Preparing for your interview

Once you have got to the interview stage, be confident in knowing that your CV or application form has succeeded in getting you this far. The fact that you have been selected for interview means that you are potentially right for the job, but so is everybody else called for an interview! Your task now is to show how you are best suited for the role.

 Remember that even for technically-focused questions there are usually no absolutely right answers in recruitment selection interviews. The interviewer will not only be interested in your specialised knowledge and skills but also, and often more importantly, your approach to the questions or situations they introduce as well as how you communicate in terms of style, attitude, confidence and professionalism.

 Remember that you will not need to know everything about the potential job or the skills to do it just to get through an interview. The older the candidate, the more the interviewer will expect you to bring proven experience to the job. Younger candidates such as graduates will usually be more considered in terms of their “trainability” – i.e. how quickly they are likely to learn the desired skills and behaviours.

 Try and find out how the culture and values of the organisation match your own. For instance, if you will be expected to work very long hours, ask yourself how happy you will be in that sort of pressurised environment where long hours are the expectation rather than the exception. If these sort of things are important to the interviewer, you will probably get asked about how you balance your work with other parts of your life, for example family and outside interests etc. It may well be that the employer is looking for a very well-balanced individual rather than someone who works 12 hours a day because they think it is culturally appropriate to do so!

 Remember that the well-known advice … “Be yourself” is fine in most circumstances and hopefully in interviews or assessment centres as well. But beware if “being yourself” means being a little flippant or over-humorous. While most interviewers will appreciate a sense of humour it is very easy to go a little bit over the top in an attempt to be seen as the most genial candidate! Remember that while you need to be friendly and approachable you also need to be seen as professional at all stages of the selection process.