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Interview Tips

Interviews can be nerve wracking, but this guide will help you to feel confident and organised when you go to an interview 

  • Before the Interview – PLAN AHEAD
  • Where is the interview and how do you get there on time? (Hint: Google Maps)
  • What does the company do? Look them up online!
  • Prepare some questions that you can ask at the interview to show your interest in the job
  • Think about your appearance – do you have something suitable to wear?


  • Prepare some answers to questions you are likely to be asked. The better prepared you are, the more successful the interview will be!
  • Whether you’re going for a blue collar job or a white collar job, a creative role or a business role, there is one general rule when it comes to what to wear: dress up. The general consensus amongst the career crowd is that dressing to impress for that first job interview not only tells the interviewer you are serious about the job but also that you’re serious about yourself. Even in cases where the company culture allows casual dress every day or where the role requires you to wear work denims, it’s still a good idea to dress in formal office gear for the initial job interview. For example, for an office-based corporate role, a suit and tie for men and pants or skirt suit for women would be a good idea. For a trade role, process worker, entry level role or job in a less formal office environment, a crisp, clean shirt/top and jacket with either trousers or pants and closed toe shoes for a woman or shirt and tie and jacket for a guy with dress shoes and business socks is fine.
  • As a general rule, take extra care with your appearance for a job interview. Think about what you are going to wear a few days before hand so you can check for stains, loose buttons and stray threads. Make sure your clothes are clean and ironed.
  • Avoid visual distractions such as loud ties, chipped nail polish, heavy make up, sheer fabrics, heavy ear rings, jewellery that jangles and unwashed hair or hair that flops into your eyes or needs to be constantly pushed back.
  • Women should avoid too much cleavage or leg – you want people listening to what you are saying – don’t you? Also, both women and men should go light on the fragrance and aftershave. And don’t have a cigarette just before going to an interview or that, will be your fragrance.
  • Lastly, wear clothes that are comfortable so you are concentrating on what is being asked of you and not on the fact that your waist band is cutting into your flesh or your bra strap is falling off your shoulder.

The Interview

If in doubt, do a full dress rehearsal before the interview and get a second opinion from a friend.

Although there is no set format that every job interview will follow, there are some questions that you can almost guarantee will crop up. Here’s a list of the most common questions and a guide to the kind of answers your interviewer wants to hear.

Tell me about yourself

This is usually the opening question and, as first impressions are key, one of the most important. Keep your answer to under five minutes, beginning with an overview of your highest qualification then running through the jobs you’ve held so far in your career. You can follow the same structure of your CV, giving examples of achievements and the skills you’ve picked up along the way. Don’t go into too much detail – your interviewer will probably take notes and ask for you to expand on any areas where they’d like more information. If you’re interviewing for your first job since leaving education, focus on the areas of your studies you most enjoyed and how that has led to you wanting this particular role.

What are your strengths?

Pick the three biggest attributes that you think will get you the job and give examples of how you have used these strengths in a work situation. They could be tangible skills, such as proficiency in a particular computer language, or intangible skills such as good man- management. If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at the job description. There is usually a section listing candidate requirements, which should give you an idea of what they are looking for.

What are your weaknesses?

The dreaded question, which is best handled by picking something that you have made positive steps to redress. For example, if your IT ability is not at the level it could be, state it as a weakness but tell the interviewer about training courses or time spent outside work hours you have used to improve your skills. Your initiative could actually be perceived as a strength. On no accounts say “I don’t have any weaknesses”, your interviewer won’t believe you, or “I have a tendency to work too hard”, which is seen as avoiding the question

Why should we hire you?

What can you do for us that other candidates can’t? – What makes you special and where do your major strengths lie? You should be able to find out what they are looking for from the job description. “I have a unique combination of strong technical skills and the ability to build long- term customer relationships” is a good opening sentence, which can then lead onto a more specific example of something you have done so far in your career. State your biggest achievement and the benefit it made to the business, then finish with “Given the opportunity, I could bring this success to your company.”

What are your goals?

Where do you see yourself in five years time? – It’s best to talk about both short-term and long- term goals. Talk about the kind of job you’d eventually like to do and the various steps you will need to get there, relating this in some way back to the position you’re interviewing for. Show the employer you have ambition, and that you have the determination to make the most of every job you have to get where you want to be.

Why do you want to work here?

The interviewer is listening for an answer that indicates you’ve given this some thought. If you’ve prepared for the interview properly, you should have a good inside knowledge of the company’s values, mission statement, development plans and products. Use this information to describe how your goals and ambition matches their company ethos and how you would relish the opportunity to work for them. Never utter the phrase “I just need a job.”

What are three positive things your last boss would say about you?

This is a great time to brag about yourself through someone else’s words. Try to include one thing that shows your ability to do the job, one thing that shows your commitment to the work, and one thing that shows you are a good person to have in a team. For example, “My boss has told me that I am the best designer he has ever had. He knows he can always rely on me, and he likes my sense of humour.”

What do i wear?

Business casual dress is recommended at all times

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