So you’ve got an interview. Well done. Now comes the hard part, convincing your prospective employer that you are right for the job. Remember, though, that an interview is not a one-way thing. It is also for you to find out whether this is the right company/job for you.
The most important thing is to be prepared – you need to look the part [a smart version of what people in the company usually wear], plan your journey to the interview beforehand leaving lots of time for traffic or transport problems, arrive on time and do lots of research beforehand. Make sure you read up about the company and re-read your application and the job specification so you will be able to anticipate any questions.
Once in the interview, there are some standard questions which you need to anticipate and answer clearly, positively and without waffling:
- Why do you want this job? Don’t be negative about your current or former job. Try to give positive reasons why this is a good job for you. Emphasise how the job fits with your skills and give examples of experience you have had which demonstrates these skills.
- Why do you want to work for this company? Your research will come in handy here. Again emphasise your skills for the job, but don’t go on about salary and benefits. Stress how it will help you to develop and how it will present new challenges.
- Why did you leave/do you want to leave your previous/current job? Resist the urge to dish the dirt on your current work. Be positive about it, but mention how you feel the need to develop your career.
- Are you considering any other jobs? If you are, be honest about this as you may have to mention it later as part of negotiations. If you are not, just say you are considering other possibilities.
- How would you describe yourself? Pick out your most positive qualities, particularly those which are relevant to the job.
- What are your negative problems? Mention negatives which could be taken as positives, such as being overly conscientious. If they ask if you have had any failures, pick somethint which you learnt from or something that is not really important.
- How do you handle criticism? It is worth saying that you welcome feedback as long as it is constructive.
- Are you a team player? The job specification will have made clear if they want someone who can work as part of a team, but there may be occasions when you have to work on your own. Hedge your bets and give examples which support both things.
- Can you act on your own initiative? Say that you can and give an example.
- Always think of two or three questions which you can ask at the end of the interview. They should show that you are interested in learning more about the ins and outs of the job.