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How to Behave at an Interview

An invitation to an interview means that an employer believes you have the potential to do
the job and it is your chance to convince the recruiter that you are the right person. This is
your chance to back up everything the employer has read about you in your CV and cover
letter, which cannot secure you a job on their own. Interviews can be an extremely
daunting and nerve-racking experience and although unfair, but true, first impressions are
immensely important and the initial seconds of the interview can determine how you are

So... how can you guarantee a good interview, sell yourself in the best way and be

Top Tips
• Thorough research and self-awareness
• Be careful not to be over-confident - you do not want to come across as arrogant!


Preparation cannot be over-stated and this is the first rule for any interview. To help
prepare yourself and make sure that your performance gets you the job, we have provided
you with some general preparation tips:
• Research the company, its competitors, position in the marketplace and
challenges/developments within the industry. Know what it's products are, its size,
income, reputation, image, goals, problems. How many people do they employ and
what is the company philosophy? Know all of the up to date information on the
company, which can then be slipped into conversation.
• Practice for the interview but do not memorise or over-rehearse. Get a friend or
colleague to do a mock interview with you to get used to being asked questions
and how you portray yourself to others.
• Prepare a list of questions that you think might be asked and plan your answers. A
useful tip is to look at the job description - this should enable you to define the
qualities the recruiter is looking for and emphasise the skills and experiences that
you have which best demonstrate them.
• Think of any questions you would like to ask the recruiter about the company and
the position you are applying for. This shows you have done some homework and
are interested in the company and its business.
• Dress the part for the job, the company and industry. It is important to portray a
smart business image and it is recommended that both men and women wear suits
and sensible shoes.
• Read through your CV and cover letter before you attend the interview.
The Interview Process

It is important to remember that the interview is a two-way process. Although the

company is trying to find the best candidate for the position, at the same time you need to
use the interview process to assess if you want to work for that company. Try to ascertain
if the company culture and philosophy is one that you would be happy to work in. Also, is
the position something that fits in with your requirements. Throughout the interview
process there are some general principles that must be adhered to:
• Make sure you know the time and location of the interview. Try and arrive about
10-15 minutes early. Use this time to freshen up if you need to or compose
yourself. (Whilst it is a bad idea to be late for an interview, sometimes things may
conspire against you- an unforeseen traffic jam or train delay - if this happens give
them as much notice as possible.) Remember to account for any possible delays or
unforeseen circumstances and remember to write down their telephone number.
• If you have a mobile phone make sure that you have turned it off for the period of
the interview.
• Introduce yourself courteously at the reception - state who you are, who you have
come to see and why.
• When you are introduced to the person who is interviewing give a firm handshake
and smile during the introduction. Remember FIRST IMPRESSIONS COUNT.
• Express yourself clearly and concisely during the interview - demonstrate how
your experience and character qualities can be beneficial to the company.
• Slip in any information and relevant facts that you have uncovered during your
• Answer all questions with consideration - it is better to take a pause and think
about a question rather than rushing into an answer. Don't be monosyllabic in your
answers - try and give explanations for answers.
• Answer all question truthfully. If you lie or vastly over exaggerate your abilities
and skills, you will be shown up.
• Do not discuss salary in the first interview unless they do; getting the job at this
stage is the main priority - salary negotiations will follow.
• Do not be derogatory about the companies that you have worked for.
• Emphasise the positive aspects of the job or company and do not be negative.
• Ask any pre-prepared questions at the end to demonstrate you have done research
and to clear up any queries that you may have about the role.
After The Interview

After the interview it is important to think about the issues raised and to learn from any
mistakes. It is a good idea to list all the questions that you answered and then think of
better ways in which to answer the ones you feel were poorly answered. Most companies
tend to provide feedback nowadays whether you are successful or not, but if is not
automatically given, you should not be afraid to ask for it as this can provide extremely
important information that helps identify your strengths and weaknesses and highlights
particular areas where there is room for personal development.

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