Tips For Interview Success

Tips For Interview Success

Introducing Interviews

"In this world nothing is guaranteed but death, taxes and job interviews", as Benjamin Franklin didn't say.

During our lives nearly everyone will have to go through at least one job interview, even more-so in the modern world, where a 'job for life' is now very rare.

There is nothing more fearful to men and women of all ages than the prospect of spending up to an hour or so being scrutinised by a fierce looking man or woman in a suit, or maybe a group of them, who hold your hopes and ambitions in their hands.

With the knowledge that the smallest slip of the tongue could shatter your dreams, many people fold under the pressure.

We're here to make sure you don't.

Of course it's not all doom-and-gloom. Interviews should be seen as a great opportunity to move onwards and upwards, and with the right preparation we can make them maybe not the best time of your life, but probably a bearable experience.

The key to interviews is practice and preparation. If you march into the interview room brimming with confidence, a gleaming CV under your arm and your head full of answers you're far more likely to get the job than if you had skulked in wearing a ripped pair of Levis, with a hastily scribbled list of your qualifications shoved down your back pocket.

The interview process does not just involve the time in the interview under the interviewers piercing glare, but the investment of time you put in before and afterwards.

Much of this material will also be relevant for University interviews, so if your interviews are drawing near, read on for some useful information for grabbing that University place.


Research, preparation and rehearsal, a good CV, excellent telephone technique and a positive job search strategy will all lead you to a job interview. For some, an interview is a really exciting opportunity.

For others, it may be the worst possible experience - it may be ages since your last interview; you may have no idea what you are going to say.

You will be nervous – but this is not always a bad thing. Being nervous can make you more alert. Interviews are often not as bad as you think they will be and most interviewers try to put you at ease. Careful research gives you a chance to mentally prepare yourself.

Follow these steps:

1.Read and re-read the job advert, the person specification and the job description.

2.Find out as much as you can about the company. Use the internet to search for information about the company. You could also use local resources such as the library, newspapers and company brochures.

3.Find out about the interview. It is perfectly acceptable to ring up the company and ask for this information if they have not sent it to you.

4.Think of the questions you are likely to be asked and how you plan to answer them.

5.Practice your Interview by taking a Mock Interview.

What To Take

CV, Curriculum Vitae

The CV is usually the first thing employers look at when choosing new employees, so it's essential to make sure it gives the maximum impact.

Your CV is basically a list of your academic and personal achievements; it is not the application for the position, so avoid making it too specific, although you may want to change it slightly for different jobs.

NRA, National Record of Achievement

The National Record of Achievement, launched in 1991, was designed as a lifelong record of achievement to support self-development for all throughout life.

It provides employers with a concise account of your academic achievements, as well as extra-curriculur activity and experiences, and personal information about you which will allow them to see the best of what you have to offer.

It is important to keep it up-to-date and tidy, in combination with a well-written CV, it can be the difference between getting the job and another letter of rejection.

Other Documents

Turning up empty handed is obviously a no-no; conversely, rummaging through a bag or briefcase full of documents searching for your CV isn't going to present the image of a highly organised professional! Make sure anything else you take, you are going to use.

You might wish to take copies of letters of recommendation. Consider taking a typed reference sheet to be given to the interviewer; this is basically a list of contact details of previous employers, who can be contacted regarding your experience and skills.

It might also be an idea to take an additional copy of your CV, for your own reference during the interview.

A pen and paper so that you can note the name of the interviewer, times for future interviews and other information is also recommended.

Body Language

Present Yourself

Interviews are more than just question and answer sessions. A lot of the interview is about how you present yourself. Remember, your future employer is looking for someone that will work well in their team and grow and develop within the company.

‘Looking and feeling the part’ will help you to convince the interviewer that you are business-like, helpful and enthusiastic.

Body language is another way of describing ‘looking and feeling the part’, which you need to convey. It is important to realise how influential this can be at an interview.



* Smile
* Sit upright, leaning slightly forward
* Make regular eye contact
* Keep your arms and legs still
* Use a range of facial expressions
* Sit with your hands on lap/leg, with pads of fingers lightly touching



*Fold your arms
* Wind your legs around each other
* Sit with your bag on your lap
* Scratch yourself
* Touch your face (especially your nose!)
* Use pointing or jabbing gestures
* Slouch back in the chair
* Sniff/clear your throat/flick hair off face constantly
* Sit with hands tightly clasped together
* Drum fingers, tap with pencil

What does your body language say about you?

Although most interviewers will try to give everyone a fair chance, many people say that you can land a job within the first 15 seconds of the interview. An experienced interviewer can tell a lot about you – before you even say a word.

Interview Feedback

Feedback after interviews is very important. It will help you determine what you did well and what not so well, which in turn will improve your interview technique and make you more successful next time around.

Mock Interviews

Feedback from mock interviews can be very useful, as it can be given from both the point of view of the interviewer, and from a 3rd party observer.

Getting two different points of view is great as they will each see different aspects of your interview technique - the interviewer is likely to pay more attention to what you say and your tone of voice, while the observer will note your body language and mannerisms.

Real Interviews

If your interview is not successful, you can ask the interviewer for feedback, to help you to improve your performance next time.

Here are some of the reasons why people don’t get jobs. After an interview, check to see if they could apply to you.

 Did you …

Limit your answers to ‘Yes’ and ‘No’?
Talk too much?
Find the questions difficult to answer?
Give answers which didn’t seem to satisfy the interviewer?
Feel able to discuss your strengths and weaknesses?
Show that you were listening to the interviewer?
Say why you wanted to work for the organisation?
Seem interested and enthusiastic about the job?
Dress appropriately and seem confident that you could do the job?

If you answered ‘No’ to the first 4 questions and ‘Yes’ to the last 5, then you must have been a strong candidate. Better luck next time.

If you answered ‘Yes’ to any of the first 5 questions, or ‘No’ to any of the last 4, then perhaps you need to practice your interview technique.