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Candidate interview advice and information - How do I prepare for a job interview?

To follow are some simple but proven techniques and methods that may assist you in the process of securing a new job.

Research the company

When a company invites you for an interview research the company and find out all you can about it such as:

  • How long it has been established?
  • What business sectors do they work in?
  • Who are its main competitors?
  • How many people work for the company?
  • Do they have other offices, factories, branches and sites?
  • What is their standing in the marketplace?
  • What is the company vision and mission statement?

Find out as much as you can about the interview in advance

The more you know the more prepared and relaxed you will be during your interview.

  • Make sure you know the interview time, date and place (be sure to google the venue so you know exactly where you are going and can allow the correct amount of travel time factoring in a little extra in case of traffic delays).
  • Who will be interviewing you, will it be more than one person, what is their position/s in the company?
  • What is the interview process?
  • Are there any practical tests?
  • How much time should you allow?

Research the job and prepare to sell yourself

Because you need to sell yourself to the interviewer/company, you must be able to effectively match your skills, qualifications, experience and attributes to the duties and responsibilities of the job on offer. To assist you in this you may find the following sources useful to glean information on what the interviewer/company are after:

  • The job advertisement
  • The recruitment consultant looking to fill the role
  • The job description/specification for the position
  • The better prepared you are the better chance you have of securing the position.

What questions do job interviewers like to ask?

As with many things in life good preparation for a job interview is key to a positive outcome. Below find a list of questions that may be asked during your interview.

  • Tell me a little bit about yourself?
  • What interests you about this position?
  • What do you know about our company?
  • What appeals to you about our company?
  • Why did you choose the degree/or other qualification you did?
  • Why did you leave your last or current employer?
  • What were your key responsibilities in your last role?
  • What did you enjoy most about this role?
  • What did you not enjoy about this role?
  • What motivates you?
  • What demotivates you?
  • What would you list as your strengths?
  • What would you list as your weaknesses?
  • How do you believe your current/last manager would rate/describe you?
  • How do you believe your work colleagues would rate/describe you?
  • Do you believe your last/current employer was/will be sorry to see you leave?
  • What is your biggest achievement in life?
  • What is your biggest mistake in life?
  • What would you do/have done differently?
  • What is the biggest problem you have faced and how did you solve it?
  • How do you like to be managed?
  • How do you handle pressure?
  • Give me an example of when you have been under pressure and how you handled it?
  • Have you ever been criticised for your work?
  • How did you handled, respond to the criticism?
  • How do you deal with conflict in the workplace?
  • How would you describe your management style?
  • How would you rate your technical abilities?
  • Do you consider yourself a team player or an individual?
  • How would you describe yourself?
  • How well do you manage your time?
  • What would you like to be doing in five years’ time?
  • What do you like to do in your spare time?
  • What do you believe you can bring to this company?
  • What are you looking for from your next role?
  • Why should we employ you?
  • What is your current salary package/benefits?
  • What salary package/benefits are you looking for?
  • When can you start?
  • What other companies are you talking to?
  • If we were to make you an offer and your current employer countered it, what would you do?

What questions should I ask at an interview?

You may get asked if you have any questions at the end of an interview.  Having questions prepared will make you seem organised and interested in the job and company.  Here are a few ideas listed below:

  • What is the company structure and who would I report to?
  • How many in the team and how is it structured?
  • Company future plans?
  • Forward workload and competitive challenges faced by the company?
  • How is the company currently performing?
  • What is the reason for the current vacancy?
  • What is the focus of the role they are looking to fill?
  • What are their expectations of the successful applicant?
  • Do they use performance appraisal/success indicators?
  • Are there any training/ on-going development opportunities?
  • Future career enhancement prospects?
  • What is the interviewers own career history with the company?
  • What is the process from here (notification of success, second interviews, reference checking, tests, medical checks, time frames etc?


First impressions

First impressions are exactly that, you never get a second chance to make a first impression!! Remember as soon as the interviewer meets and greets you, they are already assessing you. A poor first impression will have built an obstacle and put you on the back foot before your interview has even commenced.

When you arrive for your interview

Ensure you are well groomed and smarly dressed so you look professional at you interview.  It is also wise to allow plenty of travel time in case of traffic delays.  When you arrive at the company’s premises be aware that your interview effectively starts and you should conduct yourself in a polite, positive. professional manner at all times. Everyone you meet from that point on are part of the organisation you are seeking to join. After you conclude your interview the interviewer may seek their opinions on how you presented yourself while waiting for them to turn up.

Greeting the interviewer/s

As previously mentioned first impressions count. When the interviewer/s approaches you ensure that you:

  • Smile and stand up and greet them in a professional, friendly manner
  • Make eye contact with them and offer a firm handshake
  • Speak confidently and clearly
  • Listen carefully to what the interviewer has to say as there may be some protocols you have to follow.


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