After the euphoria of receiving the news you have been asked to attend an interview, the concern can set in, particularly if you haven’t been in an interview situation for a while. Here are some simple tips for Interviewees.  Remember your application must have made an impression so now you need to build on this success and your interview performance will mainly rest on 3 things….Preparation, Impression, Content


You’ve heard it said a dozen times…‘Fail to Prepare, prepare to fail’

Read all the information that you receive from the company/ organisation, often there is valuable material to draw on in addition to date, time, location, address and parking information.

Who will be interviewing you? Names, Roles, Responsibilities? Look them up on LinkedIn!

Type of interview eg; panel, assessment centre, 121

Be clear on what is required eg; presentation, literacy numeracy test, trade or professional assessment etc;

If you have been asked to present ensure that you know what is available eg; flipchart, projector, laptop? And how you take your presentation, disc, memory stick (what programme to use and what version you need to save in), numbers of handouts required, timings etc; all crucial information, the more you know about your audience the better too.

Read through the Job Description and familiarise yourself with the required duties and match your abilities and experience remembering that your CV needs to also show this detail.

Read through the people profile if available and again relate your ‘SKABS’ -skills, knowledge, attributes, benefits and suitability to all the factors listed in the profile. If you have any gaps it is better to have addressed them and have a counter reaction just as in sales dealing with an objection. It is ok to have development areas providing they are not crucial requirements eg; a compliance qualification, look out for essential and desirable listings.

Research as much as you can about the company – products, services, markets, competitors, trends, current activities, priorities, make full use of internet, LinkedIn, contacts etc;

Prepare your answers for the type of questions you’ll be asked, especially, be able to say:

  • Why you want the job
  • What your strengths are (and weaknesses!)
  • How you’d do the job, you might be asked for ‘first week’, ‘first month’ priorities
  • What your best achievements are

Prepare good questions to ask at the interview.

Assemble hard evidence (make sure it’s clear and concise) of how and what you’ve achieved in the past – proof will put you ahead of those who merely talk about it.

Make sure your cv is up to date, looking very good and even if already supplied to the interviewer take three with you (one for the interviewer, one for you and a spare in case the interviewer brings a colleague in to the meeting).

Get hold of the following material and read it, and remember the relevant issues, and ask questions about the areas that relate to the organisation and the role. Obtain and research:

  • The company’s sales brochures and literature
  • A trade magazine covering the company’s market sector
  • A serious newspaper for the few days before the interview so you’re informed about world and national news.

Also worth getting hold of: company ‘in-house’ magazines or newsletters, competitor leaflets, local or national newspaper articles featuring the company.

Review your personal goals and be able to speak openly and honestly about them and how you plan to achieve them.

Ensure you have two or three really good reputable and relevant references, and check they’d each be happy to be contacted.

Decide what you are wearing the night before, clean, press as required, just think neat, tidy, comfortable and appropriate, where possible find out the dress code of the organisation and try to fit with this. Not a good look if your outfit looks worn, dirty or more appropriate for gardening or nightclubbing. For example, blue is thought by many people to represent formal business professionalism, which is fine for ‘professional’ job opportunities, but a smartly pressed blue business suit and crisp white shirt and tie won’t help you much in an interview for a role requiring care and compassion, working outdoors in all weathers, managing down-to-earth labourers, being bubbly and creative, or teaching disaffected kids.

What we wear should be an extension of our personality of course, but also importantly, indicates to the interviewer our ability to recognise what the employment situation and job requires.

No-one ever got a job because of the way they dressed whereas lots of people fail to get jobs because ‘something’ about their appearance put the interviewer off – maybe just a bit – but enough not to get the job.


Your first impression is the last thing you want the company to forget!

First impressions are very important; people make instant perceptions and decisions on you, simply from your appearance, 90% of people judge on the first 10 seconds of meeting you as to whether you get their full attention or lip service.

Adopt an enthusiastic, alert, positive mind-set.

Make sure that your image is right for the organisation and that as part of your preparations you have chosen your outfit wisely, always complete with a ‘smile!’

Body Language is key to your initial impression too, try and look relaxed with shoulders back, head up, look forward (into eyes as required, not at floor), remember your manners shake hands and smile, repeating their name as told.


Questioning nearly always centres around 3 things:

  • Your CV and YOU
  • Their Job and the Job duties
  • Your capability and experience of a similar or related to their job (Competency framework possible)

Particularly think about how to deal positively with any negative aspects – especially from the perspective of telling the truth, instead of evading or distorting facts, which rarely succeeds.

Always listen to the question, paraphrase so that they are aware that you are actively listening, and if you don’t understand make sure that you ask for clarity.

Answer the question they have asked you, not the one you think they asked you, be clear, precise and give example if needed but remain punchy with your response if that is what is required.

If you are unable to answer the question, be honest and apologise: “that not something I can give you an answer for” if you need time to think as for time to think.

Don’t criticise you previous company be tactful and professional with your answers to difficult or challenging questions.


Executive Coaching will help improve your decision-making, highlighting hidden assumptions. These days, most top performers in business work with a coach.

If you would like to invest in yourself and the value of your business then call me on 07730 700258 to arrange a free introductory Coaching session.