Interview tips

For the candidate, Cooper Golding wants to work with the very best of talent. If we can help you, we will only put you forward for vacancies that we believe you can fulfil and will find challenging and rewarding. Using our existing connections and partnerships, we will make employers aware of you and the fact that we believe you would suit their needs. We will also give you guidance on how best to present your C.V. and yourself.

Types of interview

This is the most common type of interview and will usually be carried out by the person you will be reporting to. You may have a second person also attend the interview, such as an HR Manager.

Some employers may carry out a first interview over the telephone. Be prepared for this by having your C.V. handy and by gaining information about the company prior to the call. Ensure you are somewhere quiet where you will not be interrupted.

It’s quite common that potential employers will request a Skype call with a candidate. Therefore, you should ensure that you have this set up beforehand. A handy tip is to have someone give you a Skype call first to ensure everything is working correctly.

An assessment centre is a place where a person is given a set of performance-simulation tests designed to evaluate their ability and potential for a particular role. Generally used at management level, they use various techniques such as interviews, examinations and psychometric testing, in order to obtain information about an applicant’s abilities or development potential.

Psychometric tests use scientific methods to measure mental capabilities and behavioural style. They are structured methods used by employers to assess each candidate’s suitability for a job, based upon aptitude and personality – for example, if you are a team player or if you work better on your own. They may include aptitude or ability tests, personality questionnaires or a combination of both.

Interviews - Be Prepared

So, you’ve made it through the first stage with your C.V., now is your chance to sell yourself in person. You need to make this interview count and to ensure you give your best possible performance, you must always be prepared. An interview can be a daunting experience, especially if you have not had to go through this process for some time. To maximise your chances of a successful interview, make sure you know as much information as possible about the position you are applying for. Often you can request a job description prior to the interview. Do your research. Have a look at the company’s website to gain a thorough understanding of what they do and where the role you are applying for fits within their structure.

There are several questions that are nearly always asked at an interview:

  • Tell me a little bit about yourself?
  • Tell me your achievements to date?
  • Why did you leave your last job?
  • What is your greatest achievement?
  • What are your strengths?
  • What areas would you like to improve on?
  • What qualities will you bring to this role?
  • Why should we hire you over other applicants?
  • Why do you want to work for us?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
  • Give me an example of when you resolved a conflict among staff?
  • Give me an example of your leadership skills?
  • Give me an example of when you solved a difficult work situation?

Think about the role you are applying for and how you will answer each question prior to the interview. Being prepared will not only make you look good, but will give you confidence as well.

When in a face-to-face interview, always remember the golden rules:

  • Arrive 5-10 minutes prior to your appointment. Ensure you give yourself plenty of time to get to the interview, allowing for any unforeseen delays
  • But…don’t arrive too early, your interviewer will have set time aside to see you at the correct appointment time.
  • Allow yourself plenty of time for the interview, you don’t want to be clock watching because you have somewhere else you need to be
  • Dress smartly/Appropriately – Remember, first impressions really do count. A neat, tidy, clean appearance portrays professionalism
  • Don’t slouch – Sit upright as slouching gives the impression you don’t really care
  • Keep focused – Ensure you listen to all the questions that are being asked and to what the interviewer has to say about the role and their company. This will prompt you to ask suitable questions back
  • An obvious one, but remember to turn your phone off!

Second Interview

Congratulations, you’ve made the second interview stage! However, now is not the time to rest on your laurels. There’s still a lot of work to do. Prepare as well for the second interview as you did for the first. Think about what it is about you that makes them want to consider you for the job.

  • Be prepared to revisit previous areas of the first interview using notes from your first interview.
  • Expect more open-ended or challenging questions about your experience and have some appropriate answers.