Preparing for an interview & the top 10 interview questions

/ / Preparing for an interview & the top 10 interview questions

“Find out what you really love to do, and the find a way to make a good living doing it.”

This is your window of opportunity to really showcase yourself in the best light. An interview is where you can highlight your strengths for the role and show to an organisation why you as an individual will be a fantastic long term asset to their company. Bear in mind that a potential employer will want to hear that you are looking to their company to provide a long-term career, so always go into an interview with internal progression and a future with the group in mind.

“Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.”

 Key Factors Employer will look for:

  • Personal Presentation – if in doubt of what to wear for an interview, be safe and go for formal interview wear. If you are unsure of what to wear ask your consultant for guidance. Always ensure you have clean hair, nails and hands, and attend the meeting clean shaven or with suitably groomed facial hair.
  • Positive Attitude – a client will want to see a positive and committed candidate that is happy and keen to progress with the prospective role. Avoid negative conversations i.e. previous bad employment experiences. Always remember to smile.
  • High Standards of Work – the client will want the best individual for the role. Highlight your previous successes and achievements and have in mind where you have positively affected the business in your previous roles.
  • Stable and Progressive Employment History – a prospective employer will want to see a stable background of employment, ideally with a minimum of 2 years in each position and will want any short moves explained with justifiable reasoning.

“If you want me to speak for an hour, I’m ready now. If you want me to speak for 10 minutes, I’ll need two weeks to prepare.”

Research the company that you will be meeting. The more you know about the company the better, as this will give you a great platform to have an informed conversation about the group.

If you get the opportunity, visit the site before your interview, as this will give you a good insight into to the property and allow you to plan your journey so you arrive in plenty of time for your meeting. This should ideally be 10-15 minutes prior to your interview.

It is key that you understand who you are meeting. You need to have the clients name and job title in mind. It is also worth seeing if they have a profile on platforms such as LinkedIn so that you can get a good understanding of their background and where they have come from. You may even know people in common.

Prepare some questions to have in mind to ask about the role or company you are interviewing for. An example of a good questions to ask is about the future of the company and potential personal progression opportunities with the group – this will highlight to a client that you are looking at a long-term future with the group and are career minded.

Avoid going straight to a conversation on salary and benefits – this will most likely be interpreted that you are only interested in the financials around the role and may be off putting to the client.

See our examples of the top 10 most frequently used interview questions below.

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

Now you are fully prepared, and have a good solid understanding of the role and group that you are meeting, it is time to present yourself to the client.

Your interview begins as soon as you step on site for a potential meeting. Remember to be curious to everyone that you see from the carpark to the reception desk – you never know who is watching.

Greet your interviewer with a firm handshake, eye contact and a smile and let the interviewer lead the conversation to start and try to answer any questions clearly and confidently.

During the interview you will be given the opportunity to discuss your background and highlight your abilities. Here you should touch on any key achievements in your previous roles and how you have positively affected the business, whether that be developing the team, growing revenues or going above and beyond your expected duties.

Remember an interview is a two-way conversation, you are there to also find out more about the role and the company as well and how the role may enhance your career long term. This is where your prepared questions will serve you well.

Closing the interview
  • Try to end the interview in an upbeat positive manner.
  • Always ask if the client has anything else that they need to know about you.
  • Express your interest in the role and state that you are keen to proceed.
  • Always end by thanking them for their time.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

Preparation is everything when it comes to interviews. Preparation will provide you with peace of mind that you understand the opportunity that you going to discuss. It is the best remedy for any interview nerves that you may have and gives you a fantastic base to showcase why you are the right person for the job.

Top 10 Most Common Job Interview Questions


To help you prepare for your interview below is a list of the 10 most frequently asked interview questions you need to know.  It is important to be prepared to respond effectively to the questions that employers typically ask. Since these questions are so common, interviewers will expect you to be able to answer them smoothly and without hesitation.

  1. Why Do You Want This Job?

Answer this question with a response that highlights why you would be a good candidate for the job and how enthusiastic you are about it.

Ensure that you show an interest in the job sector and understand the company and their ethos, show how your skills match their requirements and your goals meet their objectives.

  1. What Do You Know About The Organisation?

It is critical that you show you have done some prior research on the company before the interview. Look into areas such as the company structure, finances, customers, products and services, competitors and market trends as these are the key areas.

You need to show you have a thorough understanding of what the company is about and how they work. If not, it will look like you have no interest in working for the company.

  1. Tell Me About Yourself?

This is usually the first question asked in an interview as it lets the interviewer know a little bit about you.

It is important that you deliver a confident answer to this, so it is advised that you rehearse before the interview.

Make sure that you identify areas that reflect the job you are being interviewed for and show your enthusiasm, this can display the interviewer how you are well suited to the job. Also, try and include some of the achievements you feel are important.

  1. What Are Your Key Strengths/Skills?

When answering this question, it is important that you respond to relevant skills and strengths that make you suited to the job.

Doing research beforehand can help prepare an answer to this question. By studying the job advert and person specification, it can help you think about the requirements that make you relevant and appropriate for the job role.

  1. What Are Your Weaknesses?

Try not to be too critical when answering this question. Instead, pick one of your weaknesses and try to turn it into a positive.

For example, you could be a perfectionist, which means that you sometimes take longer on tasks, but you make sure that they are completed to a high quality. It is essential to make a negative into a positive as it doesn’t make you appear overly critical and shows you can reflect on your own performance.

  1. Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?

Whatever the situation was from your previous job, you should always answer this question with a positive and enthusiastic response. If the reason for leaving your last job was redundancy, then you should talk about how your company had to restructure, instead of focusing on your own personal situation.

Under no circumstances should you criticise your previous employer, as this will appear unprofessional.

  1. Give Me an Example of A Difficult Situation/Task at Work And How You Dealt With It

This is often asked so that you can express situations in which you used problem-solving and communication skills to help resolve the situation. It is suggested that you identify a situation that you assisted in settling through showing emotional intelligence.

  1. Tell Me About an Achievement You Are Proud of

This question gives you the opportunity to show how past achievements will benefit the business. It is suggested that you only include personal achievements if they are highly impressive or prestigious. Otherwise, try and identify a time where you achieved a good sale or something relevant to the job role.

For the more experienced candidates looking for higher level roles, e.g. Executive Head Chef Jobs the answer should focus on closely related areas of creativity and executive decisions – what did you achieve and how? Success stories are essential!

  1. What Are Your Career Goals?

The reason for this question being asked is because the employer wants to understand how long you intend to stay for. Reassure them by explaining how the job role fits your career plan, as this will display your long-term commitment to the company.

  1. What Are Your Expectations Of The Salary?

The salary is typically discussed when the job is offered, so, if possible, try and avoid bringing this up in the interview. However, if the interviewer asks this question just give a real but wide salary range that you are happy to negotiate and emphasise that you feel the salary will not be an issue if you decide to work with each together.

You could also give examples of previous pay and benefits; by saying “in my last role my salary was” “the benefits/bonuses included meant my pay reached….” this helps the interviewer see the scale to which they can negotiate on too.