Interview Tips

    Whether you are a corporate individual, a new graduate or a returnee to work, we can assist you with your interview training.

    The majority of candidates who present themselves for interview, lack interview preparation and interview skills training. Approx 80% of the interview is based on your body language, attitude, facial expression, confidence and eye contact. The remaining 20% is based on you handle the interview.

    We will go through the do’s and don’ts of interview techniques. We tailor it according to the level of position and industry you are interviewing with.

    This includes one to one, one hour sessions with our consultant that will cover:

    • CV Analysis & Improvement
    • Frequently asked Questions
    • How to handle closed, general & pressure questions
    • Interview Rehearsal
    • Body language analysis
    • Feedback on performance
    • Points to address
    • Communication skills
    • Addressing nerves and stress
    • Video of interview rehearsal (optional)

    We will give you honest feed back in your one to one session in areas you may not have realised were weak when in interview.

    Investing in interview skills in this market is essential if you want to secure the position or promotion of your choice.

    You have a warm engaging personality Yes/No

    1. You are able to maintain eye contact, without engaging in a staring competition Yes/No
    2. Your body language exudes a quiet confidence, not an ‘I want your job’ confidence Yes/No
    3. Your personal history is articulated to show what a clever, directed and consistent life you have led to this point Yes/No
    4. Any of your mysterious gaps or failings in your history can be cleared up, in a beneficial way, to discourage doubts by the interviewer Yes/No
    5. You can answer every question put to you in the way your interviewer is looking for and wants to hear Yes/No
    6. Your own questions are researched and prepared to engage your interviewer to show how much you know about the company Yes/No
    7. You respond to any trick questions with intelligence Yes/No
    8. You maintain professionalism and close out on the interview perfectly Yes/No
    9. You follow your chosen company’s recruitment process rules Yes/No

    Things not to do at an Interview!

    What NOT to do at Interview:


    1 – Arrive unprepared

    Nothing looks worse than someone who knows nothing about the company. If you have to ask the interview panel to remind you of what the position was then you’re in trouble.


    Tip: You don’t have to know the names of every member of the company, but make an effort to get to know some keys names, read some recent articles and check out their website. If you can, talk to someone who already works there so you can get a feel for what the company is about.


    2 – Dress inappropriately

    Arriving in skintight jeans and the latest handbag won’t do, nor will other inappropriate attire, such as mini skirts, combats, cords, or tracksuits etc. You may look good for heading out on a Saturday night but you won’t be taken seriously in the corporate world.


    Tip : You don’t have to spend a fortune to look good, a basic suit with some simple accessorising and careful makeup with a good pair of shoes for the ladies and for the men, a basic suit with a clean, ironed shirt and tie. Simple, but so effective in giving the essential first impression.


    3 – Give a limp handshake.

    A handshake says a lot about a person.

    Tip: If you give a firm, strong handshake (without cutting off the blood supply) then that’s the type of person that you come across as. If you give a weak, wet one then the same applies. Even if you don’t feel strong and confident, play a role, act it out. Practise it a few times in the week coming up to the interview and it will come more naturally.



    4 – Look at the floor.

    Even if you give the best handshake in the world but seem to find the floor more interesting, you’ve lost your audience.


    Tip: Every time you’re asked a question meet the gaze of each person on the panel in turn. You don’t have to be at a tennis match, frantically meeting each set of eyes for a couple of seconds, but do hold the attention of the people who are looking at you.



    5- Lie

    You will be caught out. Interviewers are experts and will see through you.


    Tip: Be honest. That doesn’t mean to say you need to tell them that the 10 month sabbatical was about finding yourself at the bottom of a beer glass, or that the 2 month holiday was spent in an Ashram in India, you don’t need to disclose personal information. Do say that you needed time out to reassess your life and re-prioritise. This then allowed you to come back to your career with a renewed sense of who you are and what your passions are, and this led you to look for a position with their company.


    6 – Have no interest in the job.

    A friend of mine told me recently how, as she was conducting an interview she asked the applicant about her availability as the role required weekend work. (This had been stated on the advertisement). The girl stopped, thought for a while and then informed her she’d be away for Oxigen, a family holiday, the obligatory pre back to college holiday, and a weekend away with the girls. So “I’m like free for a Saturday in August”. This doesn’t go down well with employers.


    Tip: They’re paying you so be flexible and work to their agenda.


    7 – Falsify your Cv.

    Another version of lying, you will be caught out. They will check up on your references, and if your area is a small one then your reputation could be affected.


    Tip: Tell the truth! You can be fancy with it for e.g. “I spent a period of my contract working with other team members to enhance communication and a good working environment within the team” – roughly translated from – I was part of the social committee.


    8 – Forget the names of the people who are interviewing you

    Saying “sorry what was your name again?” doesn’t bode well for a good interview.

    Questions to ask at an Interview

    Questions to ask at an Interview


    Ask questions which show your knowledge of the company, its markets and the job itself. At first interview do not ask about job conditions such as salary, hours of work etc. or embarrassing or confidential questions.


    • Ask about the company, its history, ownership, strengths, weaknesses and future plans.


    How long has the company been in existence?

    How has it grown?

    What future plans do you have?

    What are your main opportunities / threats that you face?

    What are your general policies towards employees – promotion from within etc?

    A recent article spoke about XYZ development, how is that going?

    Ask about the markets and products.

    What are your main brand names?

    What percentages of your products are exported?

    Who are your main competitors?


    • Ask about the job.


    To whom would I report?

    In my present company we use XYZ process; do you use a similar process?

    Is this a new position?

    What do you want this person to achieve?


    • Ask about matters outside your area.


                “I have a good understanding of the accounting function and where I would fit in. Could you tell me something about the overall management structure of the company?”


    • Ask about your prospects within the company.


    Where would you see me in two years time, assuming that I perform well in this position.


    • Ask about any area that the new interviewer has shown he enjoyed talking about.


    “That successful new product, how will it help with the company’s image?”

    “Do you mind if I ask how you have been with the company?”

    “The people I have met so far seem very friendly. Is it usually like that in this company?”


    • Finally, ask how you fit their specification.

    I am very interested in this job and feel my experience is very appropriate. How do you think I match your requirements?

    Motivation & Self Awareness

    Motivation & Self Awareness 

    If you don’t believe in yourself,

    how can you expect the prospective employer to?


    Would you describe yourself as self-motivated? If yes, why?

    Can you give an example of a time when you made a suggestion to improve something at work? What happened? Was it implemented?

    What was the level of supervision in your last job?

    What was your relationship with your supervisor/manager like?

    How would your last manager/ current manager rate your performance and how would you rate it yourself (self awareness)

    If I was to ask your last supervisor or a colleague to describe you, what would they say?

    What gets you out of bed in the morning? (and the answer is not an alarm clock!)


    Organisational Skills


    In your last (current) job, how did you go about organising your day?

    Can you describe a time when you were under pressure at work? How did you go about handling the pressure?

    Would you describe yourself as organised? What makes you describe yourself in this way?




    Can you tell me about a time when you helped a team you were part of achieve its goals?

    Can you tell me about a time there was conflict in a team you were in, what happened and how was it resolved?

    Do you prefer to work alone on a task or with others?

    Does anything frustrate you about working with other people on a daily basis?

    Are you a member of any teams or groups outside work?




    Would you describe yourself as ambitious? If yes, why?

    If we were to hire you, how long would you see yourself staying with us?

    Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years time?

    Do you plan to study further in any particular area?


     The awkward questions!


    Why should we choose you for this position?

    Could you tell me a bit about yourself?

    What do you feel are your main strengths?

    What do you know about this company?

    What do you think you would bring to this role?

    Why do you want to work for the company?


    Competency Based Questions

    Traditional interviews are increasingly becoming an assessment tool of the past. Once the preferred method used by employers they are now being replaced by Competency based interviews.

    Although some jobseekers may not agree the move towards Competency interviews is a positive one. Competency Interviews are a fair and objective form of interview focusing on what is essential for success and indicate that an employer has put some thought into recruitment and assessment. Traditional interviews can often result in hiring decisions based on the applicants interviewing ability rather than their ability to perform in the role. This article will help you understand Competency Interviews, how to prepare and why many fail at Competency Interviews.


    What is a Competency based interview?

    The word Competency is now a widely used term in business circles meaning the skills and behaviours relevant for performance in a job. Competency Interviews are structured interviews focusing on a number of key competencies relevant for a particular role. On average a candidate will be assessed against 4-6 competencies for example – Planning & Organising. Competency questions will normally begin “Tell me about a time when….” or “Give an example of a situation/scenario where….” The belief underpinning Competency interviews is that the best indication of future behaviour is past behaviour. Therefore interview questions will ask you to revisit a specific situation or task and through the use of probing questions the interviewer will seek evidence of your actions and the outcome.


    How to prepare for a Competency Interview?

    The most common tool is the STAR technique. An easy way to describe Competency interviews is story telling with a beginning “once upon a time”, a middle and a happy ending. The STAR technique will help you structure your answers to Competency questions. “S/T” represents an explanation of the Situation or Task. “A” represents your Actions. Finally “R” represents the Results or outcome of the situation or task. It is important to stick with this format during a Competency Interview.

    Why jobseekers fail at Competency Interview?

    Preparation – This is the most common cause of failure. Interviews are a stressful situation and the mind can switch off and go blank. Identifying relevant examples of situations or tasks prior to interview will help you answer Competency questions under the stress of interview.

    Poor story telling skills – As we all know some people are better at story telling than others. Many interviewees skimp on detail thus underselling themselves.

    Give me an example of a complex process or task that you had to explain to another person or group of people.
    In your example, focus on your ability to express yourself clearly and adapt your language to your target audience. If for example you are explaining technical information to a non-technical audience, you’ll need to keep your language simple, giving examples and perhaps using visual aids to explain complex ideas. Actively encourage questions and periodically check for understanding by asking for feedback.

    Describe a situation where you influenced someone to accept an idea that they were initially reluctant to take on board.
    In your answer show how you explained your idea, clearly outlining its objectives, how you researched it and how you highlighted how it would benefit the company. Show how you anticipated objections and were able to overcome them. Outline how you listened carefully to the concerns of your colleagues, assessed the logic of their reasoning and challenged their assumptions. Also, make sure to highlight your ability to build a rapport with others, choosing the most appropriate communication style for each individual person.

    What types of people do you find it difficult to get on with?
    Your focus in this answer is to demonstrate how you are flexible in your ways of dealing with people, even those who are very challenging! So for example, you could say that you find it difficult to get on with confrontational people. The way you effectively deal with them is to focus on the task involved, remaining calm and never letting a situation becoming personal.

    Give me an example where your listening skills proved crucial to an outcome.
    Your listening skills are under the spotlight here and your example should include the following: your ability to actively listen, ask questions to clarify, rephrase information back to the sender to ensure an accurate and successful outcome.

    When asking these questions, an employer wants to see that you can communicate clearly and effectively. You need to show that you can make a strong case, can present persuasive arguments and keep cool under pressure. You’ll also need to show that you are happy to challenge other peoples’ assumptions as well as defend and justify your own point of view.