Expert Interview Tips

By Victoria Fellows


You know you need to make a great impression at your interview, but how do you actually do it?

Firstly, the main reasons people fail at an interview are:

  • Failure to be friendly/communicate openly.
  • (Unsuitable appearance by way of clothing/grooming
  • Inability to express views clearly
  • Failure to project self objectively and realistically in the context of the role
  • Failure to show self confidence/enthusiasm
  • Over criticism of former employers/ colleagues
  • Too much evidence of job-hopping.

TIP - Interview questions will generally fall into four main categories (a) Work experience (b) Education (c) Family/home life (d) Current activities/interests and hobbies.

Concentrating on the small details can make the biggest difference.

  • Research the company: its policies, products and financial standing and understand the details of the position for which you are being interviewed.

  • Get a contact name and telephone number and also check the route and journey time.

  • Decide what you are going to wear several days in advance – this allows plenty of time for pressing, polishing etc. Dress should be smart and ‘conform’.

  • Be familiar with what you have written on your application form/CV – take a copy with you, and be prepared to support the statements on your CV with examples.

  • Arrive at the company location in good time and report to the interview at least 10 minutes before the appointment. If you have any delay, telephone the company and advise them.

  • It is essential that you are courteous and professional from the moment you arrive.

  • Check with the receptionist about the correct pronunciation of the interviewer’s name.

  • On entrance to the interview – head up, straight back, smiling face and exude energy.

  • Look the interviewer in the eye and shake hands firmly. Appear interested.

  • Once seated, sit straight, maintain eye contact and try to avoid fidgeting.

  • Understand the context of the interviewer – ie find out their job title and function (they may tell you this without needing to ask questions). If the interview is going well, do not allow your body to relax too much – remain alert and interested in everything that is said.

  • Be positive. For the purposes of the interview, this is the only job you want. Vague expressions of interest are pointless.

  • Respond continually to points being made and present all answers clearly and thoughtfully.

  • Avoid digressing and do not talk too much.

  • You are there because of your CV. Don’t go into great depth about issues/accomplishments not related to the position.

  • Never run down or make negative comments about your present/previous employers/colleagues.

  • Make suggestions as to how the work could be tackled but do not be dictatorial.

  • Obtain a good understanding of what the job entails before discussing salary.

  • If it has not already been made clear by the end of the interview, ask if there is anything lacking in your knowledge/experience which could be a problem.

Good luck!