Top interview tips for a successful interview

Published on: 20 Jul 2017

Job interviews can be nerve-racking however thorough preparation is the key to overcome nerves and put you one step ahead of the competition. 

Make sure you know:

  • What it says on your CV.
  • Dates of past jobs and valid reasons for leaving those jobs.
  • Research the hiring organisation and use some of this in the interview.  It shows you are interested and are well prepared.
  • Understand the job description and make sure you can demonstrate why you are a good fit for the role.

The interview is your opportunity to sell yourself. Hopefully your interviewer will be well prepared with a list of questions. They will ask every candidate some of the same questions and this provides the primary selection criteria. It sounds obvious, but who gave the best answers? Make sure you give full rounded answers to questions but do not waffle. If you are unsure about your answer, you can always add “does that answer your question or would you like more information?” This potentially gives you a second bite at the same question. The interviewer may give you a steer on what else they want, enabling you to answer the question again, and therefore getting a better ‘score’ for that question.

Expect to answer competency-based questions such as: "Can you give me an example of your leadership skills?" or "Explain a way in which you have developed a creative solution to a problem."

Typical behavioural questions include: “Can you give me an example of how you have managed to get stakeholder buy in for your recommendations?” and “What were the steps you followed to achieve that?” The purpose of behavioural questions is to predict your future behaviours based upon previous behaviours.

Try to anticipate questions related to the job specification and prepared some examples in advance. Also, in order to overcome any objections you need to have prepared answers to potential issues you may expect to encounter, i.e. [issue/concern] “You don’t have any experience in this sector” – [answer] “That is true, however I do possess considerable experience as a project manager and I have worked in x number of sectors and bring with me transferable skills.” This will ensure you don’t get caught off guard and become flustered.