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August 20, 2019 - Advice and Strategy > Management & Finance
How to Perform in an Interview

The Interview

The first interview is the means by which the interviewer gains information about you to assess whether or not you are suitable for the vacancy. They will be asking open questions (how?, when?, where?, what? and why?). What the interviewer is primarily testing for is disposition and intellect. So, when he/she asks you about your leisure interests, activities and previous jobs, they are not necessarily interested in the content of what you say but how you come across: Confident; articulate; intelligent and so forth.

Some may argue that in order to make the right impression, you should go into an interview knowing what you are going to say and being aware of your body language - firm handshake, sit forward in the chair to look interested, maintain eye contact, blah, blah, blah… If you go into an interview with a rehearsed performance, the interviewer WILL know.

Instead, relax. You've gone through your preparation checks, you have questions to ask at the end, so in the mean time simply answer the interviewer's questions. Treat the interviewer as an equal and above all enjoy yourself. If you are enthusiastic, your body language will portray this without you knowing it.

On the other hand, try not to be too arrogant. Although you are trying to sell yourself, everybody is fallible and it is important to recognise your shortcomings. In a recent survey, most job seekers that were honest about their fears regarding the position were looked upon favourably but those who came across as 'know-it-alls' lost points.

Interview Questions*

The interviewer is going to ask you questions primarily about yourself and what you have done in the past. When answering questions:

Do not answer with one word. Remember, the interviewer is testing for disposition and intellect.
Give specific examples and concrete details and not just vague general statements. If you claim to have a particular skill or quality, give evidence from your past to back it up.
Humour is always appreciated but try not to be flippant or sarcastic.
Do not be afraid to pause to think about your answer. The interviewer would appreciate it if you gave a well thought-out response rather jabbering on about the first thing that comes into your mind.

Questions interviewers might ask

Why are you applying to us?
Reassure them you do not just want any old job. Think of reasons to do with how the work might use your skills, or reasons to do with the business.
What did your previous job involve?
Highlight points relevant to this position.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
You have already done research on the job role, so you should have an idea of career progression within this role. This is not the place for modesty. Picture a best-case scenario for your career path.
What qualities/skills do you have which make you suitable for this job?
Think of the tasks the job would involve, then what skills you would need to do those tasks successfully, then how you have used those skills in the past. (Remember, use examples.)
Tell me a situation where you had to deal with…
Questions like these are asking for specific examples. Be brief - the interviewer will ask you further questions if she/he is interested.
How do you see the e-commerce industry progressing over the next 10 years?
You often get questions on current affairs. They do not expect you to know everything, but that you are aware there is a world out there beyond your computer monitor where people interact. Try and be aware of it. Prepare by watching the news or reading the broadsheets. (Avoid the tabloids. The interviewer wants YOUR opinions, not that of a Fleet Street editor.)
I see you are interested in medieval Celtic jousting. Tell me about it.
Do not lie on your CV and ask military resumes writers for help - you will be caught out. Include on your CV leisure interests you ARE interested in no matter how bland. Remember, they are testing you for disposition, so if you can talk enthusiastically and articulately about last nights episode of Eastenders, this is better the stammering over some obscure fad that you were once involved in for a fortnight 2 years ago.
Why do you want to be an 'x'?
Show you understand what an 'x' does and the qualities you need. Be specific. Do not just say, "It seems interesting".
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Make your good points ones that are relevant to the job. Pick weaknesses that are common, not too horrifying and not relevant to the job. Do not say you work too hard. This is not a weakness.

The 'killer' question

A recent survey revealed that 3 out of 4 interviewers try to stump job-seekers with a 'killer' question. Your response to this could make the difference if there are a number of applicants with similar skills. However, tricky questions are not designed to catch you out but to encourage you to think on your feet. So do just that, and remember, take some time to think of your answer if you need. Here are some examples of the hardest questions to answer:

Tell me a joke.
What was the question you didn't want me to ask you?
How important to you is your career?
Give me three things to remember you by.
*If you have a pending interview and you would like to test yourself with some potential interview questions, go to the [Interview Questions].

The Top 10 Interview Tips

Aim to be at the interview 15 minutes early. If you are earlier than that, hang around for a while before you go in.
Bring your interview letter with you and know your interviewer's/contact's name and if you are late, you have a contact number.
Know what it is on your CV.
Be friendly and talk to everyone before the interview - It will get you in the right frame of mind.
Have breakfast.
Have your clothes (including underwear) and everything you need ready the night before.
If you need to pause to think of a reply to a question, then pause (with the exception of when they ask you your name).
Read the job description/advertisement and focus on that when trying to explain why you are suitable for the position.
Prepare - Research the company before hand from the Internet, company annual report, newspapers, company sales literature (non-exhaustive list) - Prepare questions and practise with a dummy interview either with a tolerant friend or use our

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