Improve Your Interview Skills Print E-mail

1. Research Company

Find out about the company. *
Product range, manufacturer or distributor, turnover, profit, status (family owned, private, public), related companies (parent, subsidiary, associate), age, number of employees, etc.

This information is available from trade directories, libraries, magazines, Chamber of Trade, company brochures, agents, the Internet, or the company’s PR, personnel or sales/marketing department.

*Take this information with you to the interview and let the company know about the research you have done.

2. Prepare Questions

write the questions down and take to the interview

  • What is the position?
  • Why has the position arisen?
  • What specific objectives will the person in this position be expected to achieve?
  • How does this compare against previous achievements in this position?
  • What is the top priority for this role over the next year?
  • What are some of the more difficult problems encountered in this role?
  • What resources will be available?
  • What training or induction will apply?
  • Who does this position report to?
  • Who reports to the person in this position?
  • What opportunities exist beyond this position, and when?
  • What key attributes or experience is the company looking to recruit into the position?
  • Where is the position based and how much travel will be involved?
  • Where is the company positioned within the market?
  • What is the selling strategy (unique product/price/quality/speed/back-up/etc)?
  • How does the company plan to sustain its position or achieve growth in the future?
  • What turnover of staff does the company experience?
  • How would they describe the culture/philosophy of the company?
  • When do they need somebody to start?
  • How many people are they interviewing?
  • What will the selection procedure involve (tests, day out, etc)?
  • When will they be making a decision?


3. Presentation

Look professional
You never get a second chance to make a good first impression! Open the meeting with a strong handshake, good eye contact and a confident approach. Smile.

4. Handle The Interview

  • Set objectives before the interview – obtain a second interview or job offer.
  • Ask questions early in the interview to establish areas of importance from the company’s point of view and relate areas of interest from your background.
  • Focus on the question – has it been answered in a direct way (try not to digress)
  • You can always add further information if requested. Be specific in your response and admit of you don’t know the answer.
  • If you do not understand the question ask for clarification.
  • Do not lie of imply completely false information.
  • Listen and consider where the questions are going.
  • Be prepared to take control of the interview – many interviews are inexperienced or unstructured and will greatly appreciate the candidate making the process easier for them.
  • Use open-ended questions – who, what, why, where and how……..
  • Do not be afraid to highlight your achievements but ensure you can explain clearly how you achieved them.


5. Close the Interview

The toughest part of the interview.
As the interview reaches a close it is essential that you obtain feedback regarding your
performance and suitability for the role.

At the end of the interview you must:

  • Tell the company why you are keen on the position e.g. company profile, opportunity, training, earning potential, product, market, etc. Two or three reasons will reinforce their belief in your interest.
  • Tell the company why they should select you for the position e.g. relevant experience, energy, enthusiasm, achievements, education, commitment, etc. Again two or three reasons will reinforce your suitability for the position.
  • Ask the company if they have any reservations about your ability to do the job and how they view you for the role. This will give you the opportunity to dispel any doubts they may have.

Do they think you can do the job?
Does anything need clarifying or would they feel happy in employing you?
How do you compare against the other candidates?
What could prevent you from getting the job?

6. Following The Interview

What will further reinforce their interest and make you different from other candidates?
Send a hand-written letter thanking the company for their time and take the opportunity to restate your interest in the position and remind them why they should employ you.