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Interview Hints & Tips

Here at CHR, we’re committed to helping you as much as possible through this journey. Therefore, we have compiled a list of top tips for a successful interview.

Research the industry and company

Your interviewer may ask your perception of their company’s position in the industry. It is important to understand what the company does, what their competitive advantage is, and how it stands out from their competitors. You should also know why you want to join the company and what is it that attracts you to working for them?


Prepare for common interview questions

We cannot reiterate how important it is to be prepared for the basic common interview questions, such as: Tell me about yourself. Why you do want this job? What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? and so on. Ensure that you prepare your answers so that you do not stumble.


Line up your questions for the interviewer

At the end of the interview, the interviewer will ask if you have any questions. You must be prepared with questions to ask the interviewer to demonstrate the research that you have completed and show your interest in the opportunity. Examples of these include: “What are the growth plans for the organisation?”, “What attracted you to work for the company?” and “Is there anything about my application that you do not like?”.

If you are having a series of interviews with the same company, you can use some of your prepared questions with each individual you meet. Try to think of one or two others that relate to the interview itself.


Practice, practice, practice

Practice makes perfect…Utilise your recruiter, friends and family to stage mock interviews with you before the big day. Practice your answers, repeat these and plan ahead – you will sound smoother and more articulate.


Be ready for different types of interviews questions

Behavioural / Situational: These are asked to understand the way you work and the potential team fit.
Practical: a work situation is replicated to test a candidate’s ability and skill in performing critical and frequently performed job duties.
Competency: These are asked to assess the specific skills and knowledge you possess that are relevant for the job.


Structuring your answers

With many stylistic interview questions, it can be helpful to structure your answers using the STAR method – Situation, Task, Action, Result.

Situation: Describe the situation you were in, when it took place and what your role was.
Task: Explain the task and what goal was set.
Action: Provide details about the action you took to attain this as an individual.
Result: Conclude with the result of your action – what has this taught you and what lessons will you take forward?


First impressions count

Studies indicate that the first five minutes of the interview are the most crucial, and that interviewers make their minds up about candidates in this time. They spend the rest of the time confirming their initial thoughts. Therefore the first five minutes for you as the candidate are the most important. You must come enter the interview with energy, enthusiasm and positivity and continue with this throughout. The final five minutes are just as important, and remember to thank the interviewer for their time.


Bring a copy of your CV to every interview

Ensure you take a copy or two of your CV to every interview. This shows you are well prepared and can help on the off chance the interviewer has misplaced a copy of your CV.


Body language is key

Be authentic! Focus on your interpersonal skills, start your interview with a firm handshake. Remember to make eye contact, speak clearly and dress appropriately.


Be assertive and take responsibility for the interview

Politeness does not equal passivity – some candidates who are usually assertive become overly passive during interviews in the effort to be polite. Be forthcoming with information and ensure that you communicate your strengths and achievements to the interviewer. It is your responsibility to make sure that the interviewer will leave knowing your key selling points.


See the Optimism

Remember to stay positive. Interviewers may ask you questions around negative experiences, but it is important to spin these to show strengths. For example, “Describe a time where things went wrong.” – this is a great question to show learning opportunities, development opportunities and what went well. Talk about how you are well equipped for when a similar scenario arises again in the future.


Clarify your “selling points” and the reasons you want the job

It is important to go into every interview knowing why you want the role. Have three to five key selling points in mind as to why you are the best candidate for the position. Examples of these are vital, and you must clearly communicate what your motivations are, what interests you in the role and what you can bring to the position. An example would be: “I have good communication skills. For example, I persuaded an entire group to…”


Anticipate the interviewer’s concerns and reservations

There are often more candidates than there are openings. Interviewers are always looking for the best of the best. If you have any doubts about your application, put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes and ask yourself, what are the reservations they may have about hiring you? (For example, “I don’t have a certain skill set”) Think about your strengths and sell against these and make sure to reply positively. For example, “My desire to develop myself is second to none and if there is something I don’t know, I go out of my way to gain an understanding”


Close on a positive note

If a salesman pitched his product to you, thanked you for your time and then left, what mistake did he make? He did not ask you to purchase the product! If you reach the end of an interview and believe that you are the right fit for the job, ask for it! Tell the interviewer how you are excited about the opportunity and that you would be a good fit for the organisation. If the interviewer has interviewed both you and another equally good candidate, they are more likely to offer the candidate who they believe will accept the offer, which will be you if your passion is demonstrated during the interview.


Send thank-you notes

Always thank your interviewer at the end of your interview. Although not customary, it can be advantageous to send a thank you note with a small recap of the interview and why you want the job to your recruiter who can use this when discussing feedback with the interviewer.
Keep the note brief and focus on a key selling point from the interview. Mention an important duty of the role and how this excites you. – This can help secure you the role, if the interviewer is deciding between two people.