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Job interview tips and common questions watch

    • Thread Starter

    Thought I'd share my list of job interview tips which I thought people might find useful:

    Find out about the company:

    • What are its products or services?
    • What size is it?
    • Who are its competitors?
    You may wish to do some personal research.

    Ask for a job description before the interview to find out which of your skills and qualifications are relevant to the company. This will help you to prepare specifically for this job.

    - Find out about the structure of the interview.
    Most interviews follow a similar format:
    1. Questions based on your CV to explain your career path and ambitions
    • Pick out your skills or achievements that are directly relevant, and rehearse these
    • Be prepared to explain any unusual parts of your CV, such as any time taken out from employment or education
    2. General questions about you
    • How much do you know about the job?
    • What interests you about the job?
    • What skills or experience do you have that make you right for this job?
    • Why did you leave your last company?
    • What interests you about this company?
    • When have you had an opportunity to show initiative?
    • Who and what were you responsible for in your last job?
    • Can you give an example of when you coped well under pressure?
    • Do you prefer to work as an individual or as part of a team?
    • What are your three biggest achievements so far in your career?
    • What do you see as your good and bad characteristics?
    • What are your long term goals? How are you going to succeed in achieving them?
    • Tell me more about your hobbies and interests?
    • Are you considering any other jobs?
    3. Telling you about the company and position
    • Which department the vacancy is in, and how that fits into the company
    • Who you would be working for and with
    4. Your questions
    • Asking relevant questions shows you are interested, organised and able to plan ahead
    • Salary and benefits are important, but an employer will be more impressed if you ask questions about the company, the department and the job first
    • Good questions to ask are about training opportunities, who you will report to, who you will be working with, promotion prospects, what the working hours are and if there are peak periods when you will be expected to work longer hours
    5. Informing you of the next stage of the process and when you will hear if you have been successful
    • Whether there is a second or third round of interviews
    Find out about the details of the interview

    - What is the date, time and location?
    Allow plenty of time for the journey and aim to arrive at least ten minutes early. If you are held up, phone ahead and let them know. Do a trial run at getting there if necessary, and don't forget to check timetables or parking availability.

    - Who will be interviewing you?
    Be prepared for the possibility of a panel interview. In a panel interview, answer questions looking from one interviewer to another.

    - How should you dress?
    First impressions are important! Dress suitably for the company, and don't overdo your makeup, jewellery and perfume or aftershave. Hair should be clean and tidy. Take just one neat bag or briefcase with you. Be smart and clean, but make sure you are wearing something you are comfortable in. It is best to wear a slightly different outfit for a second interview at the same company, but do be as smart.

    - What should you take?
    A copy of your current CV (see the Amber Personnel information on CV advice - PM me if you want this) and all relevant certificates and references. A notepad and pen may also be handy, along with a few questions to ask the interviewer.

    - Ensure your personal safety
    • Make sure you are happy with the credentials of the recruiting company
    • If the interview is not held at the employer's office, ensure it is in a public place e.g. a hotel foyer
    • Make sure that someone knows where you are being interviewed
    • Make sure you have transport home arranged - do not accept a lift


    - How to behave
    • Shake the interviewer's hand firmly if he/she offers
    • Take the lead from the interviewer - note whether their attitude is formal or relaxed
    • Make eye contact (but don't stare!)
    • Smile where appropriate
    • Don't sit down until you are asked
    • Look alert and sit upright
    • Rest your hands on the table or on your lap to look calm and prevent fiddling
    • Don't eat or smoke even if invited, but do accept a coffee, tea or water if you want to

    - Answering questions
    • Listen carefully and concentrate, and don't interrupt
    • Show interest
    • Talk slowly and clearly
    • Keep your answers clear and to the point and avoid talking for too long
    • Take time if necessary before answering a question or ask for clarification if you are unsure of the meaning
    • Don't be afraid to admit if you can't answer the question
    • Don't criticise your current employer, or reveal confidential information
    • Be honest
    • Find opportunities to sell yourself, relating your skills to the job. An employer is looking for determination, enthusiasm and a willingness to learn
    • Concentrate on positive words, such as "enjoy" and "enthusiastic"

    - Asking questions
    • Make questions relevant
    • Show that you have researched the company
    • Ask about training and who you will be working with
    • Leave questions about salary and benefits until a later stage of interviewing
    • Ask when you will be given a decision
    When the interview ends, do say if you haven't had the opportunity to put a point across or to ask a question. Say if you are interested in the job and thank the interviewer for seeing you.

    - After the interview

    If the interview does not create a job offer, do not be too disappointed. It is excellent experience for the future and it will help you to build on your interview technique.

    Blimey, so many threads asking 'what will I be asked at my interview', and I'm likely to get RSI form typing out the same thing over and over again. As the thread title said, ENOUGH. So I thought I would type out all the questions I think you could be asked, and some ideas for the answers. Please feel free to add to the list. If people don't mind, any others questions people think of I will edit into the list in this post so people can easily access it without trawling through the thread!

    Why do you want this job?
    This answer should be positive. So, for example, you want the experience, or you want to develop expertise in this area, or you have a similar job before and enjoyed it, or it is a personal interest. Do not mention money, and do not **** off your previous employers.

    What qualities do you think you will need?
    There are obvious qualities that will be needed for every job. So, for example, communication skills, a good work ethic, a will to learn, customer service skills, problem solving, analysing, leadership, teamwork etc. For further clues, you could also have a look at the Job spec. If it actually says in the Spec what the ideal candidate needs to be able to do, then that is your answer!

    What will you bring to the job?
    Same answer as above really, but also mention anything you have done in the past that is relevant, especially if you were successful at it! Just 'experience' is also good.

    Why do you want to work for this company?
    Similar to 'why do you want the job' but here is your chance to show you have researched the company. Try and come up with one positive that the company has. For example, GAME have a reputation for being specialists. Avoid saying things like you want shorter hours or they're more flexible or whatever. Just be really complimentary about the company!

    What interests you about our products?
    Research for this one is key. For example, in Debenhams, I would at this point list off some of the designers (John Rocha, Jasper Conran, Nigel Cabourn etc) and say they have a great reputation.

    What can we offer that your last job didnt?
    Be very careful. Again, avoid money or anything which could be conceived as being 'greedy'. Personal development, job satisfaction and new challenges are all good answers!

    Tell me about yourself.
    This is a really awkward 'question'. Basically, don't go into too much detail. Don't go back into childhood experiences or say anything negative. In a way, this question could be re-phrased as 'tell me some good things about you'. So, for example, you could say that you enjoy playing football and you were the captain of your local team (this shows leadership).

    What about the position do you like?
    This should be things such as the challenge, you enjoy working with the product area (clothes?), good location, nice facilities, good atmosphere etc. If they ask you to list things you don't like, only mention small things that really don't matter (the uniform isn't the nicest colour!)

    Give me an example of a time you helped someone?
    These ones can sound hard, but they're really not. Even if you have no work experience, it can be something that seems really insignificant if it shows you in a good light. As I have worked in a shop, my standard answer is about someone who came into the shop, I solved their problem, then did something extra for them to leave a good impression, and then made sure the problem couldn't be repeated. If you haven't worked before, how about a time you have helped a friend when they were feeling down?

    Why are you leaving your current job (if relevant)?
    New challenges, want to move into a different area of the industry, personal development etc. Do not mention money, or working hours, or if you've had an argument with someone, or if you didn't like the job etc.

    Name 3 good things and 3 bad things about yourself.
    The good is easy: leadership, communication, teamwork, customer service, quick learner etc etc. The bad things: there is a lot of debate about this. Don't say 'nothing', obviously. I personally would go for something that can also be seen as good, for example: "I am a bit of a perfectionist so sometimes I can overrun on certain tasks", or, "sometimes I need to slow down a bit, as I am keen to get things done but this sometimes means I miss detail" etc etc. The other approach is to point out things that really aren't relevant to work: my handwriting is scruffy. Another way this question could be asked is "if I spoke to your old boss/teacher, what would he say are your strengths and weaknesses".

    Can you work under pressure and meet deadlines?
    Obviously, this is a yes, but try and give evidence of this. For example, "at Christmas we had to merchandise a fixture in an hour and we did in half an hour even though the shop was busy". If you haven't worked, can be something simple like "I handed in all my coursework with time to spare".

    What sort of pay would you expect?
    For a lot of part-time work this isn't applicable. But if you are ever asked this, reply with a question: "what is your range for someone in my position". If they don't give an answer, specify a range (set your minimum above what your real minimum is).

    What was the last film you saw?
    Sounds odd but it is asked. Mention something mainstream that everyone will know, and obviously, no psycho-killer films. Just something nice and, well, normal, lol.

    great post Eeyore, very reassuring tips and advice!
    • Thread Starter

    (Original post by ~nat~)
    great post Eeyore, very reassuring tips and advice!
    I found it really useful, yeah! It's a slightly edited version of something which I was sent by a job agency, thought people might find it useful!

    Wow! there is lots of useful information! Thanks! I think These tips will help me when i get a interview (but b4 that i got to get one first lol~)

    I'd give some tips, but I just got rejected by Ottakers lol

    Be yourself...it didn't work for me but it may for you!

    wow that woz great! thanks for that... Xxx

    Good advice.

    i do all those things but i dunt see to get a job

    A tip with coffee and tea, don't accept it and drink it just before the interview - I've interviewed people and the worst thing is when they have bad breath, no employer wants an employee that's going to disgust their customers. Always take a mint/chewing gum but finish it before the interview.

    Also try not to seem uptight - employers understand if you're nervous but you need to prove you're outgoing and can overcome it!

    i think i try to hard and come across as fake

    next interview im going to i am not going to try so hard

    thanks, good tips

    yay i really needed this at the moment! i'm doing the opposite to most of them lately. i've just had an interview where they said it was an informal chat, and i even did badly on that!

    I've got a job interview tomorrow... I'm really nervous. I found a list of similar questions on the internet when I was preparing for the telephone interview... didn't actually get asked any of them, got asked questions such as "if you were on a trip in the welsh mountains and you realised you had lost two members of your party how would you go about finding them?" Something like that, only "it was getting dark" and that kind of stuff... Think I'll need the type f questions listed above for my fce to face interview tomorrow though.

    The website I found before was http://jobsearch.about.com/od/interv...rviewquest.htm it has a list of questions, and some sample answers to some of them.

    Gonna be fun finding my interview tomorrow... Its in some hotel... lol. I think I'll look it up on autoroute in a bit...

    Wish me luck...


    For panel interviews make sure you're completely on top of your CV, the background of the company and have a couple of questions to ask them. You won't have any pause to think as a favourite tactic is to keep firing questions at you. Make sure you don't get flustered, make sure you look at whomever is talking to you and don't get put off if one of the interviewers just sits there and maybe makes notes .

    (Original post by Casey)
    For panel interviews make sure you're completely on top of your CV, the background of the company and have a couple of questions to ask them. You won't have any pause to think as a favourite tactic is to keep firing questions at you. Make sure you don't get flustered, make sure you look at whomever is talking to you and don't get put off if one of the interviewers just sits there and maybe makes notes .
    And don't pick your nose. That's a definate "no no"

    Here is a very nice guide to interview dress etiquette. In depth and illustrated with nice pics. It covers a lot more of the finer details that are important for serious career interviews.

    For men:

    For women:

    hope it helps,


    I guess I'm not allowed to post a link. Too bad, because its a great free guide. You can check it out at ********* if you are interested.


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