Interview Preparation

The key to success in any interview is preparation. If you prepare correctly for your interviews you will give yourself a serious advantage over the competition.

Doing as much research as possible on the company will give you a distinct advantage. Be able to show that you know detail about the company – and in particular aspects that appeal to you. Genuine enthusiasm is much more impressive than years of experience.

Preparing how to answer certain types of questions is as important as preparation on the company (see examples below).

At the Interview

Aim for a relaxed demeanour, friendly and warm – every employer is looking for someone he/she can work with.

As a general rule, always aim to turn negative questioning into a positive response.

CV-based questions

This is your opportunity to flesh out the facts with examples of skills gained and achievements.

You may be asked about education choices or your skills, experience or personal development.

Can you give examples of when you used initiative, successfully worked in a team and/or worked to strict deadlines?

Sample questions

Why have you applied for this vacancy?

You need to demonstrate a genuine interest in this job and that you are not just ‘doing the rounds’.

Why should we employ you?

A tough, direct question, employers are looking for you to show your understanding of the requirements of the job and then match your skills to them, with evidence/examples.

What motivates you?

It is best not to answer this question by simply selling “money”!  Recognition, opportunities for learning, personal development are all good answers.

How would you deal with a difficult customer?

A good answer would be that you would keep an open mind and listen fully to their issues before offering solutions.

What are your strengths?

Examples could include being a quick learner, being able to work well under pressure, good interpersonal skills (give examples from work experience/achievements).

Try to match your strengths to the job requirements – both in terms of technical skills and personal qualities.

What are your weaknesses?

Any ‘weaknesses’ should be turned into strengths by stating you are a quick learner or willing to take up further studying opportunities.

Are you creative or practical?

Rather than choosing one, it is best to try and demonstrate that you have both sets of skills.

Closing interview questions

Do you have any questions for me?

It’s fine to take a list of questions you have prepared – this shows your interest and commitment. This could include asking about the company’s development plans or culture and what makes employees stay with them.

Leave on a positive note, thanking the interviewer for his or her time and then follow up later with an email expressing your interest in the job and saying how much you enjoyed meeting them and finding out more about the company.