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Applying For A Job Curriculum Vitae (CV's) Interviews

Section 4 Interviews
Planning for the interview, what you should wear, questions you may be asked, and what to do after the interview.

Prior to the interview
What to wear
Preparing questions
After the interview
Summary of Advice

Prior to the interview

Prior to the interview

Try to find out about the job and company beforehand so that you can sound interested. It looks good if you can name the Managing Director or even just know what the company produces and how well its doing. Prepare any references, certificates or letters you may need to bring. Also read your CV thoroughly so that you can answer any questions they might ask you about previous work experience or qualifications.

Practice for the Interview:
Have a friend help you with a mock interview. It helps to try and imagine what questions you will be asked as then you can have suitable answers ready. The interviewer always starts the conversation. Usually there will some small talk eg Did you manage to find us OK? Then there might be an outline of the job description and a brief description of the company's activities. If there is, listen attentively and see how their information matches your research.

Travel Preparation:
Find out how to get to the interview location and how long it will take you to get there, allow for traffic jams and delays. Try to arrive a little early to give yourself a chance to settle down. NEVER BE LATE!!!

What to wear

What to wear

First impressions cannot be underestimated, here are a list of do's and don'ts….

1.Do dress conservatively- it is always better to be too formal than too casual.

2.Do make sure your shoes are clean - dirty shoes ruin an otherwise smart outfit.

3.Do wear a minimal amount of makeup and jewellery.

4.Hair should be neat and tidy and tied back in a business like style if it is long.

5.Do not overdo it with either aftershave or perfume.

6.Beware of too short skirts!

7.Make sure that your nails are clean and avoid chipped nail varnish.

Most people know how they should look when going for an interview. Do not think that you are doing yourself any favours by trying to be different.


Preparing questions

Preparing questions

Opening Questions:
At this stage of the interview, as an opening question you may be asked a number of the following:

1.Please talk us through your CV

2.Tell us about your schooling/education

3.What interested you about this job

4.Why are you applying for this job

You should already prepared the answers to these basic questions beforehand, so in a confident manner, project your voice and answer the questions as best you can. Always look the interviewer in the eye. Do not at any stage try to bluff, or lie about anything. A common reaction when we are lying is to touch our face or nose.

The next big hurdle at the interview concerns the question why should we give you the job? Now is when you can sell yourself. List your best qualities, your suitability for the job, your willingness to learn and any relevant experience you might have.

Awkward Questions:
Here is a list of typical interview questions which can be difficult to give good answers to if you are not prepared.

1.Tell me about yourself?

2.What are your career objectives?

3.What are you looking for in a job?

4.What can you do for us that no-one else can?

5.How long do you plan to stay with the company?

6.Can you work under pressure / deadlines? Give examples.

7.Why should we employ you?

8.What are your best achievements to date?

9.Tell us about your last job?

10.Describe your most difficult decision/task?

11.Can you motivate people?

12.What do you know about the company?

13.How would you describe your personality?

14.Why do you want to work for us?

15.What are your weak points?


1.Be punctual

2.Be confident-have a firm handshake, and make eye contact.

3.Pay attention to what the interviewer is saying.

4.Try to remain calm and alert at all times.

5.Answer questions clearly and concisely.

6.Never interrupt the interviewer.

7.Do not smoke.

8.Try not to fidget.

9.Leave on a positive note, thanking the interviewer.

10.Remember to smile, it relaxes you and also gives a calm and friendly appearance.

What happens if you go blank?
This can happen to anyone and often does in interviews. If you go blank just tell the interviewer "sorry I've forgotten what I was going to say, where was I?" Interviewers are only human and no doubt they know exactly what you may be going through so they will be sympathetic.

Often at an interview you may be tested for your knowledge in a particular area. You may be applying for a job in the Civil Service and be asked to name the current Minister for Health. If you don't know the answer don't panic. It often happens that people know the answer but have a momentary lapse of memory due to the pressure of the interview.

Over the twenty minutes of the interview, the interviewer is trying to build up an overall picture of you in relation to the job. Everything you say will hopefully relate to the job description and what impresses most people is being consistent throughout.

Towards the end of an interview you will be asked if you have any questions of your own. You can prepare these beforehand.

Some examples include:

1.When can I expect to hear from you ?

2.Will there be another interview?

3.How did the job become available?

Will any training take place here ? Now that the interview is over, you'll be thanked for attending, and you should thank the interviewer by name and thank them for their time. Do not forget to say goodbye and thanks also to the receptionist.

After the interview

While it's all still fresh in your head try to analyse your performance. Consider the location of the company, was it easy to get to from home? Was there anything you would have liked to say but forgot about? (Make note of these for next time) Are the duties outlined ones you were prepared to do? Is the salary realistic and are you happy with the salary being offered?

Make sure that you are clear before you take the job about what is expected of you, how much you will be paid and whether you feel you will be happy there or not.

Summary of Advice


1.Leave a good impression with the receptionist/security guard

2.Smile at the interviewers and look them in the eye when you meet them and when you are leaving.

3.Maintain eye contact throughout the interview.

4.Sit upright and lean slightly forward.

5.Take your time in answering the questions.

6.Look and sound interested and enthusiastic.

7.Do speak up.

8.Get across information that you feel will help your case.

9.Ask a few readily prepared questions if the chance arises.



2.Slouch in the chair


4.Panic if there is a short period of silence

5.Be invasive



8.Argue with the interviewer in a heated way

9.Be put off if the interviewer seems disinterested or bored

10.Speak too quietly or too quickly

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