Preparation is the first essential step towards conducting a successful interview. The better prepared you are, the more confident you'll be.
Find out our best interview tips and techniques from what to prepare prior to a job interview, interview dos and dont's, common interview questions and how to close an interview.
Prior to the interview, make sure you know:
- The interviewer's correct title and pronunciation of his or her full name.
- Specific facts about the company - its history, financial position, competitors, products and services. Research the company's website in full.
- Facts and figures about your present or former employer.
During the interview, you will be assessed for your strengths and weaknesses/areas for development. In addition to this, specific personal characteristics will be examined, such as attitude, aptitude, stability, motivation and maturity.
Some interview dos and don'ts to follow:
- DO arrive on time or a few minutes early. Late arrival for a job interview is never excusable.
- DO wait until you are offered a chair before sitting. Sit upright in your chair and look alert and interested at all times.
- DO be as charismatic as possible; it is very important that you demonstrate your interpersonal skills during the interview.
- DO follow the interviewer's leads. Try, however, to obtain a full description of the position and duties it incorporates at an early stage so that you can relay your appropriate background and skills accordingly.
- DO make sure that your good points get across to the interviewer in a concise, factual and sincere manner. Waffle will get you nowhere. Bear in mind that only you can sell yourself and make the interviewer aware of the benefits that you can offer to the organisation.
- DO always conduct yourself as if you are determined to get the job you are discussing. Never close the door on opportunity. It is better to be in a position where you can choose from a number of offers - rather than only one.
- DON'T answer questions with a simple 'yes' or 'no'. Explain yourself whenever possible. Describe those things about yourself that relate to the position on offer.
- DON'T make derogatory remarks about your present or former employers.
- DON'T enquire about salary, holidays, bonuses etc. at the initial interview unless you are positive that the interviewer wants to hire you. You should however, know your market value and be prepared to specify your required salary or range.
Common interview questions
Although no two interviews are alike, there are some common interview questions that you can almost guarantee will be asked. Be sure you can answer the following questions:
- What kind of job are you seeking?
- What is your technical experience?
- Why would you like to work for our company?
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
- What style of management gets the best from you?
- What have you learned from your pas jobs?
- Which job did you enjoy the most and why?
- What have you done that showed initiative in your career?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Prepare some questions to ask the interviewer
Remember that an interview is a two way street. The interviewer will try to determine through questioning whether you are the right person for a specific job. Likewise, you must determine through questioning whether this potential employer will provide the opportunity for career development that you seek.
Closing the interview
If you are interested in the position and want to secure a second interview, make sure to enquire about the next stage and follow up with your interviewer in order to show your continued interest in the job. If the interview offers you the position and you want it, accept on the spot. If you wish for some time to think it over, be courteous and tactful in asking for that time. Set a definite date on which you can provide an answer.
Don't be too discouraged if no definite offer is made nor a specific salary discussed. If you get the impression that the interview is not going very well and you have already been rejected, don't let your discouragement show. Once in a while an interviewer who is genuinely interested in your possibilities may intend to discourage you in order to test your reaction.
Lastly but most importantly, make sure to thank the interviewer for the time spent with you.
Need more interview advice?
Download our free interview guide.