Everybody is nervous to some degree at an interview. It is useful to remember that the interview is a two way process As much as the employer may be making decisions on your suitability for the job, you too should be making decisions on whether this is the right role or company for you. Do not be afraid to ask questions towards the end of the interview with regard to your role or to find out more about the company.
A list of appropriate and inappropriate questions at an interview can be found later on in this booklet.
TOP TEN TIPS FOR INTERVIEW SUCCESS
- Find out as much about the role, the job and the company in advance – this should help calm your nerves as there should be no surprise questions.
- Make sure you know where you are going! Find out in advance where the nearest train station or bus stop is and how long the journey should take.
- Take out your interview outfit well in advance of the interview – not the night before. Any dropped hems or split seems need time to be mended!
- Take a copy of your CV with you. The employer may also request you to bring your exam certificates, a passport and proof of address. Check this with them in advance.
- Body language is important. The way you sit, stand or even shake hands gives a first impression to an employer – you need to ensure that it is the right one!
- Answer questions fully, clearly and concisely. Don’t waffle and don’t give too short an answer either. You need to feel assured that you know your stuff and that you can hold a conversation with others. Answer questions in a clear, concise and confident manner.
- Take a deep breath and remember that you have skills to offer which will be an asset to the company!
- Use the interview as a chance for you to find out if the company and role are right for you. View the interview as a two way process.
- Ask appropriate questions at the end of the interview. Some are listed in this booklet.
Possible interview questions you may be asked and can prepare for in advance
• Why have you applied for this post?
• What experience do you have in this field?
• Can you tell us about yourself?
• Which unique qualities can you bring to this role?
• Have you ever been responsible for managing a project on your own?
• Do you consider yourself to be a team player?
• When was the last time you implemented a positive change?
• How would you ensure you kept information obtained through work confidential?
• What do you understand by the terms; equal opportunities and diversity? How would you implement this in your role?
• How could you see this role and your career develop?
• What do you consider to be your main strengths/ weaknesses?
• What motivates you?
• Describe a situation where you influenced somebody positively: how did you go about it?
• Can you describe a situation that you find particularly challenging or difficult but where you persisted?
How do you plan and prioritise your work? What have been your key achievements in your career?
You can never predict all the questions an employer may ask you but if you are able to practice with a friend or family member it will give you confidence for the real interview and also give you an idea of answers you may need to build upon. Remember practice makes perfect! It’s better to make mistakes in a mock interview than in the real thing!
At the interview itself make sure you include examples, if possible, of what you have achieved and how you accomplished this. The interviewer may put a scenario to you and ask how you would handle a certain situation which arose at work so be prepared to think on your feet!
Be aware of your body language. You may be nervous but fidgeting or tapping your foot can be distracting to the interviewer and may make them think that you are not confident in your ability to do the job.
Try and keep good eye contact and if the employer puts out his/her hand to shake yours make sure you respond with a short but firm hand shake.
Answer their questions in a clear and concise manner. If you appear relaxed and open in your body language the employer will become more relaxed too.
Make sure that you refer to your abilities and experience in a positive manner. Do not mention negative experiences in previous work places or what you consider to be your faults unless directly asked. Even then, try if possible, to present a negative quality in a positive light.
Nobody likes to be put on the spot so it’s always best to prepare a few questions beforehand if possible, but be careful some questions should ideally never be asked at an interview.
What not to ask at an interview!
Hopefully, you may have already done your homework and know in advance how much annual leave you can take or whether the employer operates flexible working patterns.
If not, however, it is generally wise not to bring up issues around pay, holiday, hours at an interview as an employer will expect you to be more focussed on the job rather than the perks.
When you are offered the job, feel free to check these details with the employer or human resources department as you are in a better negotiating position. If the employer brings up these issues with you at the interview then answer questions honestly but you do not have to answer any personal questions such as:
Do you envisage childcare being a problem if you take on this role?
When an employer contacts you to let you know that you have been successful and that they would like to offer you the job, make sure that you have any questions you wish to ask them, to hand.
It may take time to organise suitable childcare so check with the employer the potential start date they have in mind. Be realistic don’t say you can start in a week’s time if you know it may be difficult to organise childcare by then.
It is fine at this point to discuss your salary scale and if there is any leverage to start at a higher point of the scale if your experience warrants it.
You may also wish to discuss flexible working opportunities to fit around your family commitments. Information on flexible working can be found later on in this booklet.
Once you are clear on your working conditions it’s time to make sure that everything is in place for you to start your first day at work!
And don’t forget to celebrate! You’ve made it!
What if you’re not successful?
If you have not been successful at the interview this time, don’t worry, most people experience a few interviews before they find the right job for them. Treat the interview you have had as practice and learn from it. Most employers are happy for you to call them back to ask for feedback as to why you weren’t successful. This information could be invaluable for your next interview.
If you feel that you have been unfairly treated at an interview and discriminated against for being a parent or for any other reason contact: www.acas.org.uk or call the helpline on: 08457 47 47 47 for information and advice on how to deal with this.
There are many reasons why you might wish to set up your own business. You may have identified a particular gap in the market, you may wish to supplement your existing income by setting up your own part-time business or it may be the employment solution that best fits your current circumstances. Before you set about starting your own business get specialist advice.
Contact the Sutton Business Start Up Team on:
020 8770 4015.
If you don’t live in Sutton Surrey, try to contact the Council from your town.
you can download interview success from here!
Feel free to ask if you need help with English to Romanian translation.
Practice answering possible interview questions with a friend or family member in advance – they will be able to provide vital feedback on how you come across at an interview.