Interview Tips from Firstaff Personnel Consultants


Things You DON'T want to do in a Job Interview

• DON’T answer questions with a simple “yes” or “no”. Elaborate whenever possible. Tell them those things about yourself that relate to the position. Smile.

• DON’T slouch – it looks like you’re not interested. Look alert and interested at all times. Look the interviewer in the eye when s/he talks. Be a good listener as well as a good talker. Smile.

• DON’T “over-answer” questions. You can talk yourself out of a job this way!

• DON’T lie. Answer questions truthfully, frankly and as much to the point as possible.

• DON’T ask questions about salary, bonuses, holidays, office Christmas parties etc. on your first interview unless you are positive that the employer is interested in hiring you and raises the issue first. Wait until the second interview or ask Firstaff to find these details out for you. However, you should know your market value and be prepared to specify your required salary or range.


What to DO to Prepare best for your next Interview

• DO know the exact place and time of the interview, the interviewer’s full name, its correct pronunciation, and his/her title.

• DO arrive a few minutes early, but not too early. Late arrival for a job interview is never excusable. You can easily get directions from or by simply entering the postcode of the potential employer. If you need car parking, ask Firstaff the best one to use.

• DO dress conservatively, preferably in darker colours. Men should wear a dark suit, matching shirt and tie and have clean shoes. Leave earrings at home. Women should wear a business suit. Everyone should pay attention to all facets of their dress and grooming.

• DO greet the interviewer by their surname, shake hands firmly and SMILE. It takes three times as many muscles to frown as it does to smile, so take the easy way out.


• DO wait until you are offered a chair before sitting down.

• DO get the interviewer to describe the position and the duties to you early in the interview so that you can relate your background and skills to the position. Ask what the qualities are of the people who are already achieving in the company and relate your qualities to them. Smile.

• DO find out about the company. Check out their website and look to see how long they’ve been in business, what they specialise in, where their branches are located, who the main players are in the organisation, who their clients are and what their turnover and profits are.

• DO refresh your memory on the facts and figures of your present employer and former employers.

• DO be prepared to answer typical questions such as:
What are your strengths?
What are you really good at?
What are your weaknesses?
What are you doing about addressing them?
What do you know about our company?
Why did you choose your particular career?
What are your qualifications?


• DO make sure that your good points get across to the interviewer in a factual, sincere manner. Keep in mind that you alone can sell yourself to an interviewer. Make them realise the need for you in their organisation. Smile.

• DO prepare the questions YOU want answered. This is your opportunity to find out if the company will give you the opportunity for the growth and development that you want. Some questions you might ask are:

Do you have a detailed description of the position?

What is the reason the position is available?

What is the culture of the company?

Is there an anticipated induction and training programme?

Are there advanced training programmes available for those who demonstrate outstanding ability?

What are the company growth plans?

What are the most successful sectors / disciplines?


Negative Factors To Watch For

During the course of an interview, the employer will be evaluating your negative factors as well as your positive attributes.

Listed below are negative factors to watch out for:
• Poor personal appearance

• Inability to express thoughts clearly; poor diction or grammar

• Being “woolly” when responding to questions

• Lack of planning for career – no purpose or goals

• Lack of interest and enthusiasm – passive and indifferent

• Lack of confidence – nervousness

• Over-emphasis on money – interested only in remuneration

• Evasive – makes excuses for previous unfavourable actions


• Lack of tact/maturity/courtesy

• Speaking ill of past employers or colleagues

• Failure to look interviewer in the eye

• Limp handshake

• Lack of appreciation of the value of experience

• Failure to ask good questions about the job and company (this is most important!)

• Lack of preparation for interview – failure to get information about the company, resulting in inability to ask intelligent questions.

• Over-emphasis on money – interested only in remuneration

• Evasive – makes excuses for previous unfavourable actions

• Lack of tact/maturity/courtesy


Finally - You should Always:

Conduct yourself as if you are determined to get the job you are discussing. Never close the door on an opportunity. It is better to be in the position where you can choose from a number of jobs rather than only one.

“Close off” the interview – If you are interested in the position, ask for it. Ask for the next interview, if the situation so demands. If the interviewer offers the position to you, and you are interested, accept on the spot. If you need some time to think it over, be courteous and tactful in asking for that time. Set a definite date when you can provide an answer.

Don’t be too discouraged if no definite offer is made or specific salary discussed. The interviewer will probably want to communicate with their office first or interview more applicants before making a decision.


If you get the impression that the interview is not going well or that you have already been rejected, don’t let your disappointment show. Once in a while an interviewer who is genuinely interested in your possibilities may seem to discourage you in order to test your reaction.

Thank the interviewer for their time and consideration of you. You have done all you can if you have answered the two questions uppermost in his/her mind:
1. Why are you interested in the job and the company?
2. What can you offer and can you do the job?

Call Firstaff immediately after the interview and explain how the interview went. We need to talk with you before the interviewer calls us back. If you are interested in progressing further it is really important that we tell the employer that you are keen and quickly arrange the next step.


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