Interview Guide
Make an impact in the interview
Pre-Interview:
  • Make it about them – research their company - how long they have been around, their size, their values
  • Make a good first impression – be neat, professional and exude confidence this will help you to relax and if you are relaxed they will respond well to you
  • Know your key strengths* – don’t script it, it will sound rehearsed
  • Be positive about your weaknesses* – e.g. I know I can be too much of a perfectionist at times but I do acknowledge not everyone is like this

Interview:

  • Sell yourself at this interview* – your key strengths are what make you employable
  • Eye contact – shows your listening is attentive and courteous
  • Always ask questions* – it puts you in control of the interview
  • It’s not always about you – be interested in the employer and it will pay dividends

Post-Interview:

  • Write notes of what you thought went well in the interview
  • Thank those in the room – a thank you email is also a nice gesture

Post-Interview (unsuccessful):

  • Ask for feedback to better improve your interview skills
  • Compare this feedback to your notes and highlight differences
Common Questions at an Interview

1. Tell me about yourself…

  • Focus on your major strengths and strongest skills relevant to the position
  • Summarise your work experience and education, highlight your major achievements
  • Don’t ramble – deliver a brief, snappy pitch about your skills and determination

2. What motivates you?

  • Respond in a way that is relevant to the role and company you are being interviewed for
  • e.g. sales role motivator: competition, reaching goals, surpassing the benchmark
  • e.g. charity organisation motivator: sense of justice, assisting less fortunate

3. Why did you leave your last job?

  • Respond in a positive manner – never slander a previous employer
  • Focus on your goals and aspirations as to why you left – relevant to job interview
  • e.g. you are seeking a role with learning and development or travel opportunities

4. What did you enjoy most about your current/last job?

  • Relevance as always – e.g. highlight how you really enjoyed customer interaction in your previous job
  • Again refer to your key strengths and attributes

5. What do you think this position involves?

  • Think about the wording of the job advertisement – what skills and characteristic the ad referred to, ensure you reflect this in your answer

6. Why do you want this job?

  • Align your values and skills with that of the company – emphasise how your values match the values and ideals of the company
  • Ensure you explain what attracted you to this job

7. What do you believe your key strengths are?

  • Highlight your skills and strengths that are most relevant

8. What do you believe your weaknesses are?

  • Turn a weakness into a positive
  • This is an opportunity to highlight an area you would like to develop and challenge yourself – use it well
  • Keep your answers short because you don’t want to focus on weaknesses

9. Do you work well under pressure?

  • It is best to provide an example of working successfully under pressure
  • e.g. several tasks due on a challenging project and I completed them on time with positive results – opportunity to show organisation skills and working to deadlines
  • Try not to be too enthusiastic – e.g. declaring you love to work under pressure

10. How do you respond to criticism?

  • Accept that you cannot be good at everything – e.g. criticism allows me to learn and grow from my mistakes
  • Learning and developing as a result of criticism, will impress
  • This is a chance to show you are a professional and mature candidate that uses constructive criticism to develop

11. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

  • Focus on your long-term goals but keep your answer relevant
  • Be ambitious and confident – extra responsibilities and advancements, not job titles

12. What are your salary expectations for this role?

  • Do your research on currant salaries for the particular role you are interested in
  • Know the minimum acceptable salary – be prepared to justify your salary request
  • Be mindful of extras that may attract you to accept a lower salary – flexible hours, maternity leave, company vehicle or a bonus scheme

13. Do you have any questions you would like to ask?

  • Have a golden question – one you use at all interviews, keep it in your journal so you can remind yourself before every interview e.g. What is the most important thing you believe someone has to have to excel in this role?
  • Don’t mention salary expectations unless raised by interviewer
Good Questions to Ask

Having prepared adequately with research and observations the following questions may assist you in finding out further information through the interview.

Take this time at the end of the interview to ask a few questions as it shows your interest in the company and the role you are applying for.

  1. I understand that I will be working with a small team. Could you tell me how many people are in the team and how we can contribute to one another’s work?
  2. I have visited your website and I see that you offer internal staff development and training opportunities. What sort of courses and training would be on offer?
  3. My values are very important to me, I noticed on your website and brochure the strong reference to your values. How do you ensure that these values are upheld by all of your employees?
  4. How did this position/role become available?
  5. If I was successful in this role, would opportunities become available where I would be considered for promotion?
  6. How would you best describe the company’s management style, and the kind of employee that ideally fits with your culture?
  7. What specific skills sets and abilities would you expect me to have in order for me to excel in this role?

The above questions show you have researched the company prior and listened during the interview, while others are pressing for more detail into the company, role and your future. This highlights your genuine interest in the company and role you are applying for.