Preparing for Interviews: A Beginners Guide

Congratulations you have secured that an interview, you are almost there! We have helped many clients who may not have had an interview in some time or perhaps get the interviews but then do not get through to the next stage, does this sound familiar?


Preparation, Preparation, Preparation

The key to ensuring a successful interview is to prepare. Good preparation will shine through and will help calm nerves and increase confidence. Preparation includes researching the company to find out what they do, what services they offer and what they make? Look at websites, brochures or perhaps pay the company a visit. Look through the job advert and job description to ensure you know what the job entails and what is expected from you, this will then help you to prepare answers to potential questions that they might ask. You can pretty much guarantee based on the essential criteria, they will ask you questions around this.

Personal preparation is also essential, ensuring a smart and presentable appearance, but also that you are comfortable. Ensure you check what you need to bring with you such as certificates or ID and get this ready the night before. Ensure you know where you are going, and perhaps you will want to consider a dummy run to plan your travel in plenty of time. Always aim to arrive 10 minutes before.

Have you checked to see what the interview will involve? This could include anything from a panel interview, screening interview, competency, group and assessment based. Some interviews may also require you to prepare a presentation so make sure you check the guidelines for this.

Its also important to remember that it is not what you say, it’s how you say it.



  • Firm positive handshake – not limp, not bone crushing
  • When invited to sit down, check which seat – ask if unsure
  • Check your posture, don’t slouch. Sit slightly forward and look alert and interested
  • Don’t fidget. Pick a position for your legs that is comfortable (and appropriate)
  • Make eye contact but not continuously, as it can look aggressive – if it is a panel interview, concentrate on the person asking the questions, but shift eye contact to the other panel members to include them
  • Listen carefully to the information you are given and the questions you are asked
  • Give clear full answers without going off the point or rambling and make sure you answer the question
  • You need to stress your suitability for the job without seeming arrogant or over confident – don’t lie or exaggerate
  • Thank the interviewer for their time – Smile, shake hands and wait to be shown out. Make a good impression on leaving. Smile at the Receptionist, he/she may be asked for an opinion.


Competency Based Questions

Competency based questions are a popular way to assess suitability for a particular role. Examples can include Can you tell me about a time when you have worked as part of a team? or Talk me through when you have demonstrated good customer service skills?

To best answer these questions you can use the STAR Method which will show when you have demonstrated a particular competency.

Situation – Outline the job you were doing /situation you were in (brief background)

Task – Describe what you needed to do in that situation

Action – Explain what you did, how you did it and why

Result – What was the successful outcome of your actions (using specific examples)


Still want help preparing for interviews or perhaps you want to run through a mock interview. Please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.