The Interview

For many applicants the interview process is the most daunting aspect of job hunting. Even though they may have the necessary qualifications, experience and a career record to suit they still may fail to get the job.

2.1 General Preparation and Confidence

The key factors for candidates to remember is that it is essential that they are well prepared and confident. It should be remembered that by being well prepared you generally are more relaxed and confident. Preparation can include

  • knowing exactly where the interview is and who it is with

  • the travel arrangements for getting to the interview and any possible contingency plan

  • doing some homework on the company

  • ensuring that you have any required certificates

  • prepare the clothes that you will wear the night before

  • arrive early for the interview so you can make any last minute arrangements to dress and to revise any items you wish to discuss - but no so early that you have ages to worry about the interview!

  • Only take with you what you actually need - a well organised person at interview indicates a well organised person at work

  • Ensure you know what the appropriate dress code is

2.2  Meeting the employer

The interview is an opportunity not only for the employer to ask everything that they want to know about you but also your opportunity to ask all about their company. Whilst personal non work related questions e.g. hours, holidays etc. are important what will impress the employer more is if you ask questions about their business and the job in detail. If you are applying for a CAD position and can discuss the benefits/disadvantages of their system then this will weigh heavily in your favour.

When you initially meet your interviewers ensure that you give a firm handshake. There is nothing worse than a very limp or slack casual handshake. However remember this is not an opportunity to show the interviewer how strong you are either! Be firm and positive. During the exchange of pleasantries make sure that you are friendly and have a natural smile. Make sure that this is not excessive though.

Some companies will have separate interview with their Human Resources Department. If this is the case save any questions about non job related items to then. If you restrict your interview with the department interviewers to job issues they will be more impressed, especially if they get the impression that your main reason for applying is the job and not the 6 weeks holiday, short hours and high salary!

2.3 Sell Yourself

Remember that you are as important as the job. Your career, experiences and qualifications need to be discussed and you should take every opportunity to highlight your achievements. Do not undersell yourself.

Make sure that achievements in your personal life are also stressed. If you have the drive and determination to reach a goal outside work then this reflects on your likely work ethic.

2.4 Question Time

Interviews can range from very formal interviews before a panel of interviewers to very informal with only one person. A few points to remember:

  • Always look the person in the face when you answer and speak up clearly

  • If the interviewee talks a lot then make sure you give appropriate nods and murmurs to show that you are interested and listening

  • Try to be concise and to the point but do not answer questions with yes or no unless unavoidable

  • If there are questions that you do not know the answer to then tell the interview this

  • Try not to embellish your answers with things that you can not verify

  • Do not run down your current employer; try to use positive reasons for leaving and also positive things about what they do.

  • Some interviewers get stuck themselves. Try and make them more comfortable if there is a period of silence by adding to your last answer.

  • Try and be relaxed! Do not squirm or fidget and try and keep your hands still

  • Save your questions until the interviewer asks you if you have any questions

  • Always thank the interviewer for their time ands trouble and smile and give a firm handshake when you leave

2.5 Your Questions

As previously stated, if the interview is with departmental employees and there is a separate interview with Human Resources try and keep your questions related to work matters. Some questions you may want to ask include:

  • The role and responsibilities of the position

  • What the objectives are for the next few years

  • What support can be given from within the company

  • Opportunities for further training and skill enhancement

  • Possibilities for advancement within the company


So you didn't get the interview in the first place? Was it a poorly written C.V.?



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