Tips for your job interview

Great! You’ve been invited for interview. It’s worth taking some time prior to your interview, to jot down some notes of what you might say for some general interview questions you may be asked (not competency questions, we give tips separately on this).

Here are a few to think about.

QUESTION: Tell us about yourself?

This is a common question to be asked. Don’t start off with your life history e.g. where you were born etc; keep your answer career focussed, a brief account of your career and why you are interested in the job and their company at this time. You may wish to mention one or two accomplishments that you’ve achieved that relate to the job you are being interviewed for, and stand out that you have the background and skills for for the job or transferable skills.

QUESTION: What interests you in working for our company/organisation?

The interviewer is likely to be interested in hearing if you have an idea of what the company is all about (have you done your homework and research and checked out their web site ?). The Interviewer is likely to be looking for your enthusiasm, interest and passion for what the company do. People get employed not just for skills, it’s also demonstrating that you are driven and passionate for the work the company do.

QUESTION: What are your strengths?

Jot down work tasks you are good at; write down your strengths and define them in terms of the job you are applying for. At the interview talk about your strengths and show how they will add value to the company.

QUESTION: What are your weaknesses?

Jot down work tasks or some of the things that you have found difficulty with. When you mention any weakness turn it into a positive phrase, you would be keen to become proficient with inhouse training etc Whatever the weakness consider the resolution. Sometimes what you consider a weakness, others may see a positive, depending on what job entails. For example you consider yourself overly attentive to detail and sometimes can be over focussed on this area.

QUESTION: What is your salary expectation?

For a first interview it would be normal that you will have an indication of what the salary banding is. If the client doesn’t mention salary, don’t bring it up as this can be discussed and negotiated at an offer stage. However, if at first or second interview this is mentioned by the Interviewer, be prepared in what you are likely to say. Normally an offer follows an interview, not during an interview.

Where you know the salary banding for the job, don’t outpitch or undercut your worth; say you are negotiable within the salary banding. Think about your previous salary; are you looking for similar or an uplift on this. Think about the benefits you will bring to the company and never undersell yourself. However, don’t scare off the employer either by quoting a much higher figure than you know the top salary banding is. If you are being represented through an agency its likely they will negotiate this on your behalf with the client. If the company quotes a figure and you were hoping for higher, suggest that you are keen to work for the company and don’t want to jeopardise the opportunity, however you were hoping for closer to £xxxx and would this be feasible.

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