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Job Interview Tips: How To Increase Your Chances Of Success

Job Interview Tips: How To Increase Your Chances Of Success
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You’ve found your dream job vacancy, prepared your CV specifically for the role and submitted your application. Great news: you’ve been invited to the interview!

Job interviews have undergone significant transformations over the years, evolving from traditional face-to-face meetings to virtual interactions. In the past, interviews were straightforward, in-person encounters focused on assessing a candidate's qualifications and personality. However, the rise of technology has reshaped the interview process.

Today, video interviews, AI-driven assessments, and digital portfolios are becoming the norm, making it crucial for job seekers to adapt.

The use of video interviews has increased by 57% from 2019 to 2024, and over 84% of employers report enhanced diversity in their applicant pools due to virtual interviews​.

With the advent of digitisation, employers now have access to a broader pool of talent and employ advanced tools to evaluate candidates' skills and cultural fit more efficiently. Understanding these changes and preparing accordingly can significantly enhance your chances of success in this competitive job market.

An employer’s objective in an interview is to build a detailed picture of your skills, experience, competencies and personality in order to confirm whether you have the correct skill set and cultural fit for their business. You, meanwhile, are trying to establish whether they and their firm offer you the best next step in your career.

Your progress to this stage means you have already beaten several other candidates. Have faith in your abilities, be confident, and sell yourself!

Preparing before your interview:

  1. What should I prepare?
  2. How to reduce your pre-interview stress
  3. Pre-interview checklist

How to act during the interview:

  1. Giving a good first impression
  2. Discussing your CV
  3. Common interview questions you should expect
  4. Giving your answers: Use the STAR method
  5. Questions to ask the interviewer(s)
  6. The best ways to close out your interview

1. How to prepare for your interview

Preparing for an interview is crucial; always find the time. An interview is an opportunity to present yourself in the best possible way to a prospective employer. You must head into any interview fully prepared.

Obviously, preparation will vary depending on the industry and type of role you are interviewing for. Job interviews are a two-way street. While you're aiming to impress the company, it's equally important to assess if it's the right environment for you. Resist the urge to mould yourself into a preconceived idea of what the interviewer wants. Authenticity is key! By showcasing your true personality and values, you'll attract a company culture that aligns with your needs for career growth, flexibility and a workplace that reflects your own principles. This genuine connection will make you a stronger candidate and ensure a long-term, fulfilling work experience.

The key here is to gather as much information as possible about the interview format well in advance—if you haven’t had much from the hiring manager or person responsible for your application, speaking to your recruiter will give you invaluable insight into the typical interviews your prospective new employer conducts.

Work closely with your recruiter -They've likely met with the hiring manager and have valuable insights into the specific skills and experience the client seeks. Ask them directly: "Why did the client request to interview me? What are their top needs for this position?" This insider information can help you tailor your interview responses to showcase how your skills perfectly match the client's requirements.

As a bare minimum, you should know:

  • who is your interviewer?
  • whether or not you need to prepare for a test or presentation
  • whether there are multiple stages to the interview

Once you’ve found this information, it’s up to you to do the research accordingly.

Download Interview PREP Guide

Read up on your interviewer and find out a bit about their career if you can - the more thorough you are, the better. It may seem obvious, but google the company in advance and review its social presence, including the LinkedIn profile; they may be in the news for a variety of reasons, and it will reflect poorly on you if you have not taken the time to look into this. Take time to research and understand the business's history, cultural values, and ethos - if they match yours, then tell the interviewer and explain why. It’s very powerful to show how your values align with theirs!

Next, enhancing your digital presence is vital. Ensure your LinkedIn profile and other professional online profiles are up-to-date and reflect your most recent accomplishments. Employers often review these profiles before the interview, and a robust digital presence can create a favourable impression. Additionally, if your interview is conducted via video call, familiarise yourself with the platform being used, such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Skype. Testing your internet connection, camera, and microphone beforehand will help avoid technical issues during the interview.

Creating an optimal interview environment is also important. Choose a quiet, well-lit space free from distractions or interruptions. A professional background can help you focus and present yourself effectively. Practising digital etiquette is equally crucial. Nonverbal communication is as crucial in virtual meetings as it is in in-person interviews.

Maintaining eye contact by looking at the camera can create a connection with the interviewer, while good posture conveys confidence and attentiveness. Natural hand gestures can emphasise points but avoid excessive movement that can be distracting. Smiling and nodding show engagement, and it’s important not to cover your mouth when speaking, as this can muffle your voice and obscure expressions. Minimising fidgeting and ensuring a distraction-free background helps maintain a professional appearance and keeps the focus on you. By being mindful of these nonverbal cues, you can present yourself effectively in a virtual interview setting.

Conducting mock interviews with a friend or mentor using the video platform at least once can help you familiarise yourself with the technology and format. Additionally, several in-person mock interviews can significantly boost your confidence. This practice allows you to become comfortable with the interview process and receive valuable feedback on your performance.

Finally, developing a solid online portfolio can significantly impact the interview. If applicable, create a digital portfolio showcasing your work, including projects, presentations, or other relevant work samples. A well-organised portfolio can effectively highlight your skills and accomplishments.

Your CV will be discussed in most interviews. Make sure you know it inside out, be prepared to explain any gaps in your employment history, and be comfortable answering any questions about your past experience.

2. Minimising that pre-interview stressful feeling

Landing an interview means the client sees potential in you. Now's your chance to turn that potential into a reality! It’s perfectly natural to feel nervous, stressed, and anxious when you have an important interview looming over your head. Don’t overthink it. The more questions you ask yourself and the more you wind yourself up, the less likely you will be to come across as relaxed and personable. There are a few ways you can ease the burden.

Start your preparation early so that you have plenty of time to do some thorough research and establish a few responses to common questions well in advance - looking up the company on your phone when travelling to the interview is not a good tactic!

Select an outfit for your interview

Have your outfit planned out and try it on the day beforehand to ensure you look presentable. Remember to dress accordingly; corporate attire isn’t always necessary. If in doubt, ask your recruiter, as they will have an idea of what the company likes and dislikes.

Self-talk matters too. Instead of letting negative thoughts spiral, challenge them with affirmations that highlight your skills and experience. Remember your accomplishments and why you're a perfect fit for the role. Deep breathing exercises, meditation, or listening to calming music can also be powerful tools to manage your stress response. Taking a few minutes to centre yourself before the interview can significantly improve your focus and composure. The day before your interview, try to get a good night’s sleep so that you are fully energised and don’t look tired.

On the morning of your interview, remember to eat breakfast. Sometimes, nerves can make you lose your appetite, but it’s important to remember that the morning meal provides your brain and body with fuel for the day.

Arrive early, about 30 minutes before you were told to get there. This offers you the perfect opportunity to compose yourself and settle in. Similarly, logging in at least 10-15 minutes early for virtual meetings is always better. This allows you to check your internet connection, ensure your video and audio settings are functioning correctly, and get comfortable with the virtual platform. Rushing, getting lost, and the fear of being late all provoke unnecessary anxiety and will probably negatively impact your performance.

Lastly, preparing a checklist of everything you need for the interview can help you feel more in control. This might include your resume, cover letter, portfolio, interview link, and any notes or questions you have prepared. Knowing that you have everything ready can alleviate some of the last-minute panic and help you approach the interview with a clear and calm mindset.

3. Pre-interview checklist - key things to remember

  • Make sure you know the company website inside out. Read as much third-party information as you can to familiarise yourself with the company’s past, present and future
  • Dress in professional attire, even if the interview is virtual. Looking at the part can boost your confidence and make a positive impression on the interviewer.
  • Prepare rough outlines of what you will answer to commonly asked questions, but don’t memorise them to the exact word - it’s always obvious when an interviewee gives a rehearsed response
  • Prepare your documents. Have digital and physical copies of your resume, cover letter, and any other relevant documents, such as a portfolio or reference list, ready to share.
  • Know the job description in its entirety - having a strong understanding of the duties and responsibilities will help you prepare and ask relevant questions
  • Take the time to identify how your skills will fit their needs and expectations
  • Have a list of thoughtful questions ready to ask about the company, team, and role. This demonstrates your interest and helps you assess if the company is the right fit for you.

How to act during the interview

You’re well prepared and made your way to the interview beforehand, so you’ve had a chance to compose yourself properly. Now, the time has come, and you’ve been called to the room where your interview is going to take place.

1. First impressions are crucial

We have all heard the cliché that a first impression is generated within 7 seconds of meeting someone. While each individual makes judgements in different ways, there is an element of truth to them. Your first encounter with your interviewer will likely set the tone for the whole interview and could potentially influence the outcome of whether you are successful or not.

Never be late, whether it's for virtual or in-person interviews, and make it a point to arrive early for the meeting. Warmly greet them, make eye contact, and remember to smile. Non-verbal cues are as important as verbal ones and are vital in how you come across them. Whilst these may seem like minor considerations, they can make an enormous difference and certainly should not be forgotten.

2. Discussing your CV with the interviewer

This won’t always be the first stage in your interview, but often, interviewers want to hear you speak about your experience before they move on to the more structured competency-based questions. You need to be sensible about how you run through your CV - only focus on the relevant aspects of the role you are interviewing for.

Spend most of the time of this segment discussing your most recent role and mentally ticking off items on their wish list; which of your past tasks would bring benefits to this role, and how could you apply your experience to improve the department or organisation as a whole?

3. The most common interview questions you can expect

Many interview questions are commonly asked, and these will depend on the type of interview you are having.

  • Tell me about yourself. This open-ended question is often used to break the ice and get to know you better. It’s an opportunity to summarise your background concisely, highlighting your education, career path, and key accomplishments. Focus on relevant aspects of the job you’re applying for and show how your experiences make you a suitable candidate.
  • What have been your major achievements? Try to use an achievement that is work-related and relatively recent. Talk about the skills involved and how this benefited the company - try to quantify the benefit to the organisation.

What questions to expect in your interview

  • Can you describe a challenge you’ve faced at work and how you handled It? Employers use this to understand your problem-solving skills and resilience. Choose a specific example demonstrating your ability to handle difficult situations, focusing on your actions and the positive outcome.
  • Why do you want to work here? This is asked to gauge your interest in the company and the role. To answer effectively, demonstrate your knowledge of the company’s values, culture, and recent achievements. Explain how these align with your career goals and why you believe this position perfectly fits you.
  • What do you like about your current role? Always try to relate your ‘likes’ to the skills that are needed for the position. Be aware of the balancing act required when answering this question; you must be positive about your current job while clarifying why you are seeking a new role.
  • What do you dislike about your current role? In your answer, it is key that you convey to the interviewer that you are able to tackle problems and frustrations. You can also use this to demonstrate why you are interested in their role. For example, if one of your frustrations is a lack of management responsibility, they are offering a manager role.
  • Where do you see yourself in five years? This question helps employers assess your long-term goals and ambitions. Show that you have thought about your future and how the role you’re applying for fits into your career plan. Emphasise your desire for growth and development within the company.
  • What are your strengths? We recommend basing your answer on three or four key skills. You will probably be asked for examples of how you have demonstrated them, so try to think of a few in advance.
  • What are your weaknesses? A common mistake is to say you don’t have one. You can tackle this in two ways: either talk about a weakness that is not a key area for the job or a weakness that you have recognised in yourself and how you have worked to overcome it.
  • What are the reasons behind your decision to leave your current employer? When answering this question, the golden rule is not to be negative about your current employer, as this can imply disloyalty, a trait few employers seek to inherit. Simply mention all the positive reasons why you want to move on, whether they are more responsibility, greater career prospects, or a change in direction. Stay away from referring to money as the main reason for the move.
  • Are you interviewing at other companies? You should always be prepared to answer the question and explain your current stage, but you do not need to divulge the company names.
  • Do you have any questions for us? This question often wraps up the interview and allows you to learn more about the company and the role. Prepare thoughtful questions that show your genuine interest and help you determine if this job fits you.

4. Use the STAR method to respond

Always remember to keep your responses concise and relevant when responding to any questions. Make sure you sell yourself and your abilities using a variety of examples that reflect different aspects of your experience.

The best way to structure your responses is by using the STAR method:


S - Situation: This is your opportunity to give some context about a recent challenge or situation in which you found yourself.
T - Task: What is your remit, and what were you required to achieve in that situation?
A - Action: What steps did you take to reach a successful outcome for yourself and the business?
R - Results: You should have chosen an example with a positive outcome. This is when you outline the successes and link them back to business value.

5. Prepare some questions for the interviewer

Think of a minimum of 3 questions that you want to ask the interviewer at the end of the interview. This is your opportunity to really get to grips with the details of the company, the job itself, and the progression opportunities it presents. Use the job description to cover any questions you have about your daily duties.

  • How has the company developed over the past few years?
  • Who are the company’s main competitors?
  • What kind of training would be provided if I were offered this position?
  • What is the reporting structure in the department, and to whom will I report?
  • How many people will I be working within the department?
  • If I were successful, assuming I proved myself in the position, what would be the progression opportunities for me in a few year's time?

To balance questions about the company and not solely focus on yourself, you can include questions that show your interest in understanding their goals and priorities, as well as any challenges they are facing. Here are additional questions to consider:

  • What are the key priorities for your department this year?
  • What is the organisation strategically investing in this year?
  • What are some of the challenges you want this role to overcome?
  • What does success look like for this role?

These questions help you gain a deeper understanding of the company’s direction and how you can contribute, demonstrating that you are interested in not only your personal growth but also the success of the organisation.

Try to steer clear of questions regarding salary and pay rises.

Salary can, of course, play a big part in accepting a role. However, the interview is not the best time to discuss wages. Having said so, it is also important that you need to be prepared to answer that question if asked. You can find market salaries for your different positions and industries in our global salary guides.

7. The best way to close out your interview

You should always close the interview by asking if the interviewer has any reservations about you. This is a great opportunity to overcome any initial objections and demonstrate your confidence and interest in the role.

Instead of focusing on their concerns directly, ask a question like: "What are some of the key qualities you're looking for in a successful candidate for this role?" This allows them to share their ideal candidate profile and gives you a chance to highlight your relevant skills and experience.

Conclude the interview by expressing your interest in the position and your desire to learn more. You can say something like: "Is there any additional information you feel would be helpful for me to understand the role and responsibilities better?"

Remember, a successful interview is a conversation. By actively engaging and seeking insights, you not only showcase your communication skills but also show genuine interest in the opportunity. When the interview ends, thank the interviewer for their time before parting ways.

After the interview, it is essential that you call your recruitment consultant (if you are using a recruitment agency) and provide feedback. One of the most important learning aspects of interviewing is the feedback you receive from your recruitment consultant after they have spoken to your potential employer. Whether it is positive or negative, it is essential that you take it on board and consider it for future interviews.