Succeeding in Your
Interviews can often be difficult for both
the interviewee and interviewer. If you
prepare properly, then you should be able to
overcome the many obsticles an interviewer
can place in your way.
Before your interview, find out everything
you can about the company (read their annual
report which can be obtained by telephoning
them). Go to their Web site. Re-read your
application, thinking through your own
career and the questions they might ask you.
You should try to anticipate the general
questions which they will ask (some examples
appear below) and also prepare some
questions to ask them.
To do well in the interview you need to
convince the interviewer you are qualified.
You need to show you are motivated to do the
job well and that you will fit in with the
company's structure and people.
What you wear to the interview is essential.
You never get a second chance to make a
first impression. Dress conservatively but
appropriate for the position. Pay attention
to details such as your hair, makeup,
pressed clothes and polished shoes.
Decisions to hire or reject are often made
in the first four to five minutes of an
Leave in plenty of time to get to the
interview. Assume you may be delayed by
traffic or for other reasons. Be courteous
and friendly to all employees of the
company. At the interview itself you must be
positive about yourself and your abilities.
In general, avoid all negative answers.
Typical Job Interview Questions
Concentrate and listen very carefully to the
questions. Make sure you understand the
question before offering any answer. Allow
the interviewer to finish asking the
question before offering an answer. If you
miss the question or are not sure about it,
rephrase the key words and ask the
interviewer to clarify. Do not attempt to
answer without fully understanding the
question. If you do not anticipate a
question and have not prepared an answer for
it, pause and think before offering one. It
is better to think carefully for an
appropriate answer than to offer an answer
in a hurry. Make sure you do not spend too
much time thinking.
Before attending an interview, think about
your responses to the following typical
questions. Go through your responses before
each interview. Of course, the questions you
may be asked will vary, but these will allow
you to better prepare for your interview.
Why do you want this job?
Stress the positive aspects which prompted
you to apply. Do not mention any negative
What qualities do you think will be
required for this job?
The advertisement for the job may help, but
also think of the other qualities that may
be needed. These may include leadership
ability, supervisory skills, communication
skills, interpersonal skills, problem
solving, analytical skills, etc
What can you
This is your chance to shine. Tell them
about your achievements in your previous
position(s) relevant to the new position.
Why would you
want to work for us?
Emphasize the positive reasons why you want
to join their company. Avoid concepts such
as more money or shorter hours.
Why should we
Base your answer on previous experience and
achievements related to the company. Add
that you think there is a good fit between
you and the job, and do ask the interviewer
for their opinion.
How ambitious are you?
Sound ambitious, but don't act like you are
want the interviewer's job.
How would you describe yourself? How
would others describe you?
Pick your best attributes and achievements.
What was your greatest success? How did
you achieve it?
Pick an achievement which is related to
What has been your biggest failure?
Try to pick a failure which you were later
able to correct or something that is not
How could you improve yourself?
Do not mention anything negative about
yourself, the interviewer is looking for a
chink in your armor.
How do you handle criticism?
Say something like "It is important to get
feedback on how I am doing so that I can
improve on areas people highlight. Do you
have regular staff appraisals and a staff
What sort of manager are you? What makes
a good manager?
Say that it is someone who listens to other
people and can delegate while maintaining
overall control of the task at hand,
bringing in the project on time and to
budget. Good planning skills are essential.
What problems did you encounter in your
Stick to the problems that you were able to
solve, "I had problem X, which I later
managed to resolve by doing Y". Show that
you are a person who can solve problems.
Can you work under pressure?
You need to say that you can. You could ask
how much pressure the job involves.
How well did you get along with your
previous manager, supervisor, co-workers and
Hopefully you can say that you got on well