Interview Tips

Getting Prepared

Research

Interview Tips

The interview process starts long before you actually meet with the interviewer. For every potential employer, or new manager that you meet, it is extremely important that you gather as much data as possible before your interview. Preparing will make you feel confident and you won’t be nervous if you are asked specific company-related questions.

The information you gather in advance of the meeting will assist you to answer the inevitable question: ‘Why do you want to work here?’

Your advance research may also help you to uncover areas that may be of concern to you that you may need to address during your discussions.

Find out the name and the job title of those who are going to see you.

Making a good impression during an interview is important

Here are ten basic tips to convince a prospective employer that you are the one for the job.

  1. Dress professionally. ‘Professional’ can mean so many things these days. Basically, whether the company’s dress code is formal or casual, make an effort to look presentable and well groomed. It matters.
  2. Location. Make sure you know where the interview is to be held, and how long it will take you to get there.
  3. Punctuality. Be punctual, arriving about ten minutes early is about right. If you arrive too early you may put pressure on those who are to see you. Ten minutes gives you time to relax, to check you’re grooming and a chance to look around the organisation. You can learn a great deal about another organisation by seeing how well you are received. If you have been unavoidably delayed, make sure you let your interviewer know.
  4. Carry an extra copy of your CV with you when attending the interview.
  5. Make eye contact. It shows that you are focused and confident.
  6. Show interest in, and enthusiasm for, the company.
  7. Try to keep your answers down to 60 seconds. You don’t want to be monosyllabic, but long-winded replies will make the employer lose interest and you might lose your own thread.
  8. Listen carefully and answer questions directly. If you are unclear about a question, ask the interviewer to clarify.
  9. Be prepared to discuss how what you’ve done in the past will affect how you’ll perform in a future role. Give examples that demonstrate your value.
  10. Ask questions. Sharp questions will show that you are proactive and want to make sure that this company is the right place for you.

General Interview Question Examples

1. Tell me about yourself.

  • If you have a profile or personal statement at the top of your CV use this as your starting point. 
  • Keep your answer to one or two minutes. Don’t ramble. 

2. What do you know about our company?

  • Research the company’s products, size, reputation, image, goals, problems, management styles, people, skills, history and philosophy. 

3. Why do you want to work for us?

Don’t talk about what you want; first talk about their needs.

  • You can make a definite contribution to specific departmental or company goals. 
  • You want to be part of an exciting forward-moving company. 

4. What can you do for us that someone else can’t?

  • Relate past experiences that represent success in working for your previous employer. 
  • Take about your fresh perspective and the relevant experience you can bring to the company. 
    • Highlight your track record of providing workable solutions. 

5. What do you find the most attractive about this position? 

  • List a couple of attractive factors such as the responsibility the post offers and the opportunity to work with experienced teams that have a reputation for innovation and creativity. 

6. Why should we hire you?

  • Because of knowledge, experience, abilities, and skills. 

7. What do you look for in a job?

  • An opportunity to use skills, to perform and be recognised. 

8. How long would it take you to make a meaningful contribution to our firm?

  • Very quickly – after a couple of weeks getting to know your system and clients and a brief period of adjustment on the learning curve. 
    • Highlight that you’re a quick learner and used to adapting to new situations. 

9. How long would you stay with us?

  • As long as we both feel I’m contributing, achieving, growing etc. 

10. Why are you leaving your present job?

  • Try to give positive reasons. 
  • Give a ‘group’ answer if possible, such as your department was consolidated or eliminated. 

11. Why haven’t you found a new position before now?

  • Finding a job is easy but finding the right job is more difficult. (You are being ‘selective’.) 

12. What other types of jobs or companies are you considering?

  • Keep your answer related to this company’s field. You want to sound focused. 

13. Describe what you feel to be an ideal working environment.

  • Enjoying the role 
  • Seeking job satisfaction / where people are treated as fairly as possible 
  • Working in a team 

14. What do you think of your current boss?

  • Be as positive as you can and explain working with him/her was a learning experience. 

Salary Question Examples

1. How much are you looking for?

  • Answer with a question, i.e., ‘What is the salary range for similar jobs in your company?’ 
  • If they don’t answer, then give a range of what you understand you are worth to be in the marketplace. 

2. How much would you expect, if we offer you this position?

  • Be carefully; the market value of the job may be the key answer. Say something like: ‘My understanding is that a job like the one you are describing may be in the range of…’. 

3. What kind of salary are you worth?

  • Have a specific figure in mind…don’t be hesitant. 

Personality Question Examples

1. What are your interests?

  • Show that you lead a balanced life. For example talk about fishing, football or other activities you do outside work. 

2. How would you describe your own personality?

  • Balanced, personable, comfortable with other people. 

Interviewee Question Examples

Questions you may want to ask – only after there is an established mutual interest. All questions asked should be:

  • Job orientated, until an offer is received. 
  • Used to gain information that will be helpful in answering the interviewer’s questions. 
  1. What is the timetable for filling the position? 
  2. What are the first projects to be addressed? 
  3. What are the major problems to be tackled? 
  4. What are the most important day-to-day responsibilities? 
  5. What personality traits do you consider critical to succeed in this job? 
  6. How would I complement the existing group? 
  7. How often are performance reviews? 
  8. How are outstanding employees recognised? 
  9. To what extent are departmental responsibilities valuable to senior executives? 
  10. How is the company organised? 
  11. What are the company’s short and long range goals? 
  12. How could I influence those goals? 
  13. What benchmarks would be used to measure my effectiveness? 
  14. If I perform well, what new responsibility would I hope to achieve? 
  15. What training and professional development does the company provide? 
  16. What is the company’s mission?