Top Interview Techniques
Set yourself apart with strong interview skills
A winning face-to-face job interview can take you from candidate to new hire. Good preparation takes the pain out of the process; do your homework. As you get ready, follow these tips:
Example interview questions
Be prepared with answers and supporting examples to typical interview questions. Even if they don't come up, they will get you in the right frame of mind. Example questions include:
What are your career aspirations?
Why do you want to work for our company?
What interests you about our product or service?
Of your previous jobs, which did you enjoy most and why?
How have you managed conflict in the past?
Describe what you have done in your career that shows your initiative.
What are your weaknesses? Your strengths?
What style of management gets the best from you?
What have been your major achievements to date?
Remember you are being interviewed because the interviewer wants to hire somebody - not because they want to trip you up or embarrass you. Through the interaction that takes place during the interview, they will be searching out your strong and weak points, evaluating you on your qualifications, skills and intellectual qualities and will probably also seek to determine your attitudes, aptitudes, stability, motivation and maturity.
Making a strong positive impression
Succeeding at interview is more than just giving great answers.Your potential employer will be evaluating your total presentation and performance – not just your verbal responses – before making a decision. Here are some simple things likely to leave a strong positive impression:
an interested, balanced approach
open, informative replies
maintaining eye contact
a firm handshake
asking intelligent questions about the job
preparation and knowledge of the company and industry
enthusiasm for the role and the organisation
clear thought about your career planning and objectives
a positive 'can-do' attitude
Interview dos and don'ts
Here are a few more dos and don'ts for being at your best during an interview.
plan to arrive on time or a few minutes early. Late arrival for a job interview is never excusable.
greet the interviewer by their first name.
wait until you are offered a chair before sitting. Sit upright and always look alert and interested. Be a good listener as well as a good talker. Smile!
follow the interviewer's leads but try to get them to describe the position and duties early in the interview so you can relate your background and skills to the position.
make sure you convey your good points factually and sincerely. Keep in mind that you alone can sell yourself to an interviewer. Make them realise why they need you in their organisation.
always conduct yourself as if you are determined to get the job. Never close the door on an opportunity. It is better to be free to choose from a number of jobs rather than only one.
answer questions with a simple 'yes' or 'no'. Use the STAR technique (Situation, Task, Action, Result) wherever possible. Share things about yourself relating to the position. Read more about the STAR technique for answering interview questions in our guide.
lie. Always answer questions truthfully, frankly and as concisely as possible.
ever make derogatory remarks about your present or former employers, colleagues or companies.
'over-answer' questions. The interviewer may steer the conversation into politics or economics. It is best to answer the questions honestly, saying no more than is necessary.
let your discouragement show. If you get the impression the interview is not going well and you have already been rejected, don't show discouragement or alarm. Occasionally an interviewer who is genuinely interested in you may seem to discourage you in order to test your reaction.
ask about salary, bonuses or holidays at the first interview - unless you are positive the employer is interested in hiring you and raises the issue first. However, know your market value and be prepared to specify your required salary or range.