Corinium Language Associates
GUIDE TO A SUCCESSFUL INTERVIEW
Congratulations - if you have come this far, you have succeeded in obtaining an interview, and you are one step closer to a new job! The way in which you present yourself at interview is the most important part of your application - don't jeopardise it by being unprepared. To help you maximise your chances, we would like to offer you the following advice:

Before the Interview
  • Research the company. You can find a lot of information on the company's website - make the most of it! Look into the size and structure of the company, the number of employees, where it is located, what its international links are. Make sure you know what its main business is, what its products and services are.
  • Research the business sector. If you are not familiar with the company's business sector, try to find out as much as you can. Identify the company's main competitors, recent events within the sector, the effects these may have had on the company.
  • Find out what you can about the role and department. Make sure you are familiar with the job description and if possible, why the vacancy has arisen. If you can, find out how the role fits into the department, how many people are in the team/department.
  • Find out who will be interviewing you. It helps to know how many people you will meet, what their name and positions are, whether you will work closely with them, the relationship between their roles and the vacancy.
  • Find out what to expect at interview. If you can, find out how long the interview will be, whether there will be a test or assessment, if you will be expected to make a presentation, whether part of the interview will be in a foreign language.
Your consultant will be able to assist you with some of these questions, but you will have to do the background research for yourself.

The Interviewer's Questions

The interview is your opportunity to expand on your CV, so do not try to put every detail on paper! Be concise, keeping your CV to two or three pages at most. Any more than this will have the opposite effect and your reader will lose interest.

  • Why do you want to join this organisation?
  • What attracts you to this job?
  • What were your main responsibilities in your last / current role?
  • What were the main problem areas / what did you find most difficult? How did you deal with them?
  • Where do you want to be / what do you want to be doing in 5 or 10 years' time?
  • What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? (You can turn this into a positive if you show that you are aware of your weaknesses and are working to overcome them).
  • Why are you leaving your current job?
  • Why should we employ you?
  • Finally, think of the question that you dread being asked, and rehearse a positive answer.
Your Questions

An interview should be a two-way process and you should be given the chance to pose your own questions. Here are some possibilities, although you should take your cue from the interviewer as to what is appropriate.
  • Will there be any opportunity to meet clients?
  • Is there travel involved (UK and/or abroad), and if so, how frequently?
  • How is the company structured, and how does this role fit in?
  • What are the company's plans for the future?
  • Why has the vacancy arisen?
  • What training is available?
  • What are the prospects for career progression?
  • Will there be staff supervision responsibilities?
  • How is performance assessed? What is expected in the first year by way of objectives/targets/tasks?
  • Does the interviewer have any reservations about your suitability for the job? (This is a difficult question to ask, but gives you the opportunity to overcome the interviewer's concerns face-to-face).
  • What is the salary package? If there is a bonus or performance related scheme, how is it structured? (Some companies prefer to answer this question at a later stage, as they want you to inspired by the job and company, not the salary).
  • What is the next stage and when can you expect to hear from them?
At the Interview

You have prepared your questions and answers, so once at the interview, you need to ensure you make a good impression.
  • Introduce yourself clearly, with a firm, confident handshake, good eye contact and a winning smile.
  • Answer questions clearly - don't ramble or mumble. Think about what you want to say, say it, then stop!
  • Give examples of your strengths and what you have achieved. For example, instead of simply stating that you can take the initiative, tell the interviewer about a time that you did so and the results that this produced.
  • Be a good listener - you will gain valuable information about the role and the company to help you decide if it is the job for you.
  • Take the opportunity to ask relevant questions, and ask for clarification of anything that you do not understand.
  • Show interest in the job. Even if you are not sure, you always have the option to turn it down.
  • If you have testimonials to support your experience, take them with you and leave them, together with your CV, to act as an aide-memoir for the interviewer.
Interview Do's and Don'ts

Do's
  • If possible, drive to the company beforehand so that you know where it is and how long it takes to get there. Aim to give yourself 10 minutes to relax beforehand, and arrive at reception 5-10 minutes early.
  • Keep a clear head and get an early night the day before so that you look and feel at your best!
  • Dress professionally and look the part - clean, crisp and well-groomed. First impressions are very important.
  • Smile, make eye contact, be positive, and always be truthful!
  • Think about how you will cope with refreshments whilst being interviewed - it may be safer to politely decline.
  • When you are leaving, shake hands, smile and thank the interviewer - lasting impressions are also important.
Don'ts
  • Don't be late! If you get unavoidably held up, call our recruitment team before you're late so that we can contact the interviewer in good time.
  • Don't wear jeans, trainers or other casual clothing, even if you know the company has a relaxed dress code.
  • Don't forget to switch off your mobile phone!
  • Never criticise your past employers, smoke, chew gum, swear, interrupt, argue, be personal or familiar.
After the Interview

Keep in touch with your consultant - we are always interested in your feedback on what you thought of the role and the company. We will follow up with our client on your behalf and let you know the outcome - please do not contact your interviewers directly.

Interviews are not easy, but with some preparation, you can make sure it is not an ordeal. Good luck!
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