The key to a successful interview


Interview Preparation Tips by Dave Maher – FRS Recruitment

Ok, so you’ve got the interview. Halfway there. Now the power is your hands. For some people an interview can be a daunting prospect but it’s very simple, the more preparation you do, the calmer and more confident you will be in the interview, enabling you to perform to the best of your abilities. Clichéd as it may sound, Bejamin Franklin hit the nail on the head when he coined the phraze - “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” So with that in mind, here are some useful tips to ensure that you give yourself every chance to succeed.

Tip 1

Get a full run down of the job from your Recruiter / HR Manager. If you are dealing with a good Recruiter that knows the client well, you will be able to gather relevant information about the interviewers, company, specific requirements / role. Utilise the Recruiter to the max. At the very least, make sure you have a job spec and clear details about the interview; time, date, location, interviewers name, who to ask for on arrival. It is also vitally important you know the style of interview. Is it competency based, behavioural, etc? This piece is crucial as it will determine the type of prep work you do.

Tip 2

Ok, so you are now armed with all the info about the position & company, next step is to do your research. I would start this by printing off your CV and the job spec, and highlighting the key / must have’s on the spec. For example, the client may require you to have strong analytical skills. In this instance, I would expect the client to ask questions around your proficiency in this area so best to have a number of examples of you demonstrating good analytical skills. I would pluck 5 or 6 of the main points from the spec and get a number of examples of you demonstrating this skill from past experiences throughout your work career. Also make sure you read up on the company and their product / service range, competitors, market position, etc.

Tip 3

After reading the spec, we can now make an educated guess as to what the interviewer might ask. For each of the 5 or 6 points you have highlighted on your CV, you now need to have relevant examples ready to go. Generally it is best to construct your examples around the ‘STAR’ technique. This acronym stands for Situation, Task, Action and Result. You need each example to be built around this. Let’s simplify this, all you are required to do is tell a story incorporating the competency. Start off by setting the scene, what problem / issue arose and what did you do to ensure a positive outcome. Easy as that!

Tip 4

At this stage you have now completed all your prep work. Make sure you dress appropriately. Again, your Recruiter will be an invaluable source here. If it’s an office based role, a suit may be the correct attire. For other roles, a more informal option might be better. Remember, if you are unsure, it is always best to dress up and wear a suit.

Tip 5

Ok, the day has arrived and you have done all your prep. Well done!. If possible, take a day off work so you have time to go over the final details at your leisure without needing to respond to emails /calls. On the day of the interview, I would always recommend doing light exercise or breathing exercise to help you relax. Remember it is normal to get nervous. The interviewers will expect candidates to be a little nervous. If you suffer very badly from anxiety / nervousness, I would recommend looking into doing an 8 week course on mindfulness - This will help you combat extreme anxiety. For most people, breathing exercise will suffice to keep the nerves to a minimum.

Tip 6

Arrive to your destination early, anticipate traffic delays. It is key you arrive on time. If there are two interviewers, I would bring two copies of your CV laminated / bound. When you get into the interview room, present both interviewers with a copy of your CV.

Tip 7

Focus on your breathing throughout the interview as this will help your mind to stay fresh. Remember to listen to the question asked and take your time answering. No harm in asking the interviewer to repeat the question if necessary. Keep your answers concise and avoid waffling. Remember, less is often more! Try and enjoy the interview, and don’t be afraid to inject some humour.

Tip 8

When the interview is done, drop the Recruiter / HR Manager a nicely worded email thanking the company for their time.

Final Tip

Everything is done now. You can’t do any more. The wait for a response can be a challenge, but try and go about your life as normal. If it is meant to be, it will happen.


If you are looking for your next career move or are an employer looking for top talent contact Dave Maher on +353 (0)1 659 9666.

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