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Interview Technique

The purpose of improving your interview technique is to provide you with a powerful weapon in your career search. Many people come out of interview feeling that they did not perform as well as they could have or were not provided with the opportunity to shine. To gain interview success you must master 4 skills.

  • You must be able to demonstrate your skills and expertise verbally and within a limited time scale.
  • You must respond openly, answer every question fully, and attempt to cite examples.
  • You must be able to handle any objections that are put to you.
  • You may have to justify your salary expectations.


Some time spent preparing will benefit you a great deal. By knowing what to expect you will be more confident and in control during your interview.

Always ensure you have the following information:

  • The name and position of the person conducting the interview
  • The company name,address and telephone number
  • How to get there!
  • The format of the interview and will there be any tests to perform.
  • The likely length of the interview so you can leave yourself plenty of time

Have a good knowledge of the company and the job. Your recruiter will provide you with information but personal effort will greatly benefit you, enhance your credibility and reinforce your interest.

There are a number of sources through which to access client information:

  • Advance Systems
  • Internet browsing
  • Yellow pages or trade press
  • Telephone the company to obtain general Company information
  • Business section of the local library


  • Most companies will expect both men and women to wear a suit. Also wearing suit shows a respect for the client. Smart and conservative is the safest option.

First impressions

  • Firm Hand Shake (not too vigorous!)
  • SMILE!
  • Eye Contact
  • Arrive around 5-10 minutes early - allow yourself plenty of time.
  • Create a good impression with the receptionist - they are sometimes called on for feedback.
  • If you are asked to complete the company application form do not appear irritated and write 'resume' on sections. Instead provide a brief summary.
  • Remain calm and confident if kept waiting, there is likely to be a very good reason.
  • Most of all, relax and try not to worry.

The interview

  • Do not slouch or fidget with pens or business cards if you are given one.Do not slouch or fidget with pens or business cards if you are given one.
  • Maintain eye contact with the interviewer, try to do this with all interviewers if there is more than one
  • Do not smoke or eat, but do accept tea or coffee if you want it
  • Always remain positive, do not give negative responses regarding previous employers or positions
  • Think about your key strengths and weaknesses as this is a popular question
  • Always ask at least one question, it is a perfect opportunity to clarify any queries. Your previous preparation will aid you to formulate possible questions relating to the company, for example, the structure of the department, opportunities for progression
  • Know what is on your resume, if you cannot remember details the interviewer may have doubts regarding authenticity
  • Thank them for their time and if you are interested in the position do not be afraid to say this

If you are unsure by the end of the interview whether the position is for you, try to remain interested and enthusiastic. Another role within the same company may arise at a later date, and people who came across well at interview are often remembered.

Interview testing

Interview testing is becoming a more and more popular option with employers. They tend to come in two different forms:

Personality Tests

These tests come in the form of a written questionnaire asking for your views regarding different hypothetical situations. You are asked to decide which option suits you best. From your answers they can formulate a profile on your likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses. Due to the subjective nature of these tests they are seldom used as the sole criteria for interview success.

Ability and Aptitude Tests

Aptitude or intelligence tests measure a person's potential ability after training. These can include written verbal or numerical tests. However popular testing is becoming, the majority of organizations still rely on qualifications and previous experience to judge aptitude.

Panel interviews

Do not be distressed if faced with a number of people in a panel interview situation. They tend to specialize in different areas and often include a representative from personnel. This person may ask more general questions leaving more specialized questions to Line Managers from the relevant department.

The important point to note is to acknowledge with eye contact all members of the panel at some stage while focusing on the person asking the question. If possible try to remember the names of the people interviewing.

Second interviews

Second interviews are a good sign that your performance at first interview has been impressive. At this stage you will have the opportunity to get a more detailed idea about the company and role.

You may be able to obtain more information regarding the structure of the organization and more detail regarding the project. You may also be given the opportunity to meet the people you will be working with. Second interviews are also an excellent opportunity to clarify any concerns you may have by asking questions.


For some positions you may be asked to give a presentation. This is a means by which the interviewer can gauge your communication skills as well as your ability to present your ideas.

Typical questions

A common fear in interview is being asked a difficult question and your mind going blank. If this happens, the best advice would be to keep calm.

Interviews are often structured in a particular way in order to assess the suitability of applicants. Therefore, some questions can often be anticipated, and if you have a general idea of what may be asked you can prepare a few ideas beforehand.

  • What would be your ideal job? Describe it.
  • What do you know about our company?
  • What was the biggest challenge at your last job?
  • What immediate contributions can you make?
  • What was your most rewarding experience? Tell me about it.
  • Why do you want this job?
  • Tell me about yourself?
  • What motivates you?
  • How do you motivate your team?
  • What are your greatest weaknesses?
  • Give me an example of when you overcame adversity?
  • Do you work well under pressure? Give an example.
  • What are your long and short range goals?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5, 10 years?
  • What have you done that shows initiative?
  • Define co-operation?
  • Why are you looking to move?
  • What does success mean to you?
  • What experience have you had in leadership positions?
  • What is your management philosophy?
  • How do you set priorities?
  • What type of work environment do you work best in?
  • If you were recruiting someone for this position, what would you be looking for?
  • What do you think it takes to make progress in a good company?
  • How would your references describe you?
  • What is the last thing you want me to remember about you?
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