Preparing for interview success…

The better you have prepared the more confident, competent and relaxed you will be at your interview.

Make sure you know...

The exact time (and you should arrive a little early, 10 mins. is ideal).
The location and how to get there.
The interviewer’s name and title.


Appearance is very important – dress smartly and appropriately typically this will mean:

A dark suit with a pale shirt/ blouse
Clean shoes
Neat hair
Clean hands/ nails.
Clean Shaven etc.

Think ahead...

Take a copy of your CV with you and find out as much as you can about the company beforehand – the internet can be very useful for this.

 - Good research can impress the interviewer with your seriousness about joining the company.
 - What does the potential employer do? Who are their competitors? What are their goals?
 - Think about questions you would like to ask – most interviewers will give time for this and your questions should be relevant and well thought out.

Some examples might be as follow:

 - What does this company value the most and how do you think my work for you will further these values? 
 - What would you like me to achieve in the short and long term?
 - What was the last successful project your team completed?
 - Describe the attributes of the best team member in the team?
 - What's the makeup of the team as far as experience?
 - Are there any concerns you have about my ability to perform this job that I could discuss again now to ensure you are certain I can perform?
 - What are the timescales of this selection process?


The importance of researching your potential employer cannot be over emphasised. Nowadays, with so much information at our fingertips, there is no excuse not to do your homework.

Probably the easiest and quickest way to access up-to-date information is via the internet. Spend some time exploring the company's web site. If you haven't got ready access to the internet, use more traditional methods - visit a business library (where most will offer public internet access) and read through annual reports, visit an internet cafe or call the company and ask for information to be sent out to you.


Interviewers want to get to know you, and they will ask you questions which are designed to reveal your character.

They are looking for qualities such as reliability, initiative, confidence, communication, flexibility and independence. You should try to answer questions fully, but make sure you keep to the point.” Waffling” can be very off-putting to an interviewer.

Often the interviewer will begin by simply asking you to tell them about yourself. For them it is a chance to hear you talk and break the ice. For you it is an opportunity to summarise your qualifications, career and abilities, and emphasise those skills related to the position you are applying for. Most employers are looking to find the positives, not to try and “trip you up”

Your career...

The interviewer may ask you if you are happy with your career so far. You should always give a positive response – they want to know how you view yourself, to gauge your self-esteem and confidence.

You can qualify your answer if you feel, for example, that your career is moving too slowly, but most importantly you want to appear as a positive, successful person.


You want to give the interviewer the sense that you are an achiever. Be ready to describe a fairly recent, work-related example, identifying the skills it demanded and its benefit to the company.

Having work related examples to back-up your statements of capability is important and gives credence to your self-assessment.

Strengths and weaknesses...

You should be able to speak about both in a straightforward and honest way, communicating a good level of self-awareness and objectivity to the interviewer.

You should be prepared to discuss three or four of your strengths, such as technical abilities and personal qualities, and how they could benefit the employer, giving examples.

Speak about a professional weakness that you are taking or have taken steps to overcome – this shows your independence and your willingness to change and improve.

Avoid trivial personal weaknesses. Your weakness may well have been formalised and tackled in a previous appraisal.

Reasons for leaving your current/last job...

You should be prepared with a straight forward and positive response to this question.

Greater challenges, more responsibility, further experience and a change of environment are all good motivations for leaving, and will make a better impression than negative or financial reasons.

Final words...

At the end of the interview you should feel confident that you have communicated all the interviewer needs to know about yourself and your abilities, and have asked any questions you have.

Ask the interviewer what the next step is and be sure that your interest in the role is made clear to them. You should ensure that you understand any reservations that the interviewer may have about you.

Asking them directly how they feel about you demonstrates a high level of ambition and confidence. Most importantly this ensures that any issues which may jeapordise the outcome of the interview are brought out in to the open and can be addressed there and then.

Psychometric and Aptitude Tests...

Interviews may on occasion require candidates to take an aptitude or psychometric test. These types of test are rather less daunting than their titles imply and are best approached in a relaxed manner.

Psychometric tests are structured tests, taken in exam-like conditions, which aim to measure objectively a person's ability, or certain aspects of their personality.

Aptitude and ability tests are designed to assess your logical reasoning or thinking performance. They consist of multiple choice questions and are administered under exam conditions. They are strictly timed and a typical test might allow 30 minutes for 30 or so questions.

If you have concerns with taking these test, use the internet to find a free online practice test, this will help build your confidence before you take the test.

  • Writing an effective CV...
    The perfect CV is the CV that achieves the interview no more, no less. If the CV gets your name on the interview short list it has done its job.... read more

  • Preparing for interview success...
    The better you have prepared the more confident, competent and relaxed you will be at your interview. Make sure you know... The exact time (and you should arrive a little... read more

  • Attending a 'competency based' interview...
    Competency Based or behavioural interviewing is based on the belief that past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour. The interviewer(s) will aim to obtain information about a... read more

  • Resigning from your current job...
    Regardless of the reason in most cases, always try to avoid leaving your current employer on bad terms. There are right and wrong ways to resign, as with everything else... read more

  • Handling a 'counter offer'...
    Counter offers are more common than you might think. Recruiting quality people can be an expensive and time-consuming process for employers and you might unexpectedly find yourself in a bargaining... read more

  • Starting your new job...
    Starting a new job can be a daunting experience. Now, more than ever, it is important to make the right impression. You may be working with these people for some... read more

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