Interview Tips - Elite Personnel

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In simple terms, an interview is a meeting between prospective employer and applicant. It is a two way process. The purpose for the employer is to find out more about the applicant, whether they are suitable for the job and whether they will fit in. The purpose for the applicant is to convince the employer, by selling his or her achievements, that they are the right person and to find out more about the job and the company.

However, there are different ways in which an interview could be conducted.

One to One

These are the most common. Usually, a number of applicants attend a first interview. From this the employer will then compile a short list of applicants. These will be invited back for a second interview upon which a decision will be made. However, you may only have to attend one interview or possibly a succession of interviews. They may even be conducted over the telephone.

Panel or Pairs

These are more common in Civil Service or Local Government jobs.

Two Stages

First interviews may be carried out by personnel departments or Elite Personnel. The second by the person you would be working for.

Assessment Centre

These are usually conducted over a day and require the applicant to take part in team tasks whilst under observation.


There may be an open day, an informal talk or walk around. You may be required to undertake Psychometric (personality), aptitude or skill tests.

Wherever possible, Elite Personnel will give you as much information as to what type of interview you are about to attend.


Fail To Prepare - Prepare To Fail !

To be successful at an interview you should leave nothing to chance.

  • Inform Elite Personnel that you are going to attend
  • Read the confirmation letter carefully. Who is going to interview you ?
  • Find out what type of interview it will be and roughly how long it will last.
  • Find out if there will be any psychometric or aptitude tests.
  • Double check the day, date, time and place of the interview.
  • Do a trial run. Check public transport, traffic or parking.

Please let Elite know if you decide not to attend rather than let us down.
Find out about the Company
Elite Personnel will provide you with as much information as they can. Showing your knowledge of the Company at the interview will impress them.
- What does the Company do ?
- What are there main products or services ?
- How many staff do they employ ?
- What are the Company’s strengths ?
You may be able to get further information from a number of other sources. These include the Internet (free service at some libraries), newspaper reports, trade magazines, company sales literature or brochures, Training Enterprise Council, Chamber of Commerce.
Job Requirements
Ensure that you have as much information about the position as you can.
- What exactly does the job entail ?
- What particular skills do you require ?
- Talk to Elite or someone else doing a similar job if you can.
- Read through you CV to remind yourself how your achievements and skills match the job requirements.
Predict Likely Questions
- Try and anticipate what you may be asked.
- Prepare and practice your answers.
- Rehearse them with a friend, in front of a mirror or on Elite Personnel until you feel comfortable with your answers.
- Think what the Company require from you when preparing your answers.
Questions may be asked in different ways
- Open-
Begin with what?, why?, where?, how?, Who?. You cannot answer just yes or no. Reply in detail but don’t waffle.
- Closed-
You can answer with short or more specific answers.
- Probing or Searching -
“Tell me more about…?” or “why did you…?” This will give them more information about you and your attitudes.
- Leading -
May lead you into giving the wrong answer. Be careful. “Did you get on with your last boss?”
- Hypothetical -
“What would you do if…?” Relate to a real situation if you can.
- Multiple -
Can be Confusing. Listen carefully and reply to each part in order.
Your Questions
Always prepare questions of you own to ask. Write them down and take them with you. Do make sure that they are relevant.
Ask about training, prospects, what happens next etc. A good question is “How do you see my skills and achievements fitting in?” The makes interviewer imagine you as part of the Company and doing the job.
Questions About Salary
Elite Personnel will have informed you of the salary. The interview is not the time to negotiate. If you bring this up now it will appear that this is your only interest in the job. You are asking for something from them before they have even decided you are the right person for the job.
Personal Presentation
Create a good first impression. Your appearance and attitude are as important as your ability to do the job. Ask Elite for a guideline.
- Dress smartly and appropriately. Better to overdress than underdress.
- Clothes should be clean, ironed and comfortable. Shoes polished.
- Keep jewellery to a minimum. Remove nose/tongue studs if possible.
- Make sure your hair is tidy.
- If you are asked to take any paperwork, keep it in a briefcase or folder.
- Do not drink or smoke directly before the interview.
- However, do make sure you have eaten. We don’t want you passing out !
You have arrived
- Aim to be 10 minutes early. No need for more, definitely no less.
- Use the bathroom and check your appearance.
- Breathe deeply if you are nervous. Pep talk to yourself (not aloud please!)
- Be friendly to reception staff. They may be asked their opinion.
- Look at any Company literature left in reception or of your own.
- Remember the main benefits of yourself that you want to get across.
- Politely decline any tea, coffee or cigarette offered.
- Smile.
You are called into the interview room

  • Stand up straight and confidently.
  • Use their name.
  • Shake hands firmly.
  • Maintain eye contact and smile.
  • Wait to be asked before sitting.
  • Sit well back in the seat with your back straight.
  • Get comfortable but do not fidget.
  • Be aware of your own and the interviewers body language but not to the extent that you are unaware of anything else.
  • Talk freely. Vary the tone of your voice as in normal conversation. Smile !
  • Be aware of opportunities to sell yourself. Especially at the beginning and end of the interview. But do be patient and don’t interrupt
  • If the interviewer is laid back don’t copy him. Stay alert at all times
  • If interviewed by more than one person, answer the questioner but maintain eye contact with the others.
  • Be sincere and natural.
  • Don’t try to be something that you are not.
  • Think about the question before you answer. Short silences are accepted.
  • Is you have misheard or don’t understand a question, ask them to repeat or clarify it.
  • If you don’t know an answer, say so. Don’t try and bluff your way through it.
  • If the interviewer challenges you or their questioning is aggressive, don’t become defensive. Respond - don’t react.
  • Don’t criticise former colleagues or employers.
  • Ask your prepared questions. Try and close with a parting statement of why you are suitable for the job.
  • When the interview is over, thank the interviewer for their time, smile, shake hands and confirm your interest in the job.


Chill Out

Try and come down from the tension of the occasion. Ring Elite Personnel as soon as you can to let them know what you thought of the job and how you thought the interview went. Have a coffee. Go for a walk.


Think back over the interview. How do you think you performed. What could you have improved on. This will help you for future interviews.

Make Notes

Make notes, if you can, on questions and your answers. Think about those you found difficult and why. This will also help you for future interviews.

Follow Up

Elite Personnel will contact the Company after your interview and will let you know as soon as they hear anything. However, please feel free to call us at any time to discuss the job further or for an update.

Feed Back

If you are unsuccessful, do not be discouraged. There can be a number of reasons for this. Elite Personnel will, wherever possible, speak to the Company and find out why. We are here to help you find a job so please do not be overly defensive when we tell you. We will obviously listen to your point of view but finding out the reasons why you didn’t get the job will help you in future interviews.


If you don’t get the first job you go for, don’t worry. We have new jobs coming in all the time - an even better one could be just around the corner !


  • Tell me about yourself ?
  • What attracted you to this job ?
  • What were your main responsibilities in your last job ?
  • What makes you think you can do this job ?
  • What aspects of your experience do you see as being most relevant ?
  • Why do you want to work for our Company ?
  • We were really looking for an older / younger person.
  • Tell us more about (a particular aspect of your experience) ?
  • Why did you leave your last job ?
  • What are your strengths ? What are your weaknesses ?
  • If I asked your manager or supervisor, how would they describe you ?
  • You’ve been a long time with 1 Company. How will you cope with the change ?
  • Where do you want to be in 5 years time ?
  • Your experience seems to be limited in the area of …
  • This job represents a considerable…. increase / decrease in pay/status/responsibility or change of direction - what will this mean to you ?
  • Why were you chosen to be made redundant ?
  • What do you do in your spare time ?
  • How will you travel to work ?
  • What salary are you looking for ?
  • Can you supervise / work with both men and women ?
  • What would you do if…?


Try to make sure the questions are relevant to the position you are applying for.

Do not ask about pay, benefits, holidays etc. there is time for this when you have been offered the job.

A good technique is “Are there any questions you would like to ask ? “

Pay the interviewer a compliment. “ I think that you have covered all the points I wanted to ask about. I wanted to ask about Company structure and the systems you use but you have already covered these areas thank you.”

Show that you have an interest in the Company. “ I hear that you have 10 outlets in Birmingham. Are you intending to open any more?”

When you are considering what questions to ask before the interview, make sure they are not ones to which you should already know the answer.


- Is this a new position ?
- To whom would I be responsible ?
- How many others are doing the same work ?
- What training will I receive ?
- Why did the last person leave the job I’m applying for ?
- When will I know the result of this interview ?
- What opportunities are there for further training or progression ?
- Do you have time to show me around the area where I’ll be working ?
- Is there anything else I can tell you about my experience / background ?


About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by ebhakt published on April 30, 2010 7:52 PM.

7 Questions to Ask During a Recruitment Job Interview was the previous entry in this blog.

Preparation for Successful Job Interviews is the next entry in this blog.

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