Successful job interview tips

Interview Tips


The Clue is in the Job Spec

  • Read and re-read the job spec, if you have questions don’t hesitate to ask.
  • Try and have a couple of examples in mind against each of the bullet points.
  • Companies will usually have a list of Behaviours within the spec that will give you an in-site into the skills/behaviours they want to know you have experience in, such as:
    • Problem Solving
    • Team Playing
    • Organisation
    • Leadership
    • Time Management
    • People Management
    • Conflict Resolution
  • If you have questions that your agent is unable to get clarity for you on in advance – make a mental note of them and ask at the end of the interview.
  • Keep all questions relating to the job in hand, the department or the company.
  • Don’t talk about salary unless your asked, and if you are always be very open with them about current earnings and your expectations.

Company Research

The internet is everyone’s first point of call for research purposes and this is paramount to your success

  • Review the company website making note of important facts such as;
  • Founding date, company size, turn/over, recent news

Another quick and effective way is to YouTube the company this is really simple way to find out up to date news about the company, and get an in depth understanding of the company’s culture.

Personal Presentation

  • Get ready the night before.
  • Know where you’re going and aim to be 10 mins early to give you a few minutes to gather your thoughts.
  • Ensure your clothes are clean and ironed.
  • Ensure you are clean, tidy and presentable.
  • Ladies not too much make up or perfume
  • Men clean shaven unless of course you have a well-kept beard
  • A mint and a sip of water is always handy to keep you fresh.
  • Nice firm handshake, good eye contact and a bright smile are the vital ingredients for a positive start

Little things to remember

  • Listen to the question, and do your best to answer the question. If you don’t completely understand the question properly ask for a measure of clarity.
  • Be Yourself. The best way to do this is not to try and second guess what they want to hear – be truthful, open and honest. Relax and be as natural as you can be. Don’t be afraid to let your guard down a little bit.
  • Express High Energy levels – Maintain positive language, try to avoid moaning about past employers, or talking negatively about heavy work loads
  • Body Language – Be attentive, and interested. Sit up straight in your chair, and avoid fidgeting or moving around as much as you can
  • It’s nice to be nice. – Remember to thank the interviewer afterwards it leaves a positive impression with the interviewer as you’re leaving.

Interview Styles

Most companies will have a specific interview style – competency-based interviews are widely used within multi-national organisations it’s a great way for the company to drill down into certain behaviours that are mandatory for the role and their specific company culture.

A fantastic tool to help you to organise your examples/answers is the STAR Technique.

It provides you with a structured approach to your answers enabling you to tell the story clearly and effectively.


  • S (situation): Describe the situation that you found yourself in. Keep it real, don’t generalise and be succinct–
  • T (task): Illustrate what you needed to do
  • A (action): Describe WHAT you did and HOW you did it. Make sure that you are taking ownership of the example and using the word I. The interviewer wants to hear about what you did, what your part in this project or problem-solving solution was, and how you went about doing it.
  • R (result): Wrap the story up nicely, by telling the interviewer what the direct result of what your actions were here. e.g. €’s for the company, time saved, sales increased!

Sample Questions

Please see a list of questions to help you get into the right frame of mind:

Core Competencies


  • Tell me about a time when you changed your priorities to meet others’ expectations.
  • Describe a time when you altered your own behaviour to fit the situation.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to change your point of view or your plans to consider new information or changing priorities.

Client Focus

  • Give an example of how you provided service to a client/stakeholder beyond their expectations. How did you identify the need? How did you respond?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a client/stakeholder service issue.
  • Describe a situation in which you acted as an advocate within your organization for your stakeholder’s needs, where there was some organizational resistance to be overcome.


  • Describe a situation you were involved in that required a multi-dimensional communication strategy.
  • Give an example of a difficult or sensitive situation that required extensive communication.
  • Tell me about a time when you really had to pay attention to what someone else was saying, actively seeking to understand their message.

Organisational Awareness

  • Describe the culture of your organisation and give an example of how you work within this culture to achieve a goal.
  • Describe the things you consider and the steps you take in assessing the viability of a new idea or initiative.
  • Tell me about a time when you used your knowledge of the organisation to get what you needed.

Problem Solving and Judgment

  • Tell me about a time when you had to identify the underlying causes to a problem.
  • Describe a time when you had to analyse a problem and generate a solution.
  • Tell me about a situation where you had to solve a problem or make a decision that required careful thought. What did you do?

Results Orientation

  • Tell me about a time when you set and achieved a goal.
  • Tell me about a time when you improved the way things were typically done on the job.
  • Describe something you have done to improve the performance of your work unit.
  • Describe something you have done to maximise or improve the use of resources beyond your own work unit to achieve improved results.

Role-Specific Competencies

Developing Others

  • Tell me about a time when you coached someone to help them improve their skills or job performance. What did you do?
  • Describe a time when you provided feedback to someone about their performance.
  • Give me an example of a time when you recognised that a member of your team had a performance difficulty/deficiency. What did you do?

Impact and Influence

  • Describe a recent situation in which you convinced an individual or a group to do something.
  • Describe a time when you went through a series of steps to influence an individual or a group on an important issue.
  • Describe a situation in which you needed to influence different stakeholders with differing perspectives.


  • Describe something you have done that was new and different for your organisation that improved performance and/or productivity.
  • Tell me about a time when you identified a new, unusual or different approach for addressing a problem or task.
  • Tell me about a recent problem in which old solutions wouldn’t work. How did you solve the problem?


  • Tell me about a time when you had to lead a group to achieve an objective.
  • Describe a situation where you had to ensure that your “actions spoke louder than your words” to a team.
  • Describe a situation where you inspired others to meet a common goal.

Relationship Building

  • Describe a situation in which you developed an effective win/win relationship with a stakeholder or client. How did you go about building the relationship?
  • Tell me about a time when you relied on a contact in your network to help you with a work-related task or problem.
  • Give me an example of a time when you deliberately attempted to build rapport with a co-worker or customer.

Resource Management

  • Describe a situation in which you took a creative approach to resourcing to achieve a goal.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a particular resource management issue regarding people, materials or assets.
  • Describe the options you would consider to resource a project or goal if you did not have the available resources within your own span of control.
  • Describe a situation in which you established a partnership with another organisation or stakeholder to achieve a mutual goal. What steps did you take to ensure the partnership was effective?


  • Describe the level of stress in your job and what you do to manage it.
  • Describe a time when you were in a high-pressure situation.
  • Describe a time when things didn’t turn out as you had planned and you had to analyse the situation to address the issue.

Strategic Thinking

  • Describe a challenge or opportunity you identified based on your industry knowledge, and how you developed a strategy to respond to it.
  • Describe a time you created a strategy to achieve a longer-term business objective.
  • Describe a time when you used your business knowledge to understand a specific business situation.

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