We asked all of our most experienced team members about the best interview tips they could think of. Here is a summary…


It’s a fact that the best candidates don’t always get the job. In most cases the candidate who gets the job is the one who has prepared the most and therefore performs the best in the interview. Research indicates that employers make decisions within the first 5-9 minutes of the interview, making presentation crucial as first impressions count.

If you prepare well, you will be much better off because the number of people who prepare is relatively small. Research who you are meeting, research the company, look at the website and any news items shared. What is the company proud of? What are their stated goals? Knowing these things will mean you can articulate how you can add value to helping the company achieve their goals.

Dressing for success

For Men

  • Dark suit
  • Light shirt
  • Striped or plain tie
  • Well polished dark shoes, no ‘comedy’ socks
  • Briefcase or folder
  • Minimal jewellery
  • Short neat hair cut
  • Easy on the aftershave

For Women

  • Plain business suit or professional dress
  • Minimal jewellery
  • Hair tied back if long, clean well groomed
  • Make up should be worn but not too heavy
  • Briefcase or smart folder
  • No heavy perfumes

Think about common interview questions beforehand

Employers are looking for a decent answer to these 3 questions (whether they ask them out loud or just thinking to themselves):

1. Can you do the job?

The employer will be looking for skills, experience and knowledge that match with what will be required in the position.

2. Do you want the job?

The employer will be looking for someone who is keen, enthusiastic, well presented, punctual, switched on, positive, confident.

3. Will you fit in with their team?

A little more difficult for you to determine, as the employer knows what they are looking for, but try to get a feel from the interviewer and the style of the company.

They will ask a series of questions to help determine if you meet all of these crucial criteria.

Having considered answers to the most commonly asked questions will not only improve your confidence at interview, but ensure you come across as an articulate professional.

Questions employers will ask to understand more about you:
  1. What kind of job are you looking for?
  2. What do you know about our company?
  3. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  4. Why do you wish to leave your current employer?
  5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  6. What attracted you to this role?
  7. Why do you want to work for our company?
  8. What are your interests outside of work?
  9. What are your expectations for us as your employer?
  10. How do you believe your skills and experiences relate to this role?

Think carefully about your answers before your interview, and tailor your responses to suit the role and the Employer’s business.

Golden Rules

  • Be prepared – Know where you are going, who you are seeing, the person’s title and what the company does.
  • Be on time – In fact, always arrive a few minutes early.
  • First impressions – Appearance and grooming must be immaculate. First impressions include a firm handshake, a friendly, confident “good morning/afternoon Mr Smith” and a smile.
  • Answer questions clearly and succinctly, but include relevant detail – Do not answer “yes or no” if you can help it. Listen carefully to all questions asked and respond to key points. Don’t ramble. Phrase your responses in positive terms and keep the job in question in mind.
  • Any weaknesses? – Only ever give one weakness. Try to select something that was once a weakness that you have turned into a strength, this gives you another chance to sell yourself again. Alternatively, pick something that is not critical for the position (e.g. Your weakness may be Math, Accounting if you are going for a Receptionist position that involves no accounts!)
  • Why are you leaving your current employer? – Never, ever be negative about your current employer. Focus on what the new role has to offer for example increased career development, promotion, a chance to broaden your experience etc.
  • Never Lie – Explain difficult aspects of your background truthfully.
  • Maintain Eye Contact – And be aware of your body language.
  • Don’t give away confidential information – Don’t discuss your current employers confidential information. If you let your interviewer think confidential information is unsafe with you, it will seriously affect your chances of succeeding.
  • Try not to ask questions about salary at the first interview – However, if asked, be as general as possible and quote market ranges. As discussed with your Optimum Consultant, justify your own market worth relative to market conditions and your own qualities and experience. The purpose of this is to ensure that the interviewer will commit first with a figure that will be a guideline for you.
  • Use your common sense – It might sound obvious, but you’d be surprised what we hear candidates have done in the past! Don’t smoke or chew gum, don’t interrupt your interviewer, don’t keep looking at your watch and don’t swear or use slang language.
  • Show your interest – Make it clear at the end of the interview if you are interested in the role. Thank the interviewer for their time, shake hands and smile. If your interview was arranged directly with the employer, send a letter or email thanking them for their time.
  • Time to consider – If you are offered the job at the interview, always ask for time to consider the offer and speak to your Optimum Consultant as soon as possible.
  • Feedback – Get in touch with your Optimum Consultant as soon as possible – they’ll need to know how you got on.