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Interview Tips

In today’s marketplace candidates are expected to undertake far more preparation than has historically been the case and the interview process can become lengthy and protracted. Clients also expect candidates to research their company and to be aware of the market positioning, competition and of any industry factors affecting it.

We have prepared below a few pointers to assist you in the process and your personal consultant will be able to offer further insights and company specific knowledge.

Face to Face Interviews


  • Before your interview it is important that you research your future employer. Whilst your consultant will assist as much as possible, in providing you with information about the position and the employer, you should also undertake your own research. The more knowledgeable you are, the more impressed your potential employer will be.

  • The employer will be looking for specific examples from your past experience to probe more deeply into. You should think carefully which of your skills the employer will value most for his/her business, and what good examples from your past you can use to demonstrate them.

  • Arrive at the interview 10 minutes early. Besides ensuring that you are not rushing around at the last minute most companies provide corporate literature at reception which can be a useful source of information.

  • Know the exact time and place of the interview and your interviewers full name and title.

  • Have details of facts and figures of your current employers to mind, as you will quite rightly be expected to know this information.

  • It is also useful to prepare a list of questions to ask during the interview as you must determine during the process whether the company will give you the opportunity for growth and career advancement you are seeking.

On the Day

  • Dress smartly and make sure that you are well groomed. The first impression is all-important. (YOU NEVER GET A SECOND CHANCE TO MAKE A FIRST IMPRESSION)

  • Give a firm handshake and maintain eye contact with your interviewer. Always sit upright and avoid fidgeting.

  • Always listen to the interviewer’s questions in full and make sure you understand the question. Give full answers and avoid “Yes/No” responses. Sometimes finish your answer with a further question; this helps to establish a flow of conversation and shows your interest.

  • Be honest with your answers and don’t exaggerate or over elaborate. Take you time to think your answers through and if you don’t know the answer then say so.

  • Learn to react to your interviewer, to be animated and to try and create a positive and lively impression.

  • Remember that each interviewer has their own style for assessing the interviewee. However, if you remain confident on your subject matter and of your own abilities then this will come through.

  • Above all, be yourself. The interview is to assess you as a person and to establish that, besides technical competence, you are the right personality to fit into the company.

Telephone Interviews

On international assignments, employers often use telephone interviews to conduct initial screening. This also has the advantage of sometimes speeding up the process and of avoiding unnecessary flight costs.

A lot of the information detailed above remains relevant to the telephone interview, in particular the information on preparation. However, there are also a few specific issues that we have detailed below.


  • If possible agree in advance the date and time of the interview. If a call does come without prior notice then be prepared not to take the call or ask if you can call back or reschedule.

  • Make sure you are ready when the call comes. You should keep the following information next to the phone:

  • A copy of your resume, the caller will certainly have a copy in front of them.

  • Blank pad of paper and something to write with.

  • Your diary of appointment schedule / record of your current commitments.

  • A note of key questions you wish to ask.

  • Reference list.

  • Ensure that you are seated comfortably and that you are free from distractions, i.e. the television or stereo is turned off and family member or friends stay out of the way.

  • Whenever possible make sure you use a good, static-free telephone and avoid cell phones.

When the call comes

  • Answer the phone clearly and in a professional business like manner.

  • Acknowledge the caller by name and thank them for calling, referring to them by their family name and Mr or Ms unless invited to do otherwise.

  • Take notes and list key phrases that will act as an aide memoir to answering the question, as well as acting as reminders when writing your notes afterwards.

  • Be prepared to give 2-3 sentence answers, providing facts about your skills and accomplishments but remain brief and to the point.

  • Listen closely to the questions asked and think carefully about your answer. Silences often seem longer on the telephone but you must give clear and accurate answers to the specific question asked. On occasions, if possible, finish-up your answer with another question as this can help establish further dialogue.

  • Be positive and appropriately assertive. Sound positive and enthusiastic and smile when speaking.

Concluding the interview

  • At the conclusion of the interview, the employer will usually explain what happens next, if they do not then ask what the next step will be.

  • Thank the interviewer for calling and for their time.

  • When the call has ended, make sure you follow-up with a thank you note, expressing your continued interest and making reference to the topics discussed.

Psychometric Testing

For employers, recruiting the right people into the right job, then managing and motivating them effectively is imperative. The cost of a mistake is huge and the gain when it goes right is tremendous. Employers understandably therefore often go to great lengths to match people and jobs, employing a variety of techniques including psychometric profiling or assessments.

The way in which organisations select staff varies greatly but it is now common to include some ability, personality or motivation questionnaires at some stage during the interview. You could well experience various differing methods, some of which may have been developed, specifically for your target organisation. The testing can take several different formats including telephone questionnaires such as Talent Plus for Ritz-Carlton and Gallup for Fairmont. In each instance it is worth giving some thought to how you will address the questions but we have detailed below a few tips to help you:

  • Get a feel for the assessments you are going to do (if you know them in advance) – read up on assessment methods and refer to company web sites.

  • It is often helpful to be up to date with current affairs, so listen to/watch the news or read the newspaper. Reading a paper will also help you to practise taking in written information.

  • Crosswords are useful for practising verbal critical reasoning and number puzzles for numerical critical reasoning.

  • Think about how you work in a group i.e. be aware of how loud or fast you speak, how often you ask for the opinions of other etc.

  • Stay calm at all times and make sure you have anything you may need close to hand, i.e. reading spectacles, writing instruments and paper.

  • Listen carefully to the instructions you are given and ask if you are at all unsure about what you have to do. (Assessors will be looking to see how you perform on the exercises rather than how well you understand instructions).

  • Be alert and aware throughout the assessment. Recognise the non-verbal signals such as eye contact and body language.

  • Do not make assumptions about the way that you should respond. If you try to guess what the assessors are looking for you may well be wrong so it is far better to be yourself and respond honestly. At the end of the day it is not in your interest to get a job to which you are not best suited.

  • If there is more than one exercise you will have plenty of opportunity to demonstrate what you can do. Also, if you feel you have done badly on one exercise do not give up, as your performance on all of them is what matters.

  • Undertaking these exercises is often challenging and you should expect to feel fairly stretched by the end of the assessment, particularly so where there have been multiple exercises.

  • Finally, many companies will offer you feedback, regardless of the outcome. This is often useful for you for future selection procedures and may give you some insight into you strengths and limitations. If feedback is not offered then do ask if it is available.

The above information is only a very brief overview and your personal consultant will be pleased to advise you further, directing where relevant to the assessor web sites and where possible discussing with you previous examples.

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