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Tips for a successful interview

Whilst there is an element of luck at succeeding at interview, there are some general principals you can follow to ensure the best possible outcome:


  • - It can’t be overstated enough that first impressions count, so dress smartly and appropriately. While you may feel your colourful tie or stripy socks reveal your ‘creative’ side, sadly that’s all you may be remembered for once you’re assigned to the reject pile.
  • - Greet your interviewer with a smile and a firm (but not overbearing) handshake.
  • - Make sure you have the name/s of your interviewer/s committed to memory as it will show you are prepared and confident (even if you are quaking in your shoes a little!)


  • - Allow plenty of time to get to the interview and try and arrive ten minutes early. Your recruitment consultant should be able to send you a map so you can plan your route beforehand.
  • - Check how long the interview is likely to last so that you don’t have to worry about missing subsequent appointments.
  • - If you are going to be late, call your recruiter so they can advise the client. Your interviewer is likely to forgive you being 5 minutes late due to bad traffic / train delays, but if they are left waiting for you with no explanation, your chances of success are likely to be diminished before you even walk through the door.


  • - As mentioned above, learn the name of the people you are meeting, as well as their roles in the business.
  • - Ensure you know the format of the interview so that you’re not left with any nasty surprises when it’s announced you have to undertake a case study or presentation! Joking aside, many clients conduct at least two interviews in their recruitment process
    • - Often (but not always) the first interview will be a more generic, ‘get to know you’ meeting, to discuss your CV and understand more about your motivations for moving, what you can bring to the role and more about your personality in general.
    • - The second interview may be more technical (perhaps involving a case study, presentation or competency based questioning – see our separate article below for further information about competency based interviews).
    • - There is often a more informal, final interview where you get to meet other members of the team or business directors & managers
  • - Alongside ‘typical’ questions such as ‘Why would you like to work for this business?’ or ‘Why does this role interest you and what particular skills and experience do you think you can bring to the role?’, try and prepare yourself for the odd curveball question – see our separate article for common (and uncommon!) questions you might be asked.
  • - Research the company thoroughly by familiarising yourself with their website, any current news / financial news, online articles, personal profiles of interviewers, etc. Have a good understanding of the company structure and try and prepare some questions in advance.
  • - Study the job description thoroughly and make sure you understand what they are looking for.
  • - Make sure you know your CV inside out and be prepared to answer any questions regarding moves you’ve made, challenges you’ve faced, your strengths and weaknesses, your key achievements, reasons for leaving your current employment.

During the interview

  • - It might sound obvious but make sure you switch your phone off or turn it to silent!
  • - Maintain a professional tone throughout and think about your body language – try not to cross your arms or fidget. If being interviewed by more than one person, address your answers equally to both of them.
  • - Be attentive, responsive, courteous and honest - don’t try and pretend you know the answer to something you don’t – it will make you look unprofessional.
  • - Listen to the questions carefully, think before you speak and try not to rush your answers. Try and remain ‘on point’.
  • - Present your reasons for leaving in a positive light – i.e. seeking career development, a new challenge etc – rather than being negative or critical about your current organisation.
  • - Often candidates are remembered as much for their passion and enthusiasm as their technical / personal fit for the role, so let your enthusiasm shine! Demonstrate this by asking your interviewers about training, prospects for the company, ideas you have about the role, how you would seek to contribute to the company’s success.
  • - Remember it’s a two-way process – as much a chance to find out if they are right for you as you are for them.

After the interview

  • - Smile (again!) and thank your interviewer for their time.
  • - Contact your consultant after the meeting to let them know how you felt it went. From a consultant’s perspective, it’s difficult to convey a candidate’s enthusiasm to the client if they are unable to contact you!
  • - Let your consultant know about any concerns you may have – it’s always better to iron these out at the start of the process than the end, and if your recruiter is doing their job properly, they should be there to support you and help smooth the journey.

Good luck!