Interview tips

We know that going to an interview can be a daunting experience. Therefore at Aspire we have put together this guide to help you prepare.

Remember we are here to help you!  So whether your think it’s a stupid question or you want more clarification on something just pick up the phone and ask us.

If we have arranged the interview for you and something happens and you can’t make it – make sure you pick up the phone and let us know.  If you are on your way and stuck in traffic, call us.  It will stand you (and us!) in a good light with the client and is after all, only courteous and professional.

Being prepared will make you feel more confident.  Remember this is your chance to prove to the interviewer that you are the right person for the job.  First impressions really do count.

Also remember Employers are becoming more “savvy” and will often search for you prior to interviewing you on social networking sites such as Facebook so don’t put anything on there you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see!

Click here to download our printable “Interview Tips” PDF

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BEFORE THE INTERVIEW

  • Do your “homework”.   Know a bit about the company, what they do? What their philosophy is? Also be familiar with the job description, as you may be questioned on it.
  • Know your own CV you will be asked questions about it. If there are time gaps in your CV are you prepared to explain these to the interviewer.
  • Prepare your outfit. A suit would be appropriate. Make sure hair is clean and tidy and shoes are not scuffed and are polished.
  • Plan your route to the interview, and allow plenty of time to get there (you don’t want to be late!). Research the parking – do you need change for a pay and display?  You don’t want to be caught out at the last minute.
  • Make sure you know the names of the people or person interviewing you and their position(s)
  • Don’t smoke on the way to your interview – the smell lingers!
  • Turn your mobile phone off
  • The interview process starts as soon as you enter the building so remember to be friendly and smile particularly to the receptionist!

THE INTERVIEW

  • Greet the interviewer standing up straight and smiling, and then give your interviewer a firm handshake.
  • Show a keen interest in the job. You should try to show interest in the job by asking the interviewer a few questions, such as;
    • “What training do you provide?”
    • “Whom will I be reporting to?”
    • “What databases or IT systems do you use?”
  • Speak clearly and calmly, try not to get flustered.
  • Keep answers to the point, try not to get sidetracked. Although avoid answering just yes or no.
  • Be honest in the interview. There is no point lying about your skills or background.   If you don’t know the answers to a question then say so.
  • Don’t be negative or criticise previous employers, it’s not professional.
  • During the interview, look attentive, maintain eye contact with everyone present and do not slouch. Before leaving the interview, ask the interviewer when they are expecting to make a decision or when you will be asked back for a 2nd interview. Let the employer know you are interested.
  • As you leave the interview it is good to reiterate your interest in the position, and then shake hands with all present.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  1. Tell me about yourself. Make sure you positively introduce yourself and your achievements.
  2. What do you know about us?
  3. Describe your present duties and responsibilities?
  4. Why do you want this particular job?
  5. How would you describe yourself?
  6. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  7. Why do you want to leave your current employer?
  8. What is your current pay package?
  9. What are your strong/weak points?

SOME POSSIBLE QUESTIONS TO ASK THE INTERVIEWER

  1. Can you tell me more about the company?
  2. Can you describe my area of responsibility?
  3. Why has this position become available?
  4. Who will I report to?
  5. Can you show me where I will be working? (Better on a second interview)
  6. Are there any times when the company/department is busier?
  7. What are my promotional prospects?
  8. Do you run any training schemes?
  9. What hours will I be working?
  10. Do you have any other branches/offices?

Obviously do not ask all these questions, just select a few which are relevant and
you feel comfortable asking.

HANDLING DIFFICULT TOPICS OR QUESTIONS

 

There may be aspects of your career that present obstacles to employment if you do not handle them properly.  Even the most common causes of concern for employers can be turned into positives.

 

You were dismissed from your last job

When you discuss this at your interview provide emotionally neutral answers, do not become guarded or aggressive when questioned about this. Always be sure to include lessons you have learnt from this which could benefit your next employer.

You were made redundant at your last job

Most interviewers are aware that redundancy is an unfortunate business requirement in most companies these days, emphasise that the redundancy was unrelated to you as a person and an

employee. This is a great chance to show that you can make the best of every situation and remain positive at all times.  Look at the redundancy as an opportunity to go and find a better job.

You don’t have enough experience

Try to identify skills and experience that you can transfer to a new company or which may help to convince the interviewer of your ability to the job and remember, they invited you in for an interview so they must believe that you are capable of doing the job.

AFTER THE INTERVIEW

  • If the interview was arranged through a recruitment agency, call your agency to give them your feedback on how the interview went.
  • If possible, write a letter of thanks to your interviewer, thanking them for their time and reaffirming your interest in the position.

SUMMARY

  • Always be yourself in an interview situation, as a good interviewer will see through a performance
  • All the preparation in the world will not guarantee you a job, but it will give you an advantage over those candidates that haven’t prepared.
  • If you are not successful always ask for feedback as this can be used constructively to help you improve your success for future interviews.

GOOD LUCK!