Interview Tips & Techniques

Interview Tips: The 9 Best Things to Prepare for and Do in an Interview to Get the Job

For some the thought of being interviewed is just terrifying! For others not so, but a lack of nerves can also lead to complacency and a poor, ill-prepared interview performance. The following pointers will get you to a place of confidence and with luck a successful job offer!

Research the Company… This is more than a quick 15 minute check the night before. Set some time to learn about the company products, services, vision, ethos and culture, financial position, recent news they have shared, competitors etc. Then with that knowledge be armed with a few questions to indicate your interest in the business going forward.

The more you can find out about the company and job up-front in the interview, the easier to sell your relevant skills and strengths, making it clear that you have something to deliver from day 1.

Prepare some examples… Most companies will use competency based interviews and this gives you a great opportunity to prepare a stockpile of material to use. Look at the role description and highlight the key competencies. If project management is in there, expect a question about project management; a management or leadership role, expect to be grilled on your leadership.

Don’t Forget the Basics– Out of the hundreds of interviews I have held over the years I am always surprised by how many people stumble on the basic questions e.g. ‘What would you describe as your 3 key strengths? 3 key development areas? Where do you see your career in 5-10 years’ time? In what circumstances/environment are you performing your best?’ An interviewer will be looking for you to be self-aware so make sure your answers are well thought through, practiced (out loud to yourself or a partner/friend/coach) and can be backed up with examples if needed.

Prepare your Body– Get a good night’s sleep the night or two before, do some gentle exercise when you wake up, get a good healthy breakfast and take it easy on the coffee. It’s important you feel as well and healthy as you can.

Dress the Part– Check beforehand what the dress code is. Turning up either significantly under-dressed or over-dressed will not create the right first impression or make you feel comfortable. I heard some great advice recently about dressing one notch up from the crowd. So if it is a casual dressed company, dress casual but with a killer pair of shoes, or a smart jacket for example.

Make a Super Introduction– You want the interviewer to warm to you, like you, even favour you when they first meet you – you have a few seconds to create the right first impression. Whether that be in the reception or in the interview room, stand up to greet your interviewer, shake their hand firmly (not in a vice-like grip but no floppy wrists either!) and deliver a clear, well-practiced introduction whilst maintaining eye contact and a smile. A good trick is to practice what you are going to say e.g. ‘Hello. I’m Emma Ryan, really great to meet you.’ (Clearly don’t call yourself Emma Ryan!) The more you practice and it is delivered genuinely and authentically, the less your introduction will be tainted by any nerves.

Continue to Build Rapport– It’s important you create a good relationship with your interviewer and so be genuinely interested in them. Ask questions about their experiences with the company but also look for clues about them personally and create a conversation e.g. “What do enjoy about working for this company?”, “I see you have a picture on the wall from India – when did you travel there?”

Keep your body language positive, lots of eye contact, smile, leaning forward or upright in your chair to show you are engaged and actively listening to the interviewer.

Follow up– Keep your communication open after the interview with a timely and brief thank you note/email e.g. ‘It was great to meet you today and thank you for the time. I really enjoyed hearing about your company and the exciting journey ahead. I look forward to discussing further with you how I could be a part of the company’s future.’ And in order to go the extra mile follow up with additional information about certain points you discussed in the interview. E.g. ‘Please find a link to the article/book/person we were discussing today’, ‘Please find attached details of the IT system you were interested in’

Enjoy it– People sometimes look at me strangely when I say I like being interviewed but I genuinely do for a number of reasons. I get to meet new people and find out about new companies, I get to remind myself of all the amazing experiences I have had in my career and how much I have learnt along the way. It’s the next step of my future and whether I get the job / assignment / work, or not, I usually come away with a new contact, some new insights having learnt something new about myself and others.

So, try to enjoy and see it as a positive experience and you’ll come across far more genuine and they will see the normal you, the person they will be working with and hopefully love you! And if they don’t then maybe it’s not the job or company for you anyway and there’s something even brighter out there for you.

Wishing you all the best and success in your next interview.

This article has been featured with the kind permission of Emma Ryan. Want to find out more tips or need help with your CV? Please contact Emma Ryan Coaching Solutions by emailing

Interview Tips: The Top 50 Interview Questions…

As an older worker you can increase your chances of finding that perfect job or in fact any job if you’re well prepared for your interview. As that famous saying goes “by failing to prepare, you’re preparing to fail.” Ok, let’s not get too dramatic but if you’re ready to answer some of the most common interview questions, you’ll be a step ahead of your competition; and as an older worker, that ‘step ahead’ is key. If you want further advice please contact Rob at – I’ll be happy to help you with answers to the questions below.

Here’s the Top 50 then;

What are your strengths?
What are your weaknesses?
Why are you interested in working for [insert company name here]?
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?
Why do you want to leave your current company?
Why was there a gap in your employment between [insert date]and [insert date]?
What can you offer us that someone else can not?
What are three things your former manager would like you to improve on?
Are you willing to relocate?
Are you willing to travel?
Tell me about an accomplishment you are most proud of.
Tell me about a time you made a mistake.
What is your dream job?
How did you hear about this position?
What would you look to accomplish in the first 30 days/60 days/90 days on the job?
Discuss your resume.
Discuss your educational background.
Describe yourself.
Tell me how you handled a difficult situation.
Why should we hire you?
Why are you looking for a new job?
Would you work holidays/weekends?
How would you deal with an angry or irate customer?
What are your salary requirements? (Hint: if you’re not sure what’s a fair salary range and compensation package, research the job title and/or company on Glassdoor.)
Give a time when you went above and beyond the requirements for a project.
Who are our competitors?
What was your biggest failure?
What motivates you?
What’s your availability?
Who’s your mentor?
Tell me about a time when you disagreed with your boss.
How do you handle pressure?
What is the name of our CEO?
What are your career goals?
What gets you up in the morning?
What would your direct reports say about you?
What were your bosses’ strengths/weaknesses?
If I called your boss right now and asked him what is an area that you could improve on, what would he say?
Are you a leader or a follower?
What was the last book you’ve read for fun?
What are your co-worker pet peeves?
What are your hobbies?
What is your favorite website?
What makes you uncomfortable?
What are some of your leadership experiences?
How would you fire someone?
What do you like the most and least about working in this industry?
Would you work 40+ hours a week?
What questions haven’t I asked you?
What questions do you have for me?

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