Interview Tips

Communicating your strengths

An employer requests a "first" interview having seen your CV, from which he or she considers that you could do the job. Certain shortcomings or areas that need attention or training might also be obvious to him or her.

You are to be interviewed by a manager. Appointing and maintaining good staff is a key management task, so the position for which you are being interviewed is critical for the manager's effectiveness. The manager has just a few hours to find out whether or not you will be suitable, technically and personally.

You have a few hours to show that you are, or can be, an effective contributor to the manager's team.

Find out exactly what the manager's needs are from the position. Show that you can fulfil those needs and help the manager to do their job better. Show yourself to be a potential asset to the manager and his company


Impact - Initial impact is critical to a successful interview. Keep the following points in mind:


  • Dress smartly for the job you are aiming for.
  • Conform and wear the uniform of the profession, as this generates respect and trust.
  • Arrive on time or a little early. If you are genuinely delayed, telephone the company or interview location to advise them, including a brief, valid reason for the delay.
  • Shake hands at the first introduction, firmly, with a dry hand - no sweaty palms!
  • Be happy and as refreshing as possible.
  • Let your individuality show through but do not force it.
  • Remember that the interviewer might have seen six or more candidates on that day, so let your "difference" shine.
  • Take the initial lead from the interviewer.
  • Let him or her set the tone of the meeting.
  • Do not be afraid to smile and show yourself to be friendly.


  • Do not take over verbally or physically.
  • Do not crack jokes.

Disposition & Communication


  • Know your strengths, believe in yourself and, if you can, picture yourself doing the job for which you are being interviewed.
  • Keep a copy of your c.v. and supporting documentation to hand.
  • Make eye-to-eye contact as you speak.
  • Use body language to reinforce the spoken word.
  • Watch the interviewer's body language.
  • Infect the interview with a positive attitude.
  • Remember that "redundancy" is just another term for "opportunity for a fresh start".
  • Keep it short and simple. Listen.
  • Try to answer all questions promptly but do not be afraid to ask for clarification or to take time to think out any particularly difficult points.


  • Do not make sexist or racist remarks. Respect other people.
  • Do not speak any negative thoughts. Keep them to yourself.
  • Do not criticise your current or previous employers or colleagues.



  • Know why you want the position and formulate a strong, persuasive argument as to why you think you can be successful in this career.
  • Understand the forces that drive you and be able to communicate them.
  • Be prepared to support your career success to date with written evidence of appraisals, promotions and performance data.
  • Give examples of difficult situations you have faced and overcome and problems you have solved.
  • Show that you have thought out medium and long-term aims and how the position for which you are being interviewed fits these goals.
  • Demonstrate ambition, realism and a willingness to work.

Background Knowledge


  • Understand for what job you are being interviewed and prepare your answers.
  • Find out basic information about the company, its products and its attitudes. Read up on the type of job and/or industry you are hoping to enter.
  • Make contact with experienced people working in this type of job or industry and obtain as much first hand knowledge as possible.

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