Interview Advice and Tips

Useful interviewing advice and tips, because first impressions matter.

“We will help you get your next position”

All candidates who register at Orchard Oak Recruitment for temporary, contract or permanent opportunities are interviewed and assessed by a member of the team. Interviews like these are important to ascertain your needs as well as gauge suitability for our clients and vacancies. We’ve pulled together a few tips that will help you during this stage of the recruitment process.

The Groundwork

It is obvious to say that you should be smartly dressed and well presented for any interview, with smart business attire (and clean, smart shoes).

To avoid getting stressed before to your interview allow enough time to get to the venue. You may wish to ‘recce’ the location first to work out travel times and confirm car parking facilities, bus/ trains times.

Don’t assume the company will have copy of your CV. Always have one available, your CV is your sales tool therefore make sure it is presented professionally and neatly, in a document folder or wallet. i.e. in a presenter or envelope.

Q & A

On arrival at your interview, remember that you are being assessed from the moment your arrive. Always greet the interviewee with a firm dry handshake. This shows your confidence, strength of character and your enthusiasm for the role/company.
It is always a good move to show your personality in an interview, so do show your sense of humour. Just avoid being the class clown or coming across was over-confident- or worse, arrogant.

Any professional interview will be a two way conversation. Have questions prepared to ask the interviewer. This shows your interest in the organisation/ role and indeed the person interviewing you.

When this time is available, focus your questions on the company, the role, the team. Avoid any direct financial gain (unless you are being interviewed for a sales role and) focus more on the development/ training you will receive. This will show your commitment.

During your interview you may be asked a variety of questions. Some may need a more involved answer than just one word. To help you with this, below are some examples of questioning techniques and assistance on how to answer them.

Tell me about yourself?

The interviewer is looking to gain a 360 degree statement about yourself. Here you should look to summarise your relevant education, work history, skills and qualifications. Within this statement you should be looking to match your attributes to the job specification and requirements of the role.

Describe your strengths and weaknesses

No-one likes to admit their weaknesses, but equally nobody is perfect. This question allows you to recognise those areas for improvement with a view to changing any behaviours. For example, a weakness may be time management – by recognising that, and explaining that you are aware of it is half the battle – you may wish to expand on this suggesting a ‘things to do list’ which helps you to make this a strength.

Why are you leaving your current role?

Always a difficult one to answer. It is unprofessional to be negative about a previous or current employer. Focus on what you are looking for in your next role.

Avoid any negativity towards your current/ past employer. However, should you be leaving because of company changes or redundancies it is fair to bring this to the interviewers attention and avoid speculation about your commitment.

What have you achieved in your current role?

Such a question allows you to show the interviewer your abilities and enthusiasm whilst expanding on your achievements; you may have been employee of the month, achieved a sales target, reduced costs or retained a client. If you have evidence of any of your achievements it is always worth while having these available. I.E certificates, bonus claim forms or client testimonials etc.

Why us?

Interviewers like to know that you want this job, not just a job. Researching the company will allow you to show this. This is the time where you can expand on the reasons why you have applied for the role, why you choose this company and not a competitor.
You may wish to review the websites for any recent acquisitions, share price changes, or company achievements

Why you?

Using the person specification, you may want to pick key areas to match your personal qualifications. For example if the client is requesting PC literacy, you may wish to expand on any IT qualifications such as NVQ, Word or Excel. Or if a client is seeking a professional accreditation or membership such as CeMAP, you may wish to have certificates available, or show evidence of learning.

What do you do in your spare time?

With this question, the client is trying to build an understanding of you as a person. For example, a sporting interest could denote if you are a team player. An activity as part of professional organisation could also prove your commitment to your career. Be aware of including too much detail though– you don’t want the interviewer to get the impression that you are not focused on the role at hand.

To conclude:

– Prepare
– ‘Recce’ the site
– Firm handshake
– Smile
– Listen to the questions
– Answer appropriately – give examples
– Ask questions
– Summarise your skills, attributes and desire for the role
– Thank all interviewers for their time
– Confirm your interest