Things you should know before an interview ?

  • Know your CV or application form inside out – make sure you can stand over everything that you include – be fully aware of your own skills and have examples ready of where you have demonstrated those
  • Know about the company – research their website, ring and ask for company literature or brochures. Check if they have been in the news lately and for what reason. Being able to demonstrate this type of research at interview shows commitment from you !
  • Know about the job – ask for a job and person spec if you have not received one. If you have been granted an interview although no job has been advertised ensure you are familiar with all the possible positions that you might be eligible for in the company. Phone people who are in similar positions. This will give you some industry knowledge before you go for the job and help you to be more specific about what you are looking for. Fear often holds people back from making these calls but remember – the people that you get to speak to are usually graduates themselves and are happy to share their knowledge to help you out.
  • Know the skills that they are looking for and prepare examples of how you have demonstrated them in your career to date. These examples can be taken from any aspect of your work, college, social or personal life. The clues to the types of skills required may be in the Job and Person spec !
  • Time Aim to be sitting outside the interview room approx. 5-10 minutes in advance. If the interviewers are late, avoid drawing attention to this during the interview.

Interview tips during and after ?

  • Remember – if you are granted an interview the company already feel that you can do the Job – remain positive !!
  • Body language is probably one of the most under-rated performance elements of the interview. Is your handshake firm, do you maintain frequent eye contact with people when speaking with them, do you smile frequently (and at appropriate times!) when communicating?
  • Appearance and personal hygiene are important factors. Make sure you are well-groomed, well-dressed, clean and smell good.
  • Buy time and ask for clarification if needs be. If you have not understood a question or perhaps misheard it don’t be afraid to ask the interviewer to repeat or re-phrase the question.
  • Time Aim to be sitting outside the interview room approx. 5-10 minutes in advance. If the interviewers are late, avoid drawing attention to this during the interview.
  • Your questions for the interviewer at the end of the interview are almost as important as the ones that they will ask you. Good questions would be those including training, promotion, opportunities for self-development and further study and so on.
  • Salary – Generally best to avoid at initial interview. Do consider this though and what you feel would be a satisfactory starting salary. If you are asked about this and after your response the reaction seems a little negative don’t panic! You can always qualify this by saying that that is the figure that you were expecting based on the average earnings of previous graduates of your course !! The Careers Service will have information on what last years graduates starting salaries.
  • If you are not successful, remain positive – trying to get your first position is not easy and can be competitive.
  • Call and ask for constructive feedback which may help at your next interview

Useful resources that will help you prepare for interview

Grad Ireland : Interview advice
Alec Interview and CV advice
Prospects : Applications Interviews and CV’s

FAQ’s Introductory information

Tell me about yourself?
How do you think a friend/colleague/employer would describe you?
What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
How has college changed you?
What are your hobbies and interests?

Third level education:
Why did you choose to go to your college or university
Why did you choose your course?
Do your results accurately reflect your ability?
Were you involved in extracurricular activities?
Do you plan to pursue further studies?
Education and work experience:
How can you relate your education experience to this job?
What have you learnt from your previous work experiences?
What can you offer us?
Why should we hire you for this position?

Organisational knowledge:
What do you know about this organisation?
Why are you leaving your present position?
What features of your most recent position did you like the most/least?
What were you most recent contributions while in your most recent position?
What criteria are you using to evaluate potential employers?
Can you work under pressure and to deadlines – provide examples
What type of work environment do you like best?
Can you give me an example of when you had to deal with conflict in the workplace?

Career goals and aspirations:
What are your career goals and aspirations?
How do you plan to achieve these goals?
Where do you see yourself in five years or ten years from now?
What are you salary expectations?

Situational questions:
If you could start your career again, what would you do differently?
If you could change any part of your college experience what would it be and why?
If you had six months free with no obligations or financial constraints what would you do?
If you were hiring for this position, what qualities would you look for in a candidate?