  • Do my skills and experience match those needed to fill your vacancy?
  • How would you describe the culture of your organisation?

Closing the Interview

It’s very important to end on a positive note and reiterate your interest in the role, ensure you say something along the lines of ‘I really like what I have heard about the company and I feel this is where I would like to work if given the opportunity. Is there anything I have said today that you’d like clarification on?’ Thank them for meeting you, give a firm handshake with good eye contact and don’t forget to smile!

After the Interview

You may not be told straight away whether or not you have got the job. Other applicants may have to be interviewed or the employer may have to consult other people in the firm before reaching a decision. On the other hand, you may be offered the job on the spot. Do not accept the job if you have no intention of starting it.


While you may think that you are fairly adept at interviews, you will get better with practice. Generally it takes two to three interviews before you become comfortable with answers and you respond in a natural way. It is critical that you are well prepared and practice interviewing skills prior to interviewing for any position that you really want. The more you prepare, the better impression you’ll make on the people you meet and the more you will increase your chances of securing a job offer. If you would like some one-to-one advice before your interview please speak to your consultant.

Best of luck!