Interview Preparation

Almost all jobs in Ireland are filled using interviews as the primary selection method - this means that interview preparation is one of the most important factors in securing the position you want.

You need to know the company you’re seeking to work with so do your research beforehand, either directly or indirectly. Preparation demonstrates interest and keenness.

  • Like the other sectors, there are a number of aspects you need to consider and prepare for:
  • Preparation for the interview
  • The actual interview
  • Analysing how the interview went

STEP 1 - Research & Preparation

Housekeeping - time and place of interview, who you are meeting and what they do, confirmation that you are attending & how you are going to present yourself

Unique Selling Points - Review your self assessment results so that you are able to recall your 5/6 key skills and experiences during the interview - these are the attributes you want the interviewer(s) to remember you for.  They must be relevant to the company and the job you are interviewing for. Include one or more of your personal characteristics, skills, experience achievements, conflicts you have been involved in / managed, contributions you have made to the companyies you have worked for.Generate a list of advantages your have as a result of previous employment - these are really useful when walking through your career history. Remember the interviewer doesn't know you or what you can do - it is your job to make sure that they do when the interview is over.

Career Knowledge - be prepared to answer relevant questions about recent jobs, make sure you present your past employers in a positive light and be enthusiastic about their achievements, how they helped you and the kind of relationship you developed with them

Company knowledge - find out as much relevant and factual information as you can about the company you are meeting : cover products, locations, culture etc.

Job Knowledge - review the job description you have thoroughly, feel free to talk to the agency in advance to clarify any uncertainties. Make a list of questions you have about the position as it helps to be prepared

Step 2 - The interview itself

Housekeeping: be on time, dress to impress and keep clam. Your interview begins when you enter the car park, meet the receptionist and travel to the interview room. Smile, have a firm handshake and show that you are delighted to be there. It is natural to be nervous however don't let your nerves overshadow you and what you have to offer

Dress: First impressions last. Always dress to suit the image of the successful job holder in the organisation you are being interviewed for. Good grooming is essential

Be Honest: Honesty at an interview is essential and has three main aspects : truth, candour and consistency

Be Calm & Composed: Skilled interviewers will look for patterns of behaviour - never criticise previous employers, be positive and don't get flustered. Always summarise your key strengths at the end of the interview

Salary Questions: These are always tricky to answer and you need to be clear in your own mind what the job is worth in today's market vs what your own personal requirements are. This demonstrates a reasonable and practical approach to any employer

References: Ensure that you have agreed what your references will say about you in advance of an interview. You can then provide the interviewer with names and contact details quickly

Closure: The interviewer will generally ask you if you have any questions. This is your opportunity to ask probing questions about the company and the role which in turn should give you a chance to highlight any experience you have in doing the same job or solving the same problems. Ask the interviewer if there is anything else that they need to know, if they see any obvious gaps in your experience that limit you in their role, explain again what you have to offer, be complimentary about the company and your desire to work there. Ask what the next steps are and leave promply.

Step 3 – Analysing how the interview went

As soon as you leave the interview, sit down and answer the following questions. You are looking for opportunities to improve.

  • Did I answer the questions in a way that stressed the most important aspects - my achievements, ability, willingness, suitability
  • Did I control the content of my answers, did I waffle, were my answers thought through and structured
  • Did I appear confident and reveal a genuine enthusiasm for the job
  • Was I energetic and did I give a god summary
  • Was I relaxed and in control of myself
  • How did I deal with awkward questions
  • Did I bring up irrelevant or unsuitable information
  • Did I satisfy the interviewer that I had good knowledge of their company and had done the research
  • Did I look my best and did I show development potential
  • Did I give good eye contact and did I present an accurate and favourable picture of myself
  • If appropriate, it is good practice to follow up with a handwritten note or email to thanks the interviewer for their time.