compass recruitment interview preparation

Interview Preparation

The Interview, General Pointers

If you go well prepared to an interview you will be able to manipulate it to your advantage and promote your strengths. Even if you are invited to an initial meet and greet over a coffee, preparation is still important. The client will be forming an opinion the moment he meets you. Likewise you will be forming an opinion about the interviewer - this is a two way process!

Common Sense
  • Know where your interview is taking place and if possible do a trial run so you know exactly where the office is and what parking is like.
  • Always arrive 10 minutes early to get through reception and use the restroom.
  • Have the interviewers direct telephone number so if you are running late you can call.
What you may consider taking
  • Copy of your CV - sometimes clients prefer to work from an original CV
  • Application form - if requested (always take a copy they can get lost!)
  • ID - passports to prove your right to work are becoming commonly requested
  • Pen and paper - you may wish to write something down
  • Written down questions - show you have put some effort in to prepare for the meeting, written question help you to stay focused on what you need to find out about the role.
  • A copy of the job specification
  • Printed internet information on the company - again it shows you are prepared, you could highlight points that you like about the company and use them as a discussion point
  • Tissues - you never know!
Interview Structure

Most interviews follow a general pattern:

  • Casual Questions: at the beginning to help you relax for example about the weather, your journey, if you want a drink.
  • General Questions: which may include 'tell me about yourself', 'describe your day' this is an opportunity for you to sell yourself in a snap shot, so be prepared
  • Specific Questions: 'your CV says.....', ' Give me an example....'
Basic Preparation
  • Convince and reassure: talk through the skills you have for the job, be honest if roles haven't worked out, talk through gaps in your CV. Research the organisation you will be working for and articulate why you would like to work for them.
  • Show enthusiasm in your answers: avoid one word answers, give brief details to demonstrate your relevant skills for the job, and ask questions about the role and team you are hoping to join.
  • Be Positive: never be overly negative about your current employer or job, if you haven't got a particular skill explain how you would look to develop that skill.
  • Listen and if you are not clear on the question ask for clarification
  • Don't: Interrupt the interviewer, waffle, or lie
First Impressions
  • Be Smart: wear a suit, no over powering scents, no cartoon ties, no bright red lipstick. Keep your jacket on. Make sure shoes are clean. Check your appearance in the restrooms prior to meeting.
  • Firm handshake, eye contact and smile when introducing yourself.
  • If you are placed in an interview room and waiting for interviewer stand when they walk into the room, wait to be offered a seat.
Last Impressions

When leaving the interview be polite, thank them for their time, smile, shake hands. If you like the role be positive tell them that you are interested in the position and hope to hear from them soon.