How to approach an interview and get the job you want

Take these steps to prepare adequately for your next interview. Learn about interview structures and how to approach the questions you are likely to be asked.

Posted by Neil Grant, PR Recruiter, Tuesday January 19 2016

Blog - How To Approach An Interview

1. Introduction and presentation

When an employer first meets with you they are looking at you with the mindset of “how would this person come across to my customers/clients and team?” so it is important that you are well polished and radiate a positive and enthusiastic persona.  These tips will help you with this:

  • Wear smart clothes, even if you are going for a job in a more relaxed environment.  Making an effort to look smart will show that you are taking the interview process seriously.
  • A good firm handshake is necessary to make a good first impression, be confident.
  • Maintaining eye contact throughout is important for building trust with the interview panel. 
  • Body language is also very important, avoid leaning forward too much, folding your arms and slouching.   
  • Take a notebook with you so you can take down notes at appropriate moments. 

2. What the company is looking for 

Your objective should be to answer all the needs in the job description and what you can do to fulfil them.  Interviewers tend to fall into two types; the first will kick off with an overview of the role or company.  This is good news as it allows you to relax into the interview and listen to what they have to say.  They are feeding you lots of information initially that you can use during the interview, this would be an appropriate moment to take notes and reference later on if you have any questions.

The second approach is trickier and will start off by asking you questions like ‘tell me about yourself’ or ‘what interests you about the company/role’.  Often candidates will try and cram in as much information about their career history as possible thinking that they are bound to say something relevant.  Be sure not to over talk and give information that is not relevant to the position.

The way to control this situation so its works for the both parties is to ask ‘where would you like me start?’ or ‘how much detail would you like me to go into?’ This allows you to tailor your answer and give the interviewers exactly what they want.  The best interviews are the ones which are conversations when the interviewee and the interviewer are having a conversation on the same level. 

3. What are the features and benefits which make you right for the job?

Once you have asked all the right questions it is important to use the information to sell yourself effectively.  Make sure you have thought about what you are going to say about yourself before the interview and how it will benefit the company.  A good way to structure this is to think about what three assets make you an asset.

Companies also want to know what business goals you have achieved and the more specific you can be with examples and especially numbers, the better. For example if you have sales targets that you have overachieved on, how much by? Or if you’re an email marketer, what is your average open rate? 

It is also important to talk about the reasons for you wanting to leave your current role.  The golden rule about discussing career moves is to be positive.  Avoid talking about not getting on with your old boss, or not being paid enough etc.  Always outline positive aspects about working for the organisation you are leaving and what experience it has given you.  Follow this up by demonstrating the aspects of their company that will give you the experience you want.  Applicants who are positive come across more appealing than applicants who are negative.

4. Closing the interview 

At the point when an interview is about to end, you must take control and leave the panel with a positive view on you.  There are certain structured steps to take: 

  1. Thank the interviewers for their time


  1. What is the next stage of the interview process?
  2. How do I compare with others you have met?
  3. How suitable do you think I am for the position you have?
  4. Would you like me to expand on any of the answers I have given you?

Your close does not have to aggressive, it is all about how you deliver it.  Your approach to the end of the interview will be a good indicator of how interested in the role you are by asking questions and asking for feedback.  If they respond with reservations this is more opportunity for you to sell yourself and remove any doubts they have about taking you to the next stage.

In summary, the interview will not necessarily follow the four stages above but it will help you prepare for scenarios and questions that are likely to arise.

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