Tips & Advice

Interview Techniques

It may sound obvious but, start with a positive attitude. You have been selected for interview from many other applicants so allow yourself a smile!

During the interview process you are given a short amount of time to convince an employer of your worth and value to their organisation. You will also need to show that you are sufficiently motivated to get the job done well and that you will fit in with the company’s organisational structure and the team in which you will work. To do this well requires preparation. Never underestimate the difference this can make. Start with confirming the exact place and time of the interview. Ensure you know the interviewers name and are confident about pronunciation. Familiarise yourself with the route to the interview site and always allow extra time for unexpected delays. There is never an excuse for being late!

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You should dress smartly for the interview. Be courteous to all employees of the company. At the interview itself you must be positive about yourself and your abilities – but do not waffle.

  • Be confident, a firm handshake and a broad smile speak volumes.
  • Dress appropriately.
  • Sit up straight and show you are interested.
  • Maintain eye contact.
  • Do not smoke or chew gum.
  • Be positive. In particular, avoid negative comments about past employers.
  • Order your thoughts but be your authentic self, let your personality come through.
  • Be a good listener, do not interrupt the interviewer when they are speaking.
  • Always attempt to give evidence for your answers and avoid answering with “Yes” or “No”.

Know your CV

Review your CV, it is an outline of your achievements that will have given the interviewer an overview but they will want to know more, can you discuss any aspect of it in depth.

Gaps in CV

Be prepared to explain gaps in employment. If you worked in a temporary capacity but didn’t put it on your CV, know the details of which companies you worked with, what you did for them and the length of the assignments.

Reasons for leaving

Prepare to discuss the reasons you left your previous jobs. If it was for a better opportunity, explain how it was an opportunity. If you left involuntarily, present the reason in the most positive light you can. Make sure your responses are honest and be positive.

Research the job

Before attending any interview it is a good idea to research the organisation and familiarise yourself with the job that you are applying for. It will demonstrate your initiative and motivation to the interviewer. Look at their company brochure, visit their website and read press reports specific to their industry. The more you know about the position, the company and it’s people the easier it is to target your interview approach to their needs.

Questions from you

Try to think of some questions to ask at interview. If you have researched the company well, you will be able to come up with questions concerning the organisation. You may also like to find out more about your responsibilities in the role, the organisation’s long and short term aims, training opportunities, overall organisational structure and what they would hope you achieve in the first six months.

If you feel that the interview is not going well, do not let your discouragement show.

Always thank the interviewer for their time, smile and shake their hand when leaving.

Be content that with your preparation and correct interview technique, you have done the best you can.

Good luck!

PREPARING A CV

Your curriculum vitae must be presented professionally, clearly, and in a way that indicates that you are an ideal candidate for the job, i.e., you possess the right skills, experience, behaviour and attitude that the employer is seeking.

Be proud and confident of who you are. Emphasise your characteristics, your capabilities and achievements. Many people find this difficult, especially those who are factual rather than creative. If you are one of these people (in fact many people are) try to get help from someone creative and enthusiastic to assist you in interpreting and writing positive phrases and descriptions about you for your CV.

A CV should be prepared on a computer/word-processor (or at least typed), well laid out and printed on a good quality printer. Use bold print for headings. Do not use lots of different font types and sizes. You are not designing a magazine cover. Do use the spell-check on your computer. (Or check that the spelling is correct in some way).

WHAT TO INCLUDE

Personal details

Personal Profile / Objective Statement

It can be good to start with a Personal Profile/Objective statement. This is a two or three sentence overview of your skills, qualities, hopes, and plans. It should encourage the employer to read the rest.

Skills

Highlight your key skills. Ability in other languages, computing experience and major achievements should be included

Qualifications & Training

Work experience

List your most recent experience first. Give the name of your employer, job title, and very important, what you actually did and achieved in that job.

Interests

They will be particularly interested in activities where you have leadership or responsibility, or which involve you in relating to others in a team. A one-person interest, such as stamp-collecting, may be of less interest to them, unless it connects with the work you wish to do. Give only enough detail to explain.

If you have been involved in any type of volunteer work, do give details.

Covering letter

When sending in a CV or job application form, you should include a covering letter. The purpose of the letter is to make sure that the CV arrives on the desk of the correct person. Take the trouble to telephone, and find the name of the person who will be dealing with applications or CVs, and address your letter, and envelope, to that person by name.

You want to persuade the person to read your CV, so it must be relevant to the company, interesting, and well produced.