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Interview Notes Print E-mail

The Interview

Be well prepared and make your interview stand out from the rest.
Be honest - highlight your achievements and play down any weaknesses.

Preparation is the Key to Success

Gather information about the Company and the position. Company leaflets or a prospectus may be available.

Make sure you know:

  • The name and title of the interviewer
  • Job description in detail
  • Company telephone number (for any delays - please phone)
  • Take with you a pen and small pad of paper: You may be required to form fill or you may wish to make notes
  • List your strengths and weaknesses in relation to the requirements of the position and devise strategies to overcome the weaknesses
  • Prepare questions about the post, the company and your potential position
    • Why is the post available?
    • What are the prospects of promotion/training/expansion?
    • How does the position fit in the structure of the company?


First impressions are strongest so ensure that your appearance is appropriate. Your style of dress says a great deal about you and can show the interviewer what sort of person you are. It may give an indication about how you will/will not fit into the company.


  • Wear a smart suit or dress/skirt with a jacket
  • If you carry a briefcase try not to carry a handbag as well
  • Low to medium heels are more practical than high heels


  • A smart dark suit is essential. Make sure that it is clean and well pressed
  • Avoid loud colours or a trendy style - a conservative appearance is best
  • A white shirt is safest with a smart, more traditional tie
  • Black, polished shoes with dark socks should be worn

Last Minute Checks

Arrive slightly early. If you are delayed, phone to advise them of your expected arrival time. Allow time to visit the washroom to check on your appearance.

Check through your preparatory notes, boosting your confidence with the knowledge that you are ideally suited for the position applied for. Think positively, you are well prepared and there is every reason to think that you will be successful.

Do not allow yourself to be intimidated by other applicants, receptionists, or the interviewer.

Relax and smile as you greet the interviewer. Look him/her directly in the eye. The handshake should be firm and confident but not too strong. Introduce yourself and use the interviewer's name.

Questions will be searching and testing

  • Are you qualified to do the job?
  • Will you fit in with other employees?
  • Is your work attitude one that is desirable?
  • Is the correct package being offered?
  • Do you fit in with Company image?

The Interview


  • Keep calm and try to appear composed and confident, but not bumptious
  • Listen carefully to the questions and do not interrupt
  • Keep answers brief, informative and relevant
  • Be positive about yourself, the Company, previous employers and your own abilities
  • Show that you have researched the Company background and have an interest in it
  • Do not be offended if the interviewer appears not to like you or to be critical of you or your answers
  • Use any information you have gleaned from the interviewer to your advantage

Do not:

  • Smoke, even if invited to do so
  • Sit down until asked
  • Allow yourself to be drawn into a discussion on politics, race or religion
  • Ask about benefits such as holidays, overtime, medical insurance or salary
  • Look at your watch, out of the window or generally appear to be bored and uninterested


  • Be honest
    Treat your interviewer with respect, whilst not appearing to be lacking in confidence
  • Have some questions ready for the interviewer at the end
    If everything has been covered you could ask if there is anything he is looking for which he has not seen in you. Try to give positive responses.

Should you decide part way through the interview that the position is not what you want, continue to the end as if nothing had changed. More information may come to light to make you change your mind again. You should allow yourself time to consider the position should it be offered to you.

Questions likely to arise

It is the job of the interviewer to find out if you are the right person for the job, so there are likely to be some difficult questions. This is the time when you must be sure of your strengths and weaknesses and give clear and precise answers, always showing the value of your skills, experience and personality to the employer.

Why do you feel you have relevant experience for this position?

This question enables you to sell yourself but some caution is needed. Make sure that you understand what the interviewer is looking for and if you are unsure, then ask. If, for instance, you have experience on a particular piece of equipment or particular specialist knowledge this must be highlighted. You may also point out your ability to work efficiently to deadlines, under pressure, within a team or alone when required. Highlight the points that are the specific requirements of the post.

Why do you wish to work for this Company?

This question is where your preparation is very useful. You should be able to list attributes which make a post in this particular Company attractive to you. You could highlight the product, the reputation of the Company and mention the career structure and your wish to be part of a team. You must ensure that the interviewer understands that you have an interest in the Company and that your motivation in applying is not purely one of personal gain.

What is your biggest accomplishment?

Keep your answers work related, not social or athletic. If you do not have an appropriate answer you might imply that your biggest achievements are still ahead of you. You could highlight something that you have been involved with as part of a team where some goal has been achieved, emphasising your own involvement and participation.

How long would you wish to stay with this Company?

This question always needs a positive answer and possibly you could answer it with another question implying that you would wish to continue as long as there is scope for professional growth. Is there possibility for promotion in the future? The point to emphasise is that while you are ambitious you are the kind of person who is willing to be committed to a post and your employer.


Be very cautious when answering this question - it could lead to an instant elimination from the short list. The Company will already have a pay scale and you should try to be aware of what the position is worth, so do not over-price yourself. An appropriate answer would be to highlight your experience, say how much you want to work for this particular Company and trust that the offer would be a fair one. It would be acceptable at this point to ask what figure they had in mind. You may already have a fair idea from Opus Mitchell Group.

What is your biggest Strength?

Keep this work related. Emphasise the things that are relevant to the particular post, giving examples from your previous employment. Non specific examples may be: conscientious, hard working, quick learner, intelligent etc.

What is your biggest Weakness?

Nobody is perfect and the interviewer will not expect you to be. It is a good idea to highlight a weakness and then say how you have tried to overcome it. You may say that you are unsure of a particular computer system, but have bought some books to solve the problem or are attending an evening course on the subject. Do not mention any weakness without also mentioning a possible remedy.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

Think carefully. If the post is a long term prospect it is no good implying that you will have taken early retirement, won the lottery or be Managing Director of ICI. Think about your personal ambitions and what the Company seem to expect and answer accordingly.

Good Luck in your search for employment. If you need more help and advice please contact us.


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