The information below is designed to help you understand, prepare and execute a job interview so that you can maximise your chances of success.
- Plan to arrive a few minutes early for an interview. If you do feel you might be late, endeavour to make the interviewer aware
- Greet the interviewer by their name, ensuring that you know the correct pronunciation and shake hands firmly
- Wait to be offered a seat
- Maintain good eye contact, look interested and be a good listener
- Try to ascertain quickly the key requirements of the role so you might highlight your relevant skills and practical experience
- Convey your thoughts with clarity and in a factual and sincere manner
- Appear determined to get the job. Even if the role does not appear ideal, do not close the door on the opportunity. It is always better to choose the right job for you from a selection of roles rather than only one and the employer may cross-sell you internally to a more suitable opportunity
- Never lie; your past has a knack of catching up with you
- Don’t “waffle” or be controversial. Answer questions as concisely as possible and try to steer away from emotive topics such as politics and religion
- If you have an interest in the position, enquire about the next stage of the process
- If you are offered the position by the interviewer and you feel you need time to consider the opportunity, be polite and tactful and arrange a set date/time that you can provide an answer. If the role is right for you, then you can accept the verbal offer
- On conclusion of the meeting, it is always polite to thank the interviewer for their time
- Always call the Consultant you are dealing with at Ortus after the interview and give them detailed feedback
Preparation is vital for a successful interview. It may help to jot down a few notes to formalise your thoughts prior to a meeting; it will help you to remember key facts, such as major accomplishments and serious questions or concerns.
We have outlined some headings that may help you:
- The basics (often forgotten):
- Day, date and time
- Name of interviewer and business title
- Company name
- How will you get there?
- Your major achievements - work related and non-word related
- Your management or work style
- Things the interviewer needs to know about you
- Reasons you left your last job and want to leave current job
- Your strengths
- Your weaknesses
- The value you can add to this role
- Questions to ask the interviewer*
It is important to do some homework and find out some facts about your current, former and potential employer so that you appear to have a genuine interest in your chosen career. Good sources of information are:
- Annual Reports
- Company Websites
* In most interviews, you will be offered the opportunity to ask questions at the end of the meeting. Enthusiasm is key, so ask the interviewer questions and try to turn the interview around. Always prepare questions to ask, not doing this may send the message that you have no independent thought process. Do not ask questions that are directly answered on the employer’s website and/or any literature provided in advance of the meeting. This would simply reveal that you have not prepared for the interview and that you are wasting the interviewer’s time.
If you are having trouble developing questions then consider the following as food for thought. However, don’t ask a question if you are not truly interested in the answer - it will appear obvious to the interviewer.
- Where are the company’s strengths and weaknesses compared to its competition?
- Could you explain the organisational structure?
- How will my responsibilities and performance be measured? By whom?
- What are the KPIs for this position?
- What are the day-to-day responsibilities of this job?
- What will be the key projects I will be involved in?
- What is the short and long term strategy of the company? How will this position fit into this strategy and where can I influence this?
- Could you describe your company’s style and type of employee who fits well with it?
- What is the working atmosphere and culture of the company and team?
- What are some of the skills necessary for someone to succeed in this job?
- What is the company’s policy on training?
- Will there be opportunities for career progression in the company?
- What particular computer systems and software do you use?
- How much opportunity is there to see the end result of my efforts?
- How much opportunity will I have for decision-making?
- Can you describe an ideal employee?
- What is the policy on transfer overseas?
Never ask about salary or benefits until the interviewer raises those subjects.
It is important to remember that you will be assessed throughout the whole process and that negative aspects as well as positive factors will build the complete picture of you in the interviewer’s mind.
An interview is a very short period in which to make a positive impact so we have detailed some of the most common mistakes made by candidates.
- Poor personal appearance
- Lack of interest and enthusiasm: passive and indifferent
- Over emphasis on money
- Condemnation of past employers
- Failure to maintain eye contact when conversing
- Limp handshake
- Unwillingness to relocate
- Late arrival at interview
- Failure to express appreciation of interviewer’s time
- Failure to ask sensible questions about the job
- Indefinite response to questions
- Overbearing, over aggressive, conceited with superiority or “know it all” complex
- Inability to express self clearly: poor voice, diction, grammar
- Lack of planning for career: no purpose and goals
- Lack of confidence and poise
- Expectations set too high
- Makes excuses, evasive
- Lack of tact, courtesy, maturity, or vitality
- Coming across as “shopping around”
- Lack of demonstrable interest in the company/industry
- Low moral standards
- Intolerant: strong prejudices
- Narrow interests
- Inability to take criticism
- Lack of preparation
Common Interview Questions
We recommend that you study a job description closely to highlight the key skills required, as your knowledge of these will be specifically tested in the meeting.
Please click on the following links for a sample of the subjects you could be asked but may be phrased in a variety of ways.