How to Succeed in Interviews

The importance of researching your potential employer cannot be over emphasised. Nowadays, with so much information at our fingertips, there is no excuse not to do your homework. Probably the easiest and quickest way to access up-to-date information is via the Internet. Spend some time exploring the company's web site.

If you haven't got easy access to the Internet, use more traditional methods - visit a business library and read through annual reports, or call the company and ask for information to be sent out to you.

Prepare answers to the most frequently asked interview questions. In particular, those questions that you may find difficult to answer and work out how you will cope with them.

Here are some examples of common questions:
  • Why did you apply for this job?
  • What do you know about our company?
  • Why should we give you this job and not someone else?
  • What are your outstanding qualities?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • What would you like to be doing five years from now?
  • Why do you want to leave your current job?
  • Why did you leave your last job?
  • What motivates you?
  • What is your ambition?
  • What is your biggest achievement?
  • How do you handle rejection?
  • How do you handle tension?
  • How do you take direction?
  • What would your last boss say about you?
  • What were the minuses of your last job?
  • What have you done that shows initiative and willingness to work?
  • What do you see as the main responsibilities of a _______________?

For a comprehensive list of interview questions and answers you may want to consider purchasing or borrowing "Great Answers to Tough Interview Questions" by Martin John Yate.

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To succeed in any interview you MUST:

  • Be on time. Aim to arrive 10 to 15 minutes early giving you time to relax and get a feel for the company.
  • Give a firm handshake and smile during the introduction. You must not underestimate the importance of this. It is your first impression and there is no worse start than a sloppy handshake.
  • Be pleasant, poised and maintain eye contact as much as possible.
  • Be aware of your body language. Don't sit with your arms folded. Try to be open and relaxed.
  • Listen carefully to questions; don't be afraid to ask for clarification and take time to think about your answers. Silences will seem a lot longer to you than they actually are.
  • Be honest. You wouldn't want your employer to lie about your career and salary prospects so stick to the truth about your jobs and qualifications. These things are easily checked out.
  • Always try to support your answers with examples of past achievements.
  • Be clear and concise.
  • Avoid saying negative things about your last or current employer.
  • Prepare questions for the interviewer.
  • Thank the interviewer at the end of the interview and reiterate your interest in the position.
  • Don't let the interview drag on by overselling yourself if you see signs that the interview is coming to a close.

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