Preparing for your InterviewInterview Tips Page Image

Preparation, preparation and preparation…….this is the key advice to any candidate who finally secures an interview for their next career move.

The first question often thrown into the interview arena is “What do you know about us?” Any candidate seriously considering a career move to another organisation must fully understand the market in which they are entering, a brief history of the organisation they will be joining and have a clear understanding of how they will fit into the structure and the value they can add to the particular department concerned.

Fully research the company and its products. This information and knowledge may just give you the edge in an interview and with modern communications, there is no excuse not to be fully prepared and up to date on all the current issues affecting the particular business and its market. You can telephone the company and ask for all available literature as well as a copy of the most recent accounts.

Interview techniques

Most organisations will conduct face-to-face interviews with candidates, often augmented by either psychometric, verbal reasoning or aptitude tests.

Interviews can be conducted on a one-to-one basis, by a panel selected from the company or even in a group situation with other potential candidates. If BP Recruitment arranges the interview, your consultant will fully brief and prepare you on what to expect. However, keep an open mind and be prepared to expect the unexpected. A confident, assured approach combined with the knowledge that you have done your research would allow you to attend the meeting in a positive state of mind. Your job is to sell yourself, your background and experience and your future potential to the interviewer.

  • There are a variety of different styles / approaches to interviews but generally it should take the following format:
  • Questioning to establish your abilities and suitability for the job
  • Information in detail on the particular role and the company
  • Opportunity for you to ask questions
  • An indication of what will happen next
  • First Impression

The outcome of many interviews is often determined in the very first few minutes because first impressions are vitally important. Punctuality is crucial so be sure to arrive at least 15 minutes before any scheduled interview time.

Greet the interviewer with a firm handshake and smile. This will help to set a good positive tone for the interview. Most people get nervous before an interview and most interviewers will make allowances for this. However, try to set the tone for the interview by answering as many of the initial questions as fully as possible, which will give you a chance to settle those nerves.

Good presentation is vital. Always dress smartly and in a business fashion and don’t be tempted to dress casually. A dark business suit is always a safe bet for both men and women.

Have a positive posture and do not slouch. Be sure to make eye contact with the interviewer and be sure to keep smiling. The correct use of your voice, eyes and overall posture will go a long way in creating the right impression. Remember that the interviewer is looking for someone who genuinely wants the job.

Speak clearly and concisely. Do not be afraid of silence and take time to think of answers to technical questions rather than saying the first thing that comes into your head. When you do answer, try to show initiative, common sense and imagination.

Answer questions as fully as possible. However, don’t fall into the trap of “waffling” and be aware of the amount of time you are taking in your monologue. Usually, if an interviewer wants more information on a particular subject, they will ask.

Get something from every interview you attend by being positive and always aim for a job offer. Remember, it is easy to reject a position once it is offered to you but very difficult to retrieve an interview should you suddenly realise that it’s exactly the job you are looking for.

Asking Questions

It is important to have some questions prepared prior to the interview. Use these to find out more about the company / industry / market. The more interesting / relevant you make the questions will show the interviewer you are a serious minded individual. Do try and save at least two good questions for the end of the interview. This is not the time to ask about salary, benefits etc. Let your consultant handle these matters.

At the end of the interview

Last impressions are vitally important and the way you leave can often be the way you are remembered. Thank the interviewer for their time and finish with a firm handshake. If you are asked about your interest in the opportunity at this stage, always be positive as it is very difficult to come back from a negative stance.